The Deutsche Bank Skyliners surely remember how powerful and overwhelming Eisbaeren point guard Louis Campbell was last season, but with his departure last summer, his missing deadly penetration was evident in the play of the team and similar as if NFL Clubs didn´t have to witness last minute comeback Drives from New England Patriot Tom Brady, Kobe Bryant missing in the Lakers attack and taking a night off and sitting next to actor Jack Nicholson in the first row talking movies or German National player Miro Klose not scoring any more goals in international games as he is currently as hot putting the ball in the net as is Papiss Demba Cisse is for SC Freiburg in the German Bundesliga, but Frankfurt not only didn´t have to worry about Lou Campbell anymore, but neither about new starting point guard Donald Copeland who was 550 Kilometers away in Bremerhaven nursing an injury as they had little problem winning their second home game 81-66 against The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. The absence of Copeland showed quickly as Bremerhaven had no rhythm or flow in their offense, but Frankfurt showed they could do it at both ends of the court. “They had misfortune having to play without Copeland, but that is part of the game. They had to fight without Copeland and change their rhythm, but we were without Tez, Dabbert and Muurinen. We have been fighting hard the first four games and played good defense, but today we played both defense and offense well. If a team can plan both offense and defense well then you will have good chances to win. We hope to continue to keep playing like this”, stressed Skyliner point guard Dashaun Wood. Bremerhaven never got their offense going without their starting point guard Copeland. “We didn´t have Copeland and Canty hasnt´t really practiced much with us. It was hard to get a chemistry. It was tough as Schwethelm was playing out of position. These things happen and we couldn´t adjust”, commented Eisbaeren guard Jermaine Thomas. Maybe it wasn´t only the absence of Copeland that helped the Skyliners, but the batman shirt of Mckinney that he was sporting after the game. “The brother of my fiancee is a huge Batman fan. I don´t know if a bat scared the polar bears, but you never know, bats can be very vicious. they come out of nowhere and swoope down on you”, laughed Austin native Brad Buckman.
After the game ended, the Ballsporthalle got a very sad announcement as it was made known that lovable Tom Brady American look alike Grayson Moyer was leaving The Deutsche Bank Skyliners and heading to Finland to play for the old Team of AJ Moye called Kouvot Kouvola. The San Diego native already knew before the game that he was leaving the regular saunas of the Titus Therme for the real hot Saunas in Finland. “I was sad coming to the Ballsporthalle as there were many emotions, but I tried to concentrate on the game. I kept my head focused on the game. Now after the game the fact that Im leaving is starting to kick in. It is always good to end on a win. Winning cures all even when I am a bit sad”, stressed Grayson Moyer. Moyer was only in Frankfurt a short time, but leaves with a part of the City and fans in his heart. “I will really miss the Team, fans and league. I will miss guys like Jimmy, Tez and Marius. The competition in the BEKO BBL is real good and you could never take a day off. It was a real fun league to plan in”, stressed Grayson Moyer. Moyer leaves The Deutsche Bank Skyliners having played 50 games and heads to Finland not trying to do some artwork in the stats department, but keep playing good Team Basketball which he proved on so many occasions with the Frankfurt Jersey. “I am going to Finland to help the Team win. If it means scoring, rebounding or playing defense. I will do whatever it takes to win. I hope that I can fit in. I am going to have to get used to the 22 hours of darkness”, joked Moyer. He will miss one Person in particular. ”I will never forget how Marius Nolte played Wonderwall on the guitar at the Christmas party”, said Moyer. His teammates also spoke only with respect. “I will miss Grayson. We hung out a lot watching Football at the sports bar. He helped us a lot in the first four games. It is a sad day. He was a great guy and great player”, stressed Dashaun Wood. Skyliner Brad Buckman had no idea that Moyer was leaving until after the game. “It was a surprise, even though he had mentioned that he had another job offer. He was so easy to talk to you. He is a great player and person. I wish him the best”, commented Brad Buckman. “He will enjoy playing for my old team. He is a great kid”, added AJ Moye.
Steven Esterkamp is playing professional basketball in Germany since 2004, but since last season, he has been feeling the bench more than the courts in the BEKO BBL. Esterkamp missed all of last season due to a cartilage problem in his knee and is supposed to return this season, but so far hasn´t played even though could, because he is not in game shape yet. “Coach has said that I still don´t have my quickness back which is missing in that first step. I am working on my strength and agility and hope to be back in one to two months”, stressed Steve Esterkamp. Missing last season was very difficult for the American from Ohio, but he stuck through the hard times. “At the start it was tough not knowing if I would come back, but as soon as I knew that I would come back, it was easier because I knew what I had to do. When I was on crutches it wasn´t so hard since I knew I couldn´t play. Now it is tougher, because I am practicing with the team, but frustrating not playing in games”, expressed Esterkamp. A long injury is never easy for an athlete, but Esterkamp has shown that he is a professional and just fighting to keep his dream alive of competiing with the best in the BEKO BBL. Last season instead of going to the States, he remained in Germany for rehab which is something that a typical American player might not do. “For me it was the right step to stay in Germany. I had all the docs here and it seemed right to do the rehab here. I see the docs everyday here and is the best for the team and coach. Also seeing something on the court, I can give my input to players as well”, said Esterkamp. Not only Grayson Moyer has Marius Nolte as a good friend, but also Esterkamp who played six years with the German in Paderborn. “His personality gets me through it. Whenever we talk, he encourages me to keep fighting. He makes me laugh all the time probably more because he is so weird”, joked Esterkamp.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven weren´t the only team missing a key player with Donald Copeland, but besides having Quantez Robertson and Joe Dabbert playing cheerleaders on the Skyliner bench, the club was missing Kimmo Muurinen who was sick in bed. However none of this startled The Deutsche Bank Skyliners as they cruised out on a 13-2 lead. Frankfurt was getting production from everyone as Dashaun Wood scored twice on the penetration showing more and more that he has to be related to the comic figure road runner somehow. Jimmy Mckinney and Jermaine Bucknor drew fouls sinking free throws. Mckinney also hit a mid distance jumper in this run. “We came out firing and just took charge and tried to be as aggressive as possible”, stated Brad Buckman. The absence of Copeland was evident as German national player Philipp Schwethelm had massive problems trying to fill the Copeland void. The Frankfurt defense was solid, but Frankfurt was also missing many easy shots. Frankfurt found their rhythm fast on offense and it just worked like a clock work. Wood then scored a lay up falling to his right and Marius Nolte and Pascal Roller dropped free throws as Frankfurt led 20-4. After Craig Callahan free throws, Frankfurt went on a 8-0 run proving that their early shooting wasn´t a fluke as Wood and Dominik bahiense de Mello nailed consecutive three pointers and AJ Moye two free throws. Frankfurt led comfortably 28-6. Down the stretch, Bremerhaven got some timely production from 19 year old Antoiny Canty as he made a three pointer in front of coach Doug Spradleys head and made a lay up. Canty who had played a NBBL game the day before has little BEKO BBL experience was put into the shark water and he quickly found the right footing on the court. “He came off the bench and gave them a spark. When you are young, you don´t think so much about the pressure. You think that I can´t mess up. He took advantage of the situation”, said Brad Buckman. The bright blue eyes of Eisbaeren scorer Craig Callahan turned a shade brighter as the name Canty was mentioned. “I am really proud of him. He always works his butt off in practice. He gave us what we needed. It wasn´t easy for him to come in and produce with all that weight on his shoulders”, stressed Craig Callahan. After one quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners led 30-11. “The biggest problem of Bremerhaven was in their playmaking, but that wasn´t strange as their playmaker was missing”, stressed TBB Trier coach Henrik Roedl. Frankfurt was shooting 50% from the field and 50% from outside while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 25% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt had the 12-7 rebounding edge and three turnovers while Bremerhaven had five turnovers.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners got off to a slow start in the second quarter as the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven scooted out on a 11-0 run as they quickly showed that they were capable of following the strong Frankfurt start in the first quarter as they cut the lead to 30-22. Bremerhaven had more of a flow on offense and were finally finding more consistency in their shooting. Canadian Sean Denison started the run with a left handed hook shot over Nolte, which was followed by consecutive buckets by Torrell Martin inside, a Schwethelm lay in getting an offensive rebound and free throws by Andrew Drevo and Denison. Frankfurt suddenly only had the 30-22 lead. But Frankfurt had too many aces in their deck as they were able to hit big needed shots whenever Bremerhaven was coming back. Mckinney and Jermaine Bucknor hit back to back three pointers as Frankfurt led 36-22 again. In the last minutes both teams traded baskets as Schwethelm scored inside as did De Mello who got a nifty pass from Wood on the fast break, Callahan scored inside and Mckinney nailed a three pointer with three seconds to play in the second quarter. At half time, the Deutsche Bank Skyliners kept the comfortable lead 41-28. “We showed a lot of heart in the second quarter. Many teams might have given up after the first quarter, but we kept fighting back”, said Bremerhaven guard Jermaine Thomas. “Frankfurt lost their rhythm a bit on offense. Bremerhaven had less problems to score and made it more difficult for Frankfurt to execute”, stressed 1993 NCAA champion with North Carolina Henrik Roedl. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 33% from the field and 43% from three point land while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 30% from the field and 10% from three point land. Bremerhaven had the slight rebounding edge 24-23, but 10 turnovers while Frankfurt had five.
In the third quarter, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were able to keep the comfortable lead and started with a 4-0 run as Frankfurt continued to show that team basketball wins games and not one on one play. Moye had little problems with a lay up as Buckman most likely fooled everyone in the Ballsporthalle as he released a pass in the last instance to Moye instead of shooting a fade away jumper. Mckinney who must feel like its 2006 again as his shooting is dead on as he made a mid distance jumper as Frankfurt led 45-28. Canty nailed a three pointer and Drevo a lay in and Buckman only 2 of 4 free throws as Bremerhaven trailed only 47-34. However Frankfurt always had an answer as Mckinney unleashed another bomb from the Messe tower as Frankfurt led 50-33. The third quarter also belonged to AJ Moye as he made 13 of the 23 points. He mostly used his muscle scoring inside, but also displayed his beautiful fade away jumper. As Frankfurt led 50-36, he scored 11 points in a row as Frankfurt continued to keep the lead 61-50. Most players would have been happy with that performance and ready to keep that experience in their memory bank for the grand children, but Moye is always achieving to be better. “I get very disappointed when we lose as the team deserves the best all the time. I told myself to be very aggressive tonight, but I am still far away from where I want to be. The team has to stay hungry and keep improving”, warned AJ Moye. Bremerhaven finished the third quarter with a 7-3 run as Richard Chaney gave the club some energy scoring twice and Martin a three pointer while Wood also sunk a three pointer as Skyliner Joe Dabbert jumped for joy on the bench. “We finally accepted what we had on the court. We played better defense, made rotations and rebounded better”, said Jermaine Thomas. After 30 minutes, Frankfurt led 64-47. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 38% from the parking lot while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 36% from the field and 25% from the parking lot. Frankfurt regained the rebounding edge 34-30 and had only six turnovers while the Eisbaeren had 12 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven held The Deutsche Bank Skyliners off the score board for four minutes, but couldn´t get more than a 4-0 run for their stellar play on defense. Jan Lipke and Richard Chaney were able to score inside while Frankfurt were missing shots and getting turnovers. “This was a week spot for us. We were slower and somehow out of our offense”, said Brad Buckman. It also seemed like when Dashaun Wood was getting a breather, Frankfurt was stagnating on offense. “We were missing more shots. I think when I returned, we were able to get a good tempo again”, stressed Dashaun Wood. Frankfurt finally got on the board and again on a regular basis as Mckinney snuck through the lane finding the hole like a golf ball putted by Tiger Woods scoring, De Mello sunk a three pointer and Wood scored inside again as Frankfurt led big again 73-55. With more time elapsing off the clock, it was becoming more and more evident that the Eisbaeren were not going to freeze the Skyliners. Frankfurt kept having an answer whenever Bremerhaven had mini threats. “We had problems with their pick and role and the quickness of Wood getting in the lane scoring or kicking the ball out hurt us”, explained Jermaine Thomas. Chaney then led a mini 4-0 Bremerhaven run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 73-59, but Bremerhaven would not be able to cut the lead down any further as Frankfurt was able to close out the last minutes without problems. Moye scored two more times as did Torrell Martin, but it was all too little too late as Frankfurt stayed unbeaten at home winning 81-66. As the buzzer sounded, Bremerhaven coach Doug Spradley helped De Mello to his feet, but with such a long face as if his club had just lost a final game instead of an early regular season game, but he had much to be disappointed about. “After the big loss at home against Phoenix Hagen, our confidence was down. We seemed shell shocked. We never found our offensive rhythm and had no good demeanor on offense. We were standing around and not sure how to attack. Frankfurt did a great job driving and kicking the ball out all day long. We could of done a better job getting the ball inside. They did a great job getting offensive rebounds and we didn´t rebound well”, stressed Craig Callahan.
The Deutsche Bank Skyliners were led by AJ Moye with 19 points and eight rebounds and Dashaun Wood with 19 points, four rebounds and four assists. Jimmy Mckinney added 17 points. Dominik Bahiense De Mello chipped in with 12 points. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were led by Torrell Martin with 15 points Richard Chaney added 12 points, seven rebounds and two assists.
After a quick hot shooting start, The Deutsche Bank Skyliners finished the game shooting a low 37% and 32% from outside, while The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven shot weak also at 40% from the field and only 29% from outside. Frankfurt continue to be a force on the boards winning the rebound battle 43-37. Frankfurt was strong coughing up the ball only nine times while Bremerhaven had 15 turnovers. Frankfurt is now 2-2 and showed their best team performance of the season. “This was our best showing of team basketball this season. We shot on all cylinders and made the extra pass. No guy was unselfish. If you want to win a title, then you need to play team basketball. We were willing top work together today”, stressed Brad Buckman. Frankfurt want to stretch their unbeaten streak to three games in the Ballsporthalle with a win next weekend against The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. “This will be a dog fight. There is never a night off in this league. We have to prepare this week with good practices. This game is no different. I am looking forward to the challenge against top point guard Kevin Hamilton and the team”, warned Dashaun Wood. The Deutsche Bank Skyliners host The New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig on October 23rd at 20:00.