Bayern Basketball celebrate promotion with 101-52 blowout
Olympia Eissportzentrum, Munich April 23 - We are always told to set a goal, and then do all the things necessary to accomplish such goal - hard work, bleed, sweat, overcome obstacles. In the end, we may never reach the goal, but we are better for going through the journey.
Last fall, Bayern Basketball set a goal - Mission: Promotion. They brought together a team of talented and experienced players to be led by the national German coach and his captains. Despite the pressure of meeting the expectation from a demanding club president, lack of previous team chemistry and the usual injuries, the team blew through the ProA to earn their goal to earn promotion to the Basketball Bundesliga.
On Saturday night, looking to tie a pretty ribbon on the season, Bayern Basketball stomped on their final opponent USC Freiburg with a 101-52 blowout. After the match, the team was presented with the second division championship trophy and celebrated with their fans on the floor of "Munich Square Garden".
The game started off slow for both teams, but a depleted Freiburg squad were able to take an early lead, and that was short lived. After a Bayern timeout, Chad Prewitt hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 8. Then with 4:14 left in the 1st quarter, down 10-8, Beckham Wyrick also hit a trey to give them a lead they would never lose.
In the 2nd quarter, Bayern built a 9-point lead but Freiburg got it back to six at 30-24. A 17-0 run by the champs to end the half at 47-24 effectively ended the game. USC were now worn down, as they were missing four U.S. American players who boycotted their final game with the club after not being paid.
Wyrick led the team with 10 points at the half on 4-of-5 from the field, including two from long distance. And it was Wyrick who teamed up with Darius Hall to put the final nails in Freiburg's coffin.
Up 68-36 with 46 seconds left in the 3rd, Wyrick drove from the near side into the paint and posterized the Freiburg defender a-la Blake Griffin, slamming it down with authority for the bucket and one. Hall took the chance to celebrate with Wyrick, offering a body high-five, and then proceeded to slam home another dunk seconds later.
The only question left in the game was if Bayern would treat the fans to 100 points, something they had only done once before, and it was on the road. At the beginning of the 4th, Prewitt hit on five consecutive buckets, including three treys, that gave FCB a 93-48 lead and a chance to break the century mark. Fittingly, the team's leading scorer in the game and the season Jonathan Wallace hit consecutive three-pointers and the fans celebrated the 101-52 final.
Wallace finished with 17 points, Prewitt added 16 and Artur Kolodziejski chipped in with 14 points.
"Anytime you win a championship it's awesome," said Wyrick who was ended up with 13 points. "We accomplished what we set out to do, with a tremendous amount of pressure on us the whole year."
"We knew what we had to do," added Hall. "We wanted to go out and play well, put on a good show, and leave everyone on a good note looking forward to next season."
Last summer, newly anointed Bayern president Uli Hoeness laid down the directive for basketball, get promoted or they would be out. How did the team react? They finished with a 28-2 record and won their matches by an average of 18 points. In their 2 losses, they lost by 10 points - in total. They were 15-0 at home and most matches at the antiquated Eissportzentrum were sold out, making it a formidable place for all who dared to get in their way. On March 19th, with 5 games still left to play, Bayern Basketball offically clinched the ProA Championship and earned the promotion.
"I was very happy that we were able to accomplish our goal that early," said head coach Dirk Bauermann. "It's a test of our quality and character that we kept playing well. That underlines how well this team functions and how much pride they have."
Bauermann was brought in to take the team to the top flight of German basketball and Hoeness has said, if the German national coach were to leave, the club would also end the basketball project. So will he stay?
"At this point I don't think I have to choose," commented Bauermann on his future. "I'm going to enjoy this moment and see what the club has to say."
As for the stars of this year's team, all the players will be meeting personally with coach later today to discuss their roles. There will be a final team dinner before everyone heads off for summer vacation. For the German national players, it is off to training camp with Bauermann for EuroBasket 2012. For the Americans, it's wait and see. But their roles will not be forgotten in this magical and dominating season.
Crowd favorite Hall enjoyed his time here in Munich after playing with other clubs and other countries. "This year was great, with the energy and the enthusiasm that Munich brought for basketball. And how everyone embraced me, they let me do my thing and appreciated it. I haven't had that since high school."
Wyrick's final games may have saved his roster spot for next year, overcoming a mid-season injury and providing scoring and hustle during the final games. Whether or not he or the others stay, his word exemplify every player on the squad: "We won a championship, and I enjoyed every minute of it."