Mr Versatile Nate Linehart Sends The Fraport Skyliners To A Do Or Die Game Against Ludwigsburg Carrying TBB Trier To The 78-70 Victory

When looking visionally at the cities Frankfurt and Trier, there is about as much difference as the music of Rihanna and old school rocker Ozzy Osbourne as Frankfurt is the financial capital of Germany with a mini skyline in comparison to New York City, while Trier is a beautiful quaint German town that is filled with alluring nature, the river Mosel, beautiful wine hills and TBB Trier team manager and mascot Aggi who for some basketball fans is just worth a visit. On the court the teams of Henrik Rodl and Muli Katzurin have one very distinct similarity in which both coaches preach Defense as the way to achieving basketball success.  The Fraport Skyliners have had three hard fought defensive battles against the s.Oliver Baskets Wurzburg  and the last season both teams had a defensive battle in the trenches in the Fraport arena with TBB Trier digging themselves free of the Skyliner clutches winning 64-54. In that game TBB Trier was able to keep Frankfurt to 21% shooting from downtown and forced them to cough up the ball 17 times. Jon Leuer and Jimmy Mckinney both had 14 points  a piece and ex NBA player Jermareo Davidson had 10 points, but had less luck with his fade away jumper shooting 4/11 from the field. The Fraport Skyliners have had nice memories winning the battle in Wurzburg twice, but losing the last two defensive battles in Frankfurt against Trier and Wurzburg and now were focused to finally come out of the ditch with their chests held high with an important victory. However if it was just the grind of a long season or more missed assignments, switching or just mental lapses, TBB Trier had not defended the way head coach Henrik Rodl had liked averaging giving up 88 points in the last six games, but against the Fraport Skyliners showed their defensive face beating the Fraport Skyliners 78-70. “We knew that Frankfurt was one of the best defensive teams in the league and we anticipated a defensive battle today. Defense is our identity and we got back to our old ways tonight. We didn´t really change anything stragitally, but we just raised our defensive intensity and just played with a lot more energy than in the first half. We gave a total team effort today”, stressed Ohio native Nate Linhart.

Win or lose the best Skyliner basketball news in the last week was the release of jovial point guard Dawan Robinson from the hospital. The Philadelphia native was held up in the hospital the last two weeks because of  a lung problem, but finally was given the green light to depart the place where hospital food has its own made up name for each patient. If the penetrating scoring point guard will ever be able to step on the court again and give his 110% is unknown, but against TBB Trier the American was on the court again even if it was only on the sideline. He had made known that he will be a sort of right hand for Muli Katurin as an assistant coach. Robinson who at times looks like he can´t wipe that serious smile of his face, but then at the jolt of mascot Dunking Kong stamping up and down on the court, the American flashes a lightening smile that would light up any room even in a steel mill in Allentown.  Robinson gave a solid debut as a helping coach on the sidelines getting excited at times as if Toby the Dragon had given him some of his secret energy dragon potion via DHL from Quackenbruck. Robinson may never had played in the NBA like fellow Philadelphian from 1994-2008 and five seasons for the 76ers, but both have one thing in common, both are on the bench as the ex NBA player is an assistant coach for the NBA team, while Robinson could be an assistant in the making. When one was observing Robinson in the second half and the woes of the Fraport Skyliners, one could see that he wanted to be on the court more than anything, but instead was sitting next to Taylor Brown at the end of the bench. “I was a bit upset that I was so far away from the team. I wanted to be on the court so bad, but it hurt that I couldn´t do anything. In a way, this loss is my fault, because I couldn´t be on the court. Even though I am from Philadelphia, I am not a fan of the 76ers, because I haven´t liked some of the decisions the team has made over the years, but as far as Aaron Mckie, I think he has done  a good job there. He helped me a lot when I played Summer league there. When I was younger, I wanted just to spend more time with my family after my playing days, but now as I am getting older, I like to see players get better and develop. I think coaching is something I would like to do after my playing days are over”, stressed Dawan Robinson.

The Fraport Skyliners came into the game coming off a bitter loss in Bonn and had the chance to secure the season with a win against TBB Trier, but a poor second half gave TBB Trier the lead and they never looked back. The Fraport Skyliners really picked a brutally bad time period to play a lousy second half and now must tremble next weekend and beat the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg to stay in the Beko BBL. Frankfurt didn´t shoot that bad, but just were unable to find their offensive flow in the second half not getting into a groove and allowing TBB Trier to take the momentum. “TBB Trier played very good team defense in the second half. We allowed too many open looks and they made their free throws. We had problems executing on offense and defense and gave up too many second chance points at the rim”, expressed Fraport Skyliner forward Quantez Robertson. TBB Trier was riding on a five game losing streak and weren´t totally safe to stay in the league, but the team wanted to return back to the Mosel city with a win in their baggage and travel to their last two games in Berlin and Quackenbruck with no more worries. It took TBB Trier a while to find their rhythm, but in the second half, they played excellent basketball and deserved to win the game. “We played well as a team and just did everything right on offense and defense. We made the right passes and shots. I can´t remember anyone turning down shots. We stepped up our defensive intensity in the second half. We denied all entries and just took them out of their comfort zone. I think that this was our best game of the season”, expressed Canadian native Jermaine Bucknor.

4,470 fans wanted to see the game and some fans even remembered who the tall man was wearing glasses as Derrick Allen was back in his old living room taking in the game where he dominated from 2007-2010. Frankfurt was without Dawan Robinson and Devin Gibson and the point guard duties were held by Konstantin Klein and Max Merz. Before the first fan could scoop some tasty buttered popcorn and stuff their face, Quantez Robertson gave the fans the first hurra with a mega slam dunk with  a perfect ally-op pass from his Auburn teammate Laquan Prowell. TBB Trier took the lead 3-2 with an Andreas Seifert lay in and Linhart free throw. The Fraport Skyliners quickly got their offense rolling escaping out on an 8-0 run to lead 10-3. Frankfurt did heavy damage in the paint as Konstantin Klein hit a runner, Robertson a lay up and Peacock twice. TBB Trier seemed asleep on defense just standing around which Frankfurt took advantage of. Klein then scored again on the penetration making it look as easy as his teammate Dawan Robinson as Frankfurt led 13-5. TBB Trier had no groove on offense, but someone hung around as Andreas Seifert kept them in the game. TBB Trier made a little comeback going on a 7-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 15-12. Seifert scored inside and made free throws as did Bastian Doreth. With Klein getting two early fouls, Muli Katzurin inserted 19 year old German Max Merz. Prowell hit  a huge three pointer and Ryan Brooks a pull up jumper, but TBB Trier stayed on their heels as Doreth made a running left handed hook shot and Brian Harper hit free throws. Frankfurt only had a 22-18 lead after one quarter. “Frankfurt started very well on offense. TBB Trier had problems getting used to the Frankfurt defense. Andreas Seifert kept TBB Trier in the game”, expressed TV Langen German Sebastian Barth. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 77% from the field and 25% from outside while TBB Trier was hooting 50% from the field and 0% from outside. Frankfurt had the 6-2 rebound edge, but four turnovers while TBB Trier had only one turnover.

The Fraport Skyliners started off very hot getting out on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 31-20. Johannes Voigtmann started the run with a mid distance jumper and Brooks and Super Tez hit free throws. German Max Merz then scored his first Beko BBL points with a shot from downtown. However as quick as Frankfurt started, they all of a sudden lost rhythm as the  second half of the second quarter was like day and night as TBB Trier made their come back going on a 14-4 run to go into halftime trailing only 35-34. It was Nate Linhart who led TBB Trier in the run adding three buckets, getting assists and grabbing key offensive rebounds. Seifert also made an easy lay in after being served a quick pass on a platter by Linhart. Linhart faked a shot and like back in the 80s in best Larry Bird manner passed the German the ball. Linhart almost seemed embarrassed when being compared to the passing talent of Larry Bird, “Larry Bird was one of my idols. I thought Andreas had the better shot so I passed him the ball. I just try to make team plays that make my teammates happy”, stressed Nate Linhart. Despite being a big reason for the win, the Ohio native didn´t  see anything out of the ordinary of his performance. “I am not a flashy player. This was just a normal day at the office for me”, added Nate Linhart. His teammate Jermaine Bucknor was all smiles when he heard the name Linhart. “He is a great player. He simply does everything on the court. He is best offensive rebounder that I have ever played with. He is always seeking out the ball from the wing. His ability to get the offensive rebound is incredible. He is hard to guard because he is a lefty. I think that he will get more credit that he deserves after this season”, commented Jermaine Bucknor. His opponent Quantez Robertson was also impressed with his play. “He had an all around good game. He got to the rim, got extra offensive rebounds and just did what was needed”, added Quantez Robertson. TBB Trier trailed only 35-34 at halftime. “Frankfurt led up a bit in the second quarter. TBB Trier kept hanging around. They got big offensive rebounds and some floaters. Frankfurt lost their rhythm on offense and weren´t aggressive going to the hoop. Max Merz did a good job. He was a bit nervous at first, but he hit a big three pointer and played solid defense”, stated TV Langen German Sebastian Barth. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 60% from the field and 33% from the three point line while TBB Trier was shooting 46% from the field and 0% from the three point line. Frankfurt ha dthe 13-11 rebound advantage, but eight turnovers while TBB Trier had four turnovers.

The Third quarter was the most exciting of the game and at one point there was no difference on the court of both teams as there were seven lead changes, but TBB Trier was able to pull away in the last minutes of the third quarter. Andreas Seiferth gave TBB Trier the lead back again 36-35 with free throws, but Klein retrieved it back for Frankfurt with an off balance lay in as Frankfurt led 37-36. Frankfurt went on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 40-36 as the German boys did the damage as Klein made free throws and Voigtmann a jumper. TBB Trier wasn´t fazed as they returned back on a 5-0 run to get the lead back 41-40. Harper who had been quiet up to that stand point scored twice inside. Brooks and Stewart then traded buckets as tBB Trier led 43-42. Frankfurt got the lead back going on a 4-0 run as Brooks kept having the hot hand making a lay in and Max Merz connected on a runner as Frankfurt led 46-43. TBB Trier found a hot streak again at the right juncture ending the third quarter with a 13-5 run. Stewart and Prowell traded baskets as Frankfurt still led 48-45. Athletic forward Vitalis Chikoko made a lay in getting a quick bullet pass from Linhart. Linhart and Bucknor then nailed back to back three pointers as TBB Trier led 54-48. TBB Trier was outhustling Frankfurt getting key offensive rebounds and working for the perfect shots which they hit. TBB Trier seemed to want it more at that point. Bucknor made an off balance shot on the last possession as TBB Trier led 56-51 after three quarters. “TBB Trier played better offense and just played better pick and roll and got the ball inside and stepped up their defense”, added Sebastian Barth.

In the fourth quarter The Fraport Skyliners had to step up, but instead were greeted by a 10-3 TBB Trier run which got them into full gear and helped them gain the momentum and cruise to the win. Ex Gonzaga sniper Mathis Monninghoff and Quantez Robertson traded three point bombs as TBB Trier still led 59-54. Frankfurt was unable to keep pace as TBB Trier continued to score as Buchnor hit a jumper and free throws and normally little used Joshiko Saibou buried a three pointer from the corner as TBB Trier led more comfortably 66-54 and the Fraport arena suddenly got very quiet. “Frankfurt wasn´t taking care of the ball, missed easy lay ups and couldn´t secure offensive rebounds”, added  TV Langen forward Martinis Woody. Zach peacock came back into the game and even though Frankfurt was trying to come back, turnovers was hindering them as well as missed free throws. Danilo Barthel who was back after missing some games due to back problems scored in traffic and Robertson made a free throw, but TBB Trier still led 68-58. Peacock and Bucknor then scored back to back, but Frankfurt still trailed 71-60. Peacock then suffered two turnovers landing on the line on the base line and getting an offensive foul his fifth and having to leave the game. American Barry Stewart punished him and the Skyliners dropping a three pointer extending the TBB Trier lead to 76-62 and deciding the game. Prowell hit a three pointer as TBB Trier only led 76-65, but with time running out Stewart connected on free throws as TBB Trier led 78-65. Frankfurt closed out the game with a 5-0 run with Klein and Tez free throws, but too little too late. “We were playing good team basketball. We all stuck together and kept our composure. We learned from our loss last weekend in Tuebingen and executed better down the stretch”, added Jermaine Bucknor. “They were more aggressive in some spots. We had some miscommunication on defense. They were just tougher than we were. The game is 40 minutes.  You either make plays or you don´t. Our offense was stagnant. Even when a team like Trier is aggressive, you can punish them. We just weren´t able to do that”, said Ryan Brooks. “We kept the lead and did good team management. Coach called good plays and we executed them to perfection”, expressed Nate Linhart. “I think that we were just missing leadership in crunch time”, added Dawan Robinson.

TBB Trier was led by Jermaine Bucknor and Andreas Seiferth  with 14 points a piece. Barry Stewart added 13 points. Nate Linhart chipped in with 12 points and nine rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 14 points. Ryan Brooks contributed 13 points, five rebounds and three assists. Konstantin Klein produced 11 points. Max Merz got his first Beko BBL field goal and finished with six points. Experienced Skyliner point guard dawan Robinson was thrilled with his performance. “Merz did a great job coming from the bench. He did more than was expected for a 19 year old. He had no turnovers, made shots and did good decisions. It was a great game by him”, added Dawan Robinson. The Fraport Skyliners shot 51% from the field and31% from outside while TBB Trier shot 47% from the field and 36% from outside. TBB Trier won the rebound duel 30-28 and only had eight turnovers while Frankfurt had 14 turnovers. The Fraport Skyliners now have a do or die game next weekend against the Neckar Riesen Ludwigsburg. The Fraport Skyliners will need  every player next weekend even a Dawan Robinson on the bench. Young German Mathis Monninghoff is content that the Fraport Skyliners will go into summer vacation with the ticket to the Beko BBL for the 2013-2014 season. “Frankfurt has a great arena and fans. They play great basketball and will be ready and hit their shots against Ludwigsburg. I am sure that they will win the game”, stressed Mathis Monninghoff.

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