For many years, Bamberg was a place where the Frankfurt Skyliners went, played 40 minutes and lost muttering the words “we lost again” and went home again and probably enjoyed the beautiful drive most to the pretty Bavarian city than their woes on the court. Frankfurt finally won in the 2010 playoffs with ex Skyliner Derrick Allen lifting that dreaded Bamberg curse, but talking about jinxes is something nobody likes to talk about, but that terrifying B word keeps creeping up as Bonn has been a place be it the old Hardtberg gym or the new Telekom dome where they Frankfurt hasn´t won in more than 9 years. The last time, Frankfurt was able to exit the court with a victory, Bamberg was still searching for their first Beko BBL title, Fraport Skyliner center Johannes Voigtmann was 12 years old, Telekom Baskets Bonn center Chris Ensminger was already in his 30s and winning Beko BBL rebound titles as if they were growing on a Quaking Aspen in his home state Ohio, ex Alba Berlin point guard Dashaun Wood was making a name for himself at Wright State and young Fraport Skyliner juniors Max Merz was 10 years old and brother Jacob was seven years old and were having their first playful brother competitions on the basketball court. There were some games to be remembered like the OT loss in 2009 where Titus Ivory brought the game into OT where the team then got squashed, three years ago despite a Derrick Rose like performance from Dashaun Wood scoring 20 points, grabbing eight rebounds and dishing out seven assists, the team lost a squeaker 92-89 and perhaps the most bitter loss of all being two seasons ago where four months of hard work where the team came from 17th place back to ninth place and having that golden opportunity to reach the playoffs on the last game day only to lose badly 81-62 as a 19-9 second quarter run by Bonn got them going and carried them to victory. Frankfurt had no remedy how to stop 38 year old Chris Ensminger who made the zone look his own feeding ground and where he played like a real tough man among Kids. It was the last game of Jermareo Davidson as he scored 18 points as well as that of sniper Jimmy Mckinney who contributed 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners returned back to Bonn looking to snap their five game losing streak in 2014 and 10 games in a row losing streak in Bonn once again came up short losing 74-54 and have been winless in Bonn for the last 109 months dating back to January ist, 2005. One man that has seen many games between both teams is Telekom Baskets Bonn sport director Andreas Bottcher who can´t explain the dominance either. “We also had a stretch where we lost many games in Frankfurt. I remember Oluoma Nnamaka winning a game on the last play and then us winning game five in Frankfurt in 2008. There were times where Frankfurt wasn´t playing well in the league, but came here and played very hard. I will never forget our win in 2009 in OT after Titus Ivory brought Frankfurt in to OT”, smiled Andreas Bottcher. Top Beko BBL point guard Jared Jordan was all smiles after the game as he won his fourth game in a row against Frankfurt in the Telekom dome living room. “I always say that streaks are there to be broken. I am just happy that it wasn´t tonight. We will take it”, smiled 2007 Los Angeles Clippers NBA draft pick Jared Jordan. Quantez Robertson is used to exiting the dressing room in Bonn mopping since he has lost five times in a row since entering the Beko BBL in 2009 including the 2010 Slam dunk contest. One would think after a while that he would hate to play in Bonn. “ I don´t hate playing in Bonn. I always have liked the atmosphere and the crowd is loud. I am not happy that I haven´t had success here, but I hope that I can help change that in the years to come”, stressed Quantez Robertson. As a Boston native, Tony Gaffney knows about curses and the Boston Red Sox not winning a MLB title in 86 years, but chuckled about the so called Frankfurt curse in Bonn. “It is never easy to play in Bonn. Sometimes teams simply have another teams number. They caught us on a good night”, expressed ex Jouventut Badalona forward Tony Gaffney.”11 straight loses here is hard to explain with different players and coaches over the years. Maybe it has something to do with the atmosphere or seat colors”, smiled Dane Watts.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn came into the game in sixth place with a record of 12-9 and not being the strongest home team having a 4-7 record. They also entered the game with a three game losing streak and had given up an average of 90 points in that span. The Telekom Baskets Bonn came out strong in the first quarter had a comfortable lead at halftime and really exploded in the third quarter as they shut the door early on the 2004 Beko BBL champion Frankfurt Skyliners. Bonn knew that they had to get back to their old ways of defending hard if they wanted to have great chances in beating the Fraport Skyliners. “We had had a tough stretch at home and in the last games got away from our defensive principles. We improved our defense tonight and had a very good defensive effort. It had been our goal to take Frankfurt out of their offense. They like that high low game and we took it away from them. Danilo Barthel played a great game though”, stressed ex Boston Celtic Tony Gaffney. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with a five game losing streak and still sporting that goose egg of 0 wins in 2014. The only real bright spot for the team with all the injured players was the fact that they had played very well the last two games losing on the last play and games they could of won. However the club was as far away from those last performances against Oldenburg and Vechta in Bonn as medi bayreuth seem to be at the moment at getting that much desired victory. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t always seem to be mentally there on the court and the team didn´t harmonize as a team at all. “We worked hard all week in practice and practiced hard, but we played under our possibilities. We made easy turnovers from the start and that made it difficult to get into an offensive rhythm and that made it more hard to do what we wanted to do”, stressed Fraport Skyliners German guard Max Merz. The Turnovers was a big problem for the Fraport Skyliners as they were flooded with 27 that started to pop up quickly and never died away throughout the game. “We got many turnovers from the start which kind of killed our spirit. When you have a young team, you need to know how to get through periods like that, but we couldn´t”, warned ex raiopharm Ulm forward Dane Watts. Our offense wasn´t that great tonight, but it was our defense that won the game for us”, stated Telekom Baskets Bonn guard Jared Jordan.
During warmups there could almost been a Michael hakim Jordan sighting in the Telekom Baskets dome, as a bald shaven player wearing the Bonn jersey was conversing with Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson, however it wasn´t Jordan who is assistant coach at Colgate(NCAA), but ex Fraport Skyliner Ryan Brooks who had decided to get his head shaven a few days ago for that new look. Fraport Skyliner Max Merz was also back on the court less than 24 hours after hitting his second game winning shot in Speyer and at home against Rhondorf a week ago. Merz was already to go in Bonn and thrilled to talk about the last play. “I was happy my shot went in and the play was for me off the pick and role where I took a half hook shot over their big man. The success with the Pro B gives me a lot of confidence for the BBL”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Max Merz. 5,020 fans were in the arena to witness the Fraport Skyliners started off lethargic letting the Telekom Baskets Bonn take a 6-0 lead. Boston native Tony Gaffney nailed consecutive buckets on a reverse lay up and made a 15 footer and Jared Jordan connected for a mid distance shot. The Fraport Skyliners finally got on the board with a Quantez Robertson turn around shot and Danilo Barthel free throws. Frankfurt stayed on the heels of Bonn as Barthel hit a tough lay in over Gaffney as Bonn led only 8-6. However Bonn who is always dangerous at home sped out on a fast 7-0 run to lead 15-6. Gaffney scored inside as ex Skyliner Brooks tested his 36,2% three point shooting percentage hitting and then scoring on the penetration using his quickness to his advantage. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 run as Johannes Voigtmann scored inside getting the bullet pass from Barthel and Konstantin Klein hit free throws as Bonn led 15-10. Bonn who had found their offensive rhythm quick kept up the pressure finishing off the first quarter with a 6-3 run to lead 21-13. Ex Ludwigsburg center Kurt Looby who is the classic rebounder/shot blocker and less known for scoring hit a hook shot. While Klein showed his usual hot first quarter three point shooting nailing one, but Bonn closed out the scoring using their quickness and athletic ability once again as Brooks hit a runner as did ex BG Karlsruhe guard David Mccray. “Both teams hadn´t won much the last weeks. Both teams were missing open shots and playing more like not to lose than wanting to win. Frankfurt played unsure and the four turnovers by Klein was untypical, but these things can always happen with a young team”, stressed Giessen 46ers head coach Dennis Wucherer. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 60% from the field and 17% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt had the seven to four rebound advantage, but a poor nine turnovers while Bonn had four turnovers.
At the start of the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were unable to take advantage of many missed Bonn shots as they couldn´t hit shots either. Jordan got Bonn on the board first with an easy lay up as he caught a loose ball in perfect position at center court and scampered to the hoop for the bucket as Bonn had the 23-13 lead. Barthel kept Frankfurt over water with his offense as he scored on a lay in. Barthel once again stayed away from the three and did most damage in the paint. American Jamel Mcclean missed some easy free throws and David Mccray and Tony Gaffney were robbed of easy dunks as Bonn had chance after chance to pull away, but led only 27-16. Voigtmann and Brooks then exchanged dunks as Frankfurt trailed 29-18. In the last minute David Mccray who once hit Hagen for 23 points in 24 minutes had his hot shooting continue with a bomb from downtown and Kevin Bright connected on a three pointer as Bonn went into halftime with the very comfortable 35-23 lead. “Frankfurt continued to fight for a rhythm on offense. Frankfurt tried to break Bonn with their triangle and two defense, but it didn´t work. When you have guys like Jordan and Gaffney who have so much experience it isn´t easy to defend”, warned ex Bayer Giants Leverkusen German Dennis Wucherer. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 44% from the field and 14% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 33% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 19-12 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Bonn had only six turnovers.
It looked like the Fraport Skyliners might get back into the game after Danilo Barthel connected on a beautiful step back three pointer to start off the third quarter with one second on the shot clock as Frankfurt trailed only 35-25, but instead Bonn started hitting shots on a more consistent level which wasn´t the case in the first half. After Mcclean nailed two free throws, the Fraport Skyliners had their most spectacular play of the game as there was some Beko BBL showtime between Quantez Robertson and Ramon Galloway. Tez lofted up the perfect ally-op pass which Galloway jammed home. In the past it was usually Robertson who was the recipient of dunks, but these days is showing his passing expertise more. Benas Veikalas from Lithuania who had been quiet in this game hit his first three pointer of the game and Robertson answered with a hard penetration move to the cup and lefthanded lay in as Frankfurt trailed only 40-29. Galloway got Frankfurt back under ten points with a lay in getting the perfect pass from Barthel. However the Fraport Skyliners who otherwise had little movement on offense and more one on one play couldn´t keep pace with Bonn as they broke open the game ending the third quarter on a 18-7 run to lead 58-37. Mccray started the run drooping a three pointer, Gaffney cut inside and scored off the Veikalas pass and Mccray scored again breaking the defense and using his quickness for the easy lay in for the 50-33 lead. The Bonn offense was clicking while Frankfurt had problems just getting stops as they couldn´t withstand the furious Bonn ball movement. Ex Bayreuth forward Steven Wachalski who is one of those rare players to have gone from Regionaliga to Beko BBL nailed a three pointer which was followed by a Brooks three pointer. Mccray ended the third quarter with a lay in. “Coach called a time out early in the third quarter and then we just started hitting shots. Brooks hit shots and Wachalski came in and did what he always does making shots. Everybody contributed in the third quarter”, stated Jared Jordan. “We weren´t collectively on the same page. You have to pressure or get in the passing lane as a team. We didn´t do that and Bonn exploited our weak defense”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Dane Watts. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 51% from the field and 29% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 35% from the field and 20% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the rebound advantage 25-16, but had 24 turnovers while Bonn had only 14.
In the fourth quarter, the Telekom Baskets Bonn continued to play solid offensive basketball while buckling down on defense and riding into the Bonn sunset with a much deserved win as the Fraport Skyliners couldn´t get stops and still had no healthy rhythm on offense. Dane Watts who had been surprisingly quiet in his third game scored on a mid distance jumper to start the fourth quarter. However Bonn head coach Mathias Fischer continued not to be shy to use his bench and got solid production as Wachalski nailed another three pointer which was followed by the Brooks bread and butter mid distance jumper as Bonn led 63-39. Aziz Ndiaye who also was quiet put in a tip in, but it was Wachalski again scoring over the taller Ndiaye and making a free throw. Despite another Kevin Bright three pointer, Bonn continued to connect as Brooks made another mid distance shot and Wachalski hit another three pointer as Bonn led 71-45. “Wachalski was everywhere on the court. He was hitting shots, blocking shots or making good passes. I see what he does in practice each day and he is a great guy”, explained Tony Gaffney. The Fraport Skyliners closed out the game in fine fashion with a 9-3 run. Bright connected on three jumpers, but all in all it wasn´t enough as Bonn came away with the win. Bonn finally had their defense back in shape and Jordan was a bit surprised to see six steals in the stat sheet for him. “It was good to have a good defensive effort again. In the last weeks, we had played very offensive orientated teams like Munich, Berlin and Ulm. We let those teams be comfortable on offense, but didn´t let Frankfurt be comfortable. Some of my teammates joked and said that they gave me some of their steals. I had many balls coming my way, we pressured well and just played good team defense”, summarized Connecticut native Jared Jordan. One of the big basketball stories in Germany the last days was the rumor of Jordan going to Bamberg. After the win, he declined any comment about the matter. From experience, usually when comment is declined, there is usually more going on with the matter. Sportando had reported late Sunday night that Jordan had already signed a contract with Bamberg and it would become official in the next days. It will be interesting to see how this story develops. Despite scoring only 54 points as a team, Quantez Robertson saw the reason more to do with them than the Bonn defense for their lack of scoring punch. “We turned the ball over too much which didn´t allow us to get into a good offensive rhythm. However I tip my hat to them. Bonn played good defense and did a good job getting fast break points”, added Quantez Robertson. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Ryan Brooks with 21 points. Steve Wachalski added 12 points and Tony Gaffney and David Mccray chipped in with 11 points a piece. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Danilo Barthel with 18 points and Kevin Bright had 12 points. The Telekom Baskets Bonn shot 68% from the two point range and 30% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 19% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebounding duel 37 to 24, but had an unacceptable 27 turnovers while the Telekom Baskets Bonn had 17 turnovers.