For some teams performing well and wining in the past in the Lok Halle was equal to basketball cruelty as for some it was as difficult to be to deny that actress Lindsay Lohan doesn´t have the arsenal to be called a Playboy success as it is for basketball superstar Kobe Bryant to deny his women exploits to the basketball wives of America, or Tim Tebow supporters recovering after Tom Brady and the New England Patriots brought him the Denver broncos back to reality after the crushing 41-23 loss last weekend. For the Skyliners in the past, winning in the Lok Halle wasn´t always tough as they finished there with a 2-2 record the last four years. Who could forget the 74-67 victory in 2008, where half the team was sick and Maksym Shtein was the hero for 24 hours mowing down the opposition in Ukrainian train style with 24 points or last season their 70-58 win as Dashaun Wood and Roger Powell took control with 18 points a piece. The Lokhalle era came to an end last season as this season, the team moved into the Sparkassen arena and The Fraport Skyliners wanted to send a positive new trend as they left the new home of BG Goettingen with a big 78-65 win. For injured BG Goettingen guard Louis Dale leaving the Lok halle wasn´t easy, but the Sparkassen halle is already stirring up a lot of noise. “We have many new players, so there really wasn´t any adjustment for them as they never played in the Lok Halle. This arena is brighter, but the atmosphere is still good. When the game is on the line, it can get very loud in here”, stressed BG Goettingen American Louis Dale. After the big win, new Skyliner Jacob Burtschi was all smiles and didn´t boast about his hot three point shooting, but was drilled about the new arena. “This is a good arena and can get loud. This arena can be very intimidating, because the ceiling is low and you seem to be packed in. It is more intimidating playing in a smaller packed arena than in Berlin where it is more of an open arena”, warned ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi.
On the second German Christmas holiday, the Beko BBL only had one game on the schedule with a real cellar duel as 18th placed BG Goettingen had to play a very injury plagued Fraport Skyliners team who were without Justin Gray, Tim Ohlbrecht and Danilo Barthel. The team also got a rude surprise as only point guard Michael Thompson hurt his shoulder recently in practice and had to sit out the game. The Fraport Skyliners had to play a six man rotation as Johannes Herber, Jimmy Mckinney and Quantez Robertson played the full 40 minutes and the team had no classic point guard. JimmyMckinney had to play the point and did a fine job as the team continues to do an excellent job taking care of the ball as it only had eight team turnovers. Skyliner team captain was ecstatic after the win in Hagen, was a bit more calm after the win in Braunschweig and even more composed after the third road win in a row in the Beko BBL in Goettingen. “This was a great win. We had no point guard as Thompson had hurt his shoulder. We fought for 40 minutes and every one stepped up. I have a lot of respect for our team. Johannes Herber wasn´t even supposed to play, but he wanted to play so bad and not let the team down. Mckinney had a great game, Tez as always gave so much energy and Burtschi hit big three pointers when we needed them most in the fourth quarters and just made great decisions. We showed so much moral today”, stressed Marius Nolte. For BG Goettingen, they continue to be on a steep roller coast ride deeper and deeper into the beko BBL cellar as they showed a strong first quarter, but couldn´t match the overall intensity of the Fraport Skyliners in the last 30 minutes as they fought and fought, but couldn´t get over the hump and recover the lead. “We had too many lapses. We have to play well for 40 minutes. We played well in Bayreuth and against Ulm, but couldn´t play well the whole 40 minutes. When we suffer a drought, it costs us the game. We weren´t as aggressive in the last 30 minutes. We didn´t get to the free throw line enough and should of sped up the tempo more, because they had injuries. It was the little things that cost us the game”, stressed 2009 top scorer in Holland Matt Bauscher. “We played point guard by committee. We all had to step up to be better and showed what we were capable of doing”, warned Jacob Burtschi.
It is always fascinating to see what interesting things can be observed before the jump ball is served and the game finally starts. The first thing that really stood out in the Sparkassen arena was the traces of purple around the floor as the color of BG Goettingen was still very much alive even if the Lokhalle was dark an din basketball retirement. Jermareo Davidson was already pumped before the game smiling and singing along to the rap music that was blaring out of the speakers, Skyliner PRO B player Tim Oldenburg was on the roster and was as focused in warm ups as if he was ready to play for 40 minutes, Paris Horne was displaying acrobatic dunks and ex teammates Jimmy Mckinney and Max Weber had a friendly get together at center court. When the game finally started, German national player Johannes Herber quickly hit his first two shots as the Fraport Skyliners led 5-2. Herber had also had aquick start in Braunschweig a week earlier and had something in his eyes that seemed to forecast something good happening on this day for his team. However the quick momentum quickly changed hands BG Goettingen sped out on a 11-1 run to lead 13-6 as Raymond Sykes was hurting Frankfurt inside and American Jerel Allen was hitting seemingly from every where outside except from the Goettingen train station.Sykes was getting inside often getting put backs and taking advantage of the soft Frankfurt defense inside. Frankfurt needed a quick spark and found it with St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney who nailed two pull up jumper to cut the BG Goettingen lead to 13-10. However BG Goettingen continued to score finishing the first quarter with a 9-6 run to lead 24-16. BG Goettingen was sparked by two three pointers by Allen and got production from St Johns star Paris Horne who hit a bomb. It took ex NBA player Jermareo Davidson to get going as he slowly started to find his rhythm in the last two minutes registering four points. “We had a good first quarter. We found our shooters who were open and we hit our shots which gave Frankfurt problems”, stressed BG Goettingen CEO Marc Franz. “We weren´t rebounding well and they hit many three pointers. We may have been playing good defense, but they hit all their shots”, commented Skyliner center Marius Nolte. BG Goettingen was shooting 59% from the field and 67% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 25% from outside. BG Goettingen was totally dominating the boards 11-4, but had three turnovers while Frankfurt only had one turnover.
For anyone to say that basketball is not a game of runs is a liar, because runs happen on a regular basis and after BG Goettingen had their turn in the first quarter, it was time for the Fraport Skyliners in the second quarter as they jumped on their opponent going on a 14-3 run to retake the lead 30-27. Even though Jermareo Davidson started to slowly heat up, it was the Davidson show, but the Fraport Skyliners show as the team got support from five players. Herber got the run going with another three pointer which was followed by two Davidson buckets as Frankfurt still trailed 24-23. Horne then nailed a three pointer, but Frankfurt remained consistent on offense. Jacob Burtschi got on the score board with a lay up with his left hand, Mckinney dropped a bomb from downtown and Quantez Robertson came speeding from the wing getting an extra pass from Davidson and lay the ball in the hole. Frankfurt had increased their defensive intensity as Davidson was going on a block festival as he finished with six in total and Frankfurt was defending well as a team for example a Johannes Herber coming to help out forcing a turnover. “Davidson is very athletic and long and we get beat on the drive, he steps up and blocks shots”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. Sykes then hit a step up jumper, which was followed by a nifty play by Robertson who drove and did a fake pass movement to Nolte and finished himself. Both teams traded hoops again as Sykes and Nolte scored. The Fraport Skyliners had the slim 34-31 lead at halftime. “We had problems finding our game and Frankfurt did a good job finding guys as Herber hit shots and Davidson was scoring in the paint”, added BG Goettingen CEO Marc Franz. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 38% from the three point line while BG Goettingen was shooting 43% from the field and 42% from the three point line. BG Goettingen still dominated the glass 19-13, but had 10 turnovers while Frankfurt only had four turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners quickly jumped out on a 7-2 run to lead as they led 41-33. Jermareo Davidson scored five of the seven points as he scored on a mid distance jumper and lay in all the while also continuing to be a force block Max Weber and Raymond Sykes shots. Sykes who was the go to man for BG Goettingen continued to pose big problems for Frankfurt inside as he created havoc inside making a tip in off a Bauscher miss and scoring inside as Davidson was a step to late as BG Goettingen trailed only 45-40. Mckinney then hit two consecutive shots making a nice cross over against Weber who stayed with the American as he hit the fade away and the St Louis native them made a catch and pop from the wing. Sykes then hit two free throws as Frankfurt led only 47-44. However whenever BG Goettingen threatened to retake the lead, they always came up with an answer as Frankfurt continued to find different ways tos core as Nolte played match maker finding Herber speeding into the lane and finding him with a perfect pass and easy layup. Sykes split the defense again with a massive dunk as BG Goettingen trailed 49-46, but Mckinney took advantage of the lax BG Goettingen defesne penetrating and scoring and Burtschi nailing a big three pointer. Sykes finished the scoring in the third quarter with an easy lay up as the Frankfurt defense was sleeping. After three quarters, the Fraport Skyliners were leading 54-48. “Bg Goettingen stayed resilient and fought back. We gave up easy layups, but always had an answer to keep the lead”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. “Frankfurt hit many contested shots and when we made apush, they answered with big shots”, expressed Matt Baucsher. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 40% from the parking lot while BG Goettingen was shooting 41% from the field and 38% from the parking lot. BG Goettingen still had the 25-21 rebound edge, but had suffered 12 turnovers while Frankfurt had only six turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners seemed to improve as the game wore on and in the fourth quarter, everything seemed to totally fall in place on offense and defense as they were able to shut the door on BG Goettingen. Davidson got the Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a lay in, but BG Goettingen continued to pressure Frankfurt as they continued to battle with the heart of a lion German PhilipNoch made a free throw and Sykes scored as BG Goettingen trailed only 56-51. However, the Fraport Skyliners got timely shots the whole fourth quarter which was started by a Burtschi three pointer and one Davidson free throw as BG Goettingen trailed 60-51. Scoring guard Matt Bauscher that was playing the point had declined many shots, but then he chose a difficult penetrationand reverse lay up that he hit as BG Goettingen trailed only 60-53, but then it was time again for the cool and calm Mr Top Gun Jacob Burtschi who connected with another three pointer giving Frankfurt the 63-53 lead. “I finally showed that I am capable of making shots, but everybody stepped up with Herber and Mckinney making shots and Davidson blocking shots”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. Frankfurt then displayed blocking power as Davidson and Burtschi had back to back blocks. Mckinney and Bauscher then traded three pointers as the Fraport Skyliners still led 66-56. Herber then made a jumper and Sykes scored inside as BG Goettingen was behind 68-58 with three minutes to play. The Fraport Skyliners then sealed the win with a 5-0 run to lead 73-58 as Herber dropped a three pointer and Burtschi scored inside. The last minute displayed free throws as the Fraport Skyliners won their fourth road game of the season. “This was a great team performance. It was tough playing without Juice, but guys stepped up in his place. We showed a lot of determination. We played great at times when we needed to. We held our composure”, commented Jimmy Mckinney. “Frankfurt was very composed. We lost the game with our defense. We let them drive too much. We should of pressured them more, but we let them get too comfortable as we got lazy on defense. They also made big plays when they needed to and we didn´t”, warned BG Goettingen guard Jerel Allen.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jimmy Mckinney with 21 points. Jermareo Davidson had 18 points, 11 rebounds, two assists and six blocks. Jacob Burtschi chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists. Johannes Herber contributed 16 points. BG Goettingen was led by Raymond Sykes with 24 points. Jerel Allen produced 11 points and Paris Horne had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliner have had problems this season finding their shooting accuracy, but had a field day shooting 49% from the field and 53% from outside. Frankfurt did lose the rebounding battle, but considering Frankfurt played with a six man rotation and were without big men Tim Ohlbrecht and Danilo Barthel, any type of criticism about the play of the Fraport Skyliners should be held back. The Fraport Skyliners have been defending very well in recent weeks and as soon as the offense starts to roll, then this is a totally different team with potential success. In the last seven games, the Fraport Skyliners may only be 3-4, but have let up only 66 points per game. “We are starting to find out our identity on defense. We give a lot of effort and are playing well. We are rotating well and with Davidson we have a guy who is always redirecting shots and Nolte gives us so much under the boards”, stressed Jimmy Mckinney. However something that is always difficult to form is team chemistry and that seems to be growing. “Our team chemistry is developing well. Nobody on this team likes to lose. We talk so much on the court. The atmosphere was always great. It took longer for the chemistry to grow, but we are on a good way”, warned Marius Nolte. The Fraport Skyliners host the Artland Dragons on December 30th at 19:30.