GHP Bamberg 70 Honka Playboys Espoo 68

14 January 2004

Game MVP Jason Sasser is stripped from behind by Playboy Youngster Shawn Huff
GHP Bamberg overcame the ejection of head coach Dirk Bauermann to get one of the most spectacular comeback wins that season. In the third quarter the runner-up in last years German championship was almost twenty points down. Bamberg defeated a good team from Espoo with the final score of 70-68.

It seemed German coach Bauermann gave his team the advise to go straight to the basket and use the length advantages of Chris Ensminger and Mike Nahar.

But the Finish site was ready to face that challenge and surprisingly had some excellent locked shots in the first minutes of the game.

On the other side Espoo players, first of all new signing Jyri Lethonen (17 points/10 rebounds), stroke back with a couple of long distance shots to get an early 7-14 lead.

When 'Latvian bear' Uvis Helmanis entered the game he showed his ability to be the perfect 6th man for the home team. Bamberg showed not the best shape and improved with Helmanis on the court So they managed to close the first quarter with a 19-16 lead.

But the Germans showed a cruel performance in a disastrous second quarter by managing only 5 points. The Playboys had not much problems dominating the game at both ends of the floor - offensively with 7 long distance shots, defensively with 5 blocked shots - and went to the halftime with a comfortable 24-37 lead.

The second half started in shocking way for the home side since Bamberg's coach Dirk Bauermann was ejected from the game. The incident was exploited by the Finish team to increase their lead 26-45.

Hit the game winning shot: GHP's Ageless Derrick Taylor (40 years old)
The game became rougher: Jyri Lethonen and Stephen Rich fouled hard and Olli Nikitin and Rich also went down to floor. This must have been the spark that started the home side's engine as the 4000 fans in the forum woke up the home site.

Bamberg played with a lot more energy, hustling for every loose ball and rebound. GHP started the last period with a 45-55 deficit. Despite having lost starting point guard Steffen Hamann who fouled out, they were eager to turn the game.

Forward Jason Sasser (25 points) caught fire and the young team from Espoo got more and more nervous.

With one minute to go Rick Stafford (17 points) gave Bamberg the the lead with a long 3-pointer (68-67). But Honka tied it from the line right away.

Ten seconds before the end 40-years-old Derrick Taylor had the game in his hands and took a jumper from the free-throw line. He would not miss and so Taylor gave his side a sensational 70-68 comeback win.

MVP of the game: Jason Sasser (GHP Bamberg) with 25 points

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