Joe Herber´s 3 Pointers Can´t Save The Fraport Skyliners as EnBW Ludwigsburg Escape The Fraport Arena With a 85-82 Victory

With late summer temperatures gracing the city of Frankfurt, it is only seemingly that a majority of people might be enjoying post work in one of the cafes on the Fressgasse, taking a dip in the main river, playing a quick nine hole round of golf before dusk settles in or having another listen to the legendary Nirvana album Nevermind while reading an exciting John Grisham novel on the balcony, but for the Fraport Skyliners a test game was on the agenda as they gave a strong fight in the second half, but came up short as EnBW Ludwigsburg crawled out of the Fraport arena with a hard fought 85-82 in their last preseason game. “Even on a nice day like this, I want to be in the gym. And before you ask me if I want to be at a cubs game, I don´t want to talk about them”, smiled ex Telekom Baskets Bonn center John Bowler. St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney who is sporting a slick goatee also wouldn´t want to be in any other place than the place where he comes to work. “I want to be in the gym on a day like this and not enjoying the weather on the Mississippi river, because there are a lot of dead bodies in that river”, added Jimmy Mckinney. Since the game wasn´t open to the public, it was a shame that fans were unable to witness the fierce battle between 206cm 100 kilo Marius the force Nolte and 204cm 123 kilo John old school Bowler as the Chicago native seemed to have the upper hand on the German in this game. “He is always a difficult player to play against. He had a good game. I hope that I can annoy him a bit more in the regular season”, stressed Marius Nolte. Bowler finished with 14 points and four rebounds in 21 minutes which shows his effectiveness that he has shown for years in the Beko BBL. “Nolte is very physical and always plays hard. His strength is frustrating other big men and just getting into their heads”, added John Bowler.

EnBW Ludwigsburg had a comfortable lead in the first half, but in the second half, the Fraport Skyliners kept digging their way out of their hole and showed a spirited come back. “We picked up our defensive intensity and were able to chip away at their lead. However they were able to keep their composure down the stretch, but we showed a good team effort and can learn from it”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Michael Thompson. “We struggled a bit with the zone, but were still able to score 85 points. We have to share the ball more. We showed that we can play quick, something we did last year too, but which was out of control. Coach Jochum wants us to make better decisions. We are on a good way”, warned John Bowler.
The Fraport Skyliners were without Michael Thompson who is recuperating from a partial tear in his knee and En BW Ludwigsburg point guard Jerry Green sat out on account of a back injury. The Fraport Skyliners got off to a horrible start as they allowed EnBW Ludwigsburg to take a lightening 18-3 lead as four minutes had surpassed. Everything was working for the Schwaben team in this run as they got scoring inside and out, but quickly found their touch as Donatas Zavackas hit as did Terrill Harris and Alex Harris, John Bowler scored inside and even hit a three pointer and Mark mr fantastic Dorris got hot early with a lay up and dunk off a steal. Frankfurt had break downs on defense and couldn´t come to terms with the aggressive Ludwigsburg defense. Frankfurt slowly started to find a groove as they closed out the second part of the first quarter with a 16-6 run to trail only 24-19. Joe Herber continues to be hot from downtown nailing two three pointers and Jimmy Mckinney dropped one as well. Little used Ludwigsburg German Tim Koch closed out the first quarter with a slick spin move which might be forgotten tomorrow by those who were there, but might stay a few days longer in his mind. “Frankfurt was very dangerous from outside, but we were communicating well, defending well, had good ball movement and worked well as a team”, declared EnBW Ludwigsburg sport director Mario Probst. “We had a bad start and the traffic jam on the highway A66 seemed to carry over into our game. It was hard playing in this ghost like atmosphere. We will present ourselves differently against Oldenburg in a full arena”, warned Marius Nolte.
The Fraport Skyliners were able to cut the Ludwigsburg lead down to 24-21 as German national player Tim Ohlbrecht was able to use all of his 211cm as he was able to tip the ball in with the tip of his fingers as the pass was very high. However whenever Frankfurt was able to threaten, EnBW Ludwigsburg had an answer this time with a 10-2 run to lead 35-23. Ex Giessen forward Johannes Lischka started the run with a three pointer from the wing which was followed by a jumper from Terrill Harris who was the third best field goal percentage shooter in the D-league last year for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. That was followed by the most prettiest basket of the night by Mark Dorris who glided through the zone changing hands and scoring. En BW Ludwigsburg continued to keep up the pressure and keeping the comfortable lead as mark Dorris nailed a three pointer as did German David Mccray as Frankfurt trailed 41-27. Mccray scored nicely over Nolte hard getting to the hoop and Milwauke Buck draft pick Jon Leuer made a nice lay in going coast to coast as the second quarter came to an end and EnBW Ludwigsburg led 43-35. “We did a good job stopping Frankfurt in transition and were moving the ball well and hitting our shots”, added EnBW Ludwigsburg guard Jerry Green. EnBW Ludwigsburg was shooting 55% from the field and 46% from outside while The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 38% from outside. EnBW Ludwigsburg had the clear 18-11 rebound edge and six turnovers while Frankfurt had eight turnovers.
In the first part of the third quarter, EnBW Ludwigsburg were still able to have a comfortable 10 point lead as Frankfurt continued to play sloppy. Bowler scored inside and Dorris scored twice and Zavackas scored again from downtown. Frankfurt put up some bricks as Quantez Robertson and Jon Leuer put up some air balls. Justin Gray kept Frankfurt in the game somewhat with his consistent shooting. Frankfurt started to add more intensity in their defense which seemed to fuel their offense as more shots started to fall. Frankfurt didn´t have much text book easy inside baskets until this time until Nolte scored inside getting a nice lob pass from Gray. Herber and Gray then added jumpers as the Fraport Skyliners cut the EnBW Ludwigsburg lead down to 56-50. Frankfurt ended the third quarter with a 5-3 run as Olhbrecht dunked after getting a pretty no look feed from Gray and Jimmy Mckinney nailed a three pointer as EnBW Ludwigsburg led 59-55 after 30 minutes.
The comeback by the Fraport Skyliners had a small dent in it in the first minutes of the fourth quarter as EnBW Ludwigsburg sped out on a 7-2 run to lead 66-57. John Bowler hit from the left and right wing and David Mccray was rewarded with a three pointer after a flowing ball movement. The Fraport Skyliners continued to fight and keep chipping away at the EnBW Ludwigsburg lead as Marius Nolte used every last inch of his body to get a tip in on the third chance and Justin Gray was left alone so no hesitation but a three pointer as Frankfurt trailed 66-62. It was the two Harris´s Terrell and Alex that were a thorn in the side of the Fraport Sklyiners that seemed to put the game out of reach with a few minutes to play as they scored a combined 8 points to give EnBW Ludwigsburg the 76-68 lead. The game now really started to gain excitement and shooting brilliance as Frankfurt knocked down three pointer after three pointer led by Jimmy Mckinney with two with his second making a quick dribble around his back to get into better shooting position as EnBW Ludwigsburg led only 78-76. Frankfurt continued to have to foul as time was running down. A Jon Leuer bomb cut the EnBW Ludwigsburg lead to 80-79, but Zavackas then nailed a three pointer and free throws as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 84-79 with 30 seconds to play. Johannes Herber then hit a huge clutch three pointer to cut the EnBW Ludwigsburg lead to 84-82, but there was only 0,7 seconds to play. “Joe doesn´t only have a great three point shot, but he is a great defender and is smart and knows how to play the game”, added Jimmy Mckinney. Mark Dorris made one of two free throws as time elapsed before Mckinney could unleash a last shot. “You have to give Frankfurt a lot of credit. They hit their three pointers at the end. However we hit our free throws and showed composure and just showed more experience and made the right decisions”, commented John Bowler. “Our pick and role defense was horrible. We showed character in the second half fighting back”, said Jimmy Mckinney.
EnBW Ludwigsburg was led by Mark Dorris with 16 points and five assists. Donatas Zavackas produced 15 points. John Bowler contributed 14 points and Terrell Harris chipped in with 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Justin Gray with 17 points, four assists and four rebounds and Jimmy Mckinney with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Jon Leuer produced 15 points, seven rebounds and three assists. Johannes Herber added 14 points, two assists and two rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners have completed their pre season with a 7-3 record, but still seem to be missing something. “We have to get better as a team. Our team chemistry isn´t there yet. Once we get it, we will be ok”, stressed Jimmy Mckinney. The Fraport Skyliners begin the season on October 3rd against The EWE Baskets Oldenburg at home.

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