What nicer place is there for a professional basketball team to achieve success and happiness than in their own living room? It isnt often that a team has to play in a foreign arena near their natural place of home, but these circumstances do arrive sometimes for the good and sometimes because of schedule conflicts. More than nine years ago, the then Deutsche Bank Skyliners tried an experiment playing a game against the Telekom Baskets Bonn in the Frankfurt Festhalle which is a location that has been home to the Frankfurt marathon finish line, equestrian events, the ATP Tennis tournament or the most known music artists like Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga or Rihanna. Frankfurt lost to Bonn on that early autumn afternoon without Skyliner legend Pascal Roller and had a supporting cast of players like Dominik Bahiense De Meloo, Carlos Andrade, Mate Milisa and Malick Badiane. It isnt often that a situation occurs where the Frankfurt Skyliners have to get a temporary playing location, but since their home the Fraport arena was booked for the night, the club decided to play in the Grosspsorthalle in Ruesselsheim which would serve as a top arena in the German Pro B, but not for a Eurochallenge game. Anyway it had to do and a basketball court is a court anywhere on the planet and the Frankfurt fans had to travel the 18 kilometers to cheer on their team. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game having a walking wounded list as long the supermarket wish list of Shaq on his weekly trip to buy food and didn´t need to take a flight to Ruesselsheim, but a short bus trip as this team was like on a flight without a pilot with all the injured players. The club was without players Mike Morrison, Mikko Koivisto, Kevin Bright and all three point guards Richard Williams, Konstantin Klein and Max Merz. The only question now was how were the Fraport Skyliners going to react to this hardship against top Swedish team Boras? The Fraport Skyliners entered the game with a 1-1 record in Eurochallenge play as did Boras and the fans witnessed a hard fought battle as the game deserved no loser, but Adama Darboe put Boras in the winners circle with a buzzer beating putting them past Frankfurt 72-70. North Carolina native James Miller who is known for getting the ball in his hands at the end was for once not the hero, but proud of his team. “We had a good first half getting the lead. The second half was a game of runs and I tip my hat to Frankfurt. They made tough plays and hit tough shots. The team that had the ball last was going to win. The key was getting three stops in one possession at the end. It was good defense, but we could boxed out better”, smilied 2006 Dutch cup winner with Amsterdam James Miller. Despite the walking wounded, the Fraport Skyliners played their hearts out, but at the end weren´t rewarded with the victory. Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp was disappointed after the game and the Ruesselsheim gym was just another court for him, but luck is something that Frankfurt hasn´t had on their side this season. “It was just a different gym as all baskets are the same. The crowd was good and this was like a home game as we slept in our beds. I never have seen so many injuries as this season, but games like these are a chance for the young guys like Johannes Richter who played great the last two Eurochallenge games. We had open three pointers at the end and could of won, but that is how basketball is sometimes and we have been having not much luck in these type of games this season”, stressed ex Braunschweig forward Aaron Doornekamp.
Boras Basket who currently are in third place of the Swedish Basketligan broke out on a fury going on a 7-0 run. Former Valpariso forward Christian Maraker who has played for 10 teams in his career hit a jumper and James “I will always have my Duke moment” Miller displayed why scoring in bunches could be his middle name as he hit a jumper and then connected on a bank shot three with two seconds remaining on the shot clock. This quick burst of Boras energy didn’t faze the Fraport Skyliners as they replied with their own 7-0 run as they had a fast flash of offense as Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson scored inside, German national player Johannes Voigtmann hit a hook shot over Maraker and Canadian Kyle Fossman got on the Boras radar with a three pointer. After 35 year Michael Palm hit a jumper, it was Voigtmann who got an untypical assist as his air ball was laid in by Danilo Barthel to dead lock the game at 9-9. However it was Boras Basket that had a tick more of efficiency on offense as they closed out the first quarter with a 9-4 run to lead 18-13. Four time Danish allstar Adama Darboe tested his Swedish 56% shooting from the parking lot hitting nothing but net and the rest of their points were courtesy of the free throw line as Samuel Haanpaa, Darboe and Maraker all connected from there. Frankfurt got buckets from Voigtmann who got a back door pass from Tez and Johannes Richter scored. “We let Boras get their rhythm to quick as we weren´t focused enough on defense. You cant let them get three easy buckets at the start. However we did a good job finding our flow”, stressed Fraport Skyliner point guard Richard Williams. Boras Basket was shooting 33% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 20% from outside. Both teams grabbed nine rebounds a piece, but Frankfurt had four turnovers and Boras just two turnovers.
In the second quarter Boras Basket kept the lead, but were unable to fully shake off the Fraport Skyliners as they continued to fight and scrap like a fat cat does when its on a diet and wants its daily food from its owner. Voigtmann kept his game flowing as he scored the first two Frankfurt buckets tip toeing by 35 year old Michael Palm who left Western Washington(NCAA2) in 2003 as its all time leading rebounder and third in shots blocked for the easy lay in and then connected on a bank hook shot as Boras still led 20-17. Frankfurt kept fighting, but were unable to grab the lead even if they were so close. Frankfurt got some big time production from their Pro B players as Fossman nailed a pull up jumper and ex Ludwigsburg German Stefan Ilzhoefer finished the fast break with a lay in as Frankfurt trailed Boras 24-23. Miller who has played for 14 teams in six countries did what he does best hit shots nailing his bread and butter the mid distance jumper as Boras led 26-23. Fossman then scored from the wing and Doornekamp hit a free throw as the game was even 26-26. In the last few minutes, Boras Basket heightened their game which Frankfurt couldn´t match going on a 11-4 run to go into half time leading 37-30. Miller was in his own zone and one could of plastered the word expression are you kidding me on his forehead as he hit a ridiculous three pointer from the wing from half way Frankfurt, Frederik Andersson scored inside and then Miller scored inside. Maraker then scored inside getting a back door pass from Darboe and ex Akron forward Christoper Mcknight that played with Dru Joyce and Romeo Travis at Akron could pose as his twin brother nailed an off balance jumper. Voigtmann kept Frankfurt in the game with two buckets. “We didn´t communicate well on defense at the end. We also didn´t take that good care of the ball as we had fake a pass to make a pass. We didn´t go inside as much as we could of which would of opened room for our shooters”, added San Diego native Richard Williams. Basket Boras was shooting 48% from the field and 30% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and only 10% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 19-14 rebound edge, but nine turnovers while Boras Basket had only four turnovers.
In the third quarter, It was Boras Basket that had their biggest lead of 10 points, but after 30 minutes the game was dead locked again as the Fraport Skyliners just wouldn´t give up. Danilo Barthel got the Fraport Skyliners on the board first with a high rainbow jumper that probably could of reached the top of the Frankfurt Messe tower cut the Boras lead to 37-32. However Boras went on a 5-0 run to lead 42-32 as Michael Palm connected on a hook shot and James Miller hit another crazy shot with Fossman in his face. After the win Miller had a big smile on his face as to how he can consistently hit tough shots. “Being able to make those shots has to do with repetition. I know that I will get many tough looks so I train in an environment that is tougher than what I will see in a game. This helps me perform better at a high level”, warned two time Swedish scoring champion James Miller. However come backs were on the menu of the Fraport Skyliners on this night as they scorched Boras Basket with a nasty 9-0 run to cut their lead to 44-41. The run was started by Aaron Doornekamp who had something to prove after seeing the goose egg in Bamberg hitting a three pointer, Voigtmann continued to be a thorn in the side of Boras connecting on consecutive mid distance jumpers and Robertson made a pull up jumper. However Frankfurt couldn´t get any closer at first as Boras Basket hit big shots to keep their lead as Haanpaa and Maraker did as Frankfurt trailed 49-43. However Frankfurt closed out the third quarter in fine fashion going on a 9-3 run to tie the game at 52-52. Frankfurt upped their intensity in this faze as Doornekamp and Barthel scored inside to tie the game at 49-49. Mckinight then hit a three pointer which was bested by Doornekamp to end the third quarter. “I hit some big shots at the end, but that doesn´t really matter as the shot that counted at the end didn´t fall for me”, stressed Aaron Doornekamp. After three quarters, Boras Basket were shooting 45% from the field and 35% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 44% from the field and only 15% from the parking lot. Boras Basket rebounded better in the third quarter as Frankfurt led the boards work only 25-24, but they had six turnovers in the third quarter and Frankfurt only one as Frankfurt had 10 turnovers and Boras Basket nine turnovers after thirty minutes.
In the fourth quarter, the game became a game as both teams shifted up three gears as there were nine lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners continued their stellar play adding on to their late third quarter run and starting the fourth quarter with a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 57-52. Richter started the run with a bank shot and Quantez Robertson drilled home a three pointer. Boras Basket put a halt into the Frankfurt run with their own 4-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-56 as Haanpaa connected on a jumper as did Maraker. Runs continued to dominate the fourth quarter as now Frankfurt returned to a run as Barthel scored in bunches as on the first bucket, Robertson saved a Voigtmann airball and kicked it out to the German who hit a pull up jumper and then tested his 35% shooting from outside with patent rainbow three pointer that seemed to stay in the air as long as it takes to wait in rush hour for the bus as Frankfurt led 62-58. Soon after barthel miss timed his dunk and missed, but hustled back to force a turnover. Even though Barthel picked up his game against Boras Basket, it seemed like something very spectacular has to happen for players to notice. “He is really doing the same thing that he has been doing all season long. There is nothing special, but its solid. He does many good things that you don’t see on the stat sheet. That was a good recovery missing the dunk and coming back on defense to force a turnover”, warned Aaron Doornekamp. Boras kept the pressure on and regained the lead as Miller hit another one of his amazing shots hitting a in your face against Richter and Mcknight then scored inside as Boras Basket led 63-62. Frankfurt got the lead back on a Doornekamp put back 64-63, but Miller hit free throws as Boras Basket led 65-64. The Frankfurt German big men continued to do all they could to secure the win as Voigtmann and Barthel muscled home buckets as Frankfurt led 68-65. However Boras got the lead back as Mcknight nailed a pull up jumper and Haanpaa made a free throw as Frankfurt trailed 69-68. Frankfurt got the lead back one last time as Barthel made an off balance shot for the Frankfurt 70-69 lead. Miller then made one of two free throws as the game as tied 70-70. Frankfurt had the chance to win the game, but were denied on three shots as they banged for offensive rebounds, but weren’t rewarded with a basket. With 4,3 seconds to go Boras had one last play to win the game. Apparently a siren went off during the play which made Voigtmann pause for a split second enabling Adama Darboe to hit a fade away jumper winning the game. The refs let play go on and Frankfurt will most likely apply a protest. “On the last play there was an off screen and I turned for the possible back door, but instead it was a mis direction which allowed Darboe to get the ball. He had a good look and it looked good as he released it”, said James Miller. After the game, the buzzer beater hero Adama Darboe was all smiles, but very humble in victory. “I have made a couple of buzzer beaters, but this was my biggest in my career. I wasnt even thinking if the ball looked good, but first noticed that it went in when my teammates were yelling. It was an amazing feeling”, said Adama Darboe.
Boras Basket was led by James Miller with 23 points. Samuel Haanpaa chipped in with 13 points and Christian Maraker had 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Johannes Voigtmann with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Danilo Barthel contributed 15 points and six rebounds. Quantez Robertson had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists and Aaron Dornekamp had 11 points. Boras Basket finished the game shooting 49% from the field and 36% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 45% from the field and 22% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 36-29, but had 13 turnovers while Boras had 12 turnovers. Boras moves to 2-1 and Frankfurt to 1-2 in Eurochallenge play. The Fraport Skyliners next meet the Walter Tigers Tuebingen and take one major positive into the game. “Our biggest strength was our rebounding. We were big and crashed the boards”, warned Aaron Doornekamp. Frankfurt will be looking for revenge in a few weeks in Sweden and will probably encounter a totally different Frankfurt club. “Their injuries were unfortunate, but despite the circumstances played a great game. They had guys step up that we didn´t have on the scouting report. The guys that we wanted to take their shots did, but they hit tough shots”, stressed James Miller.