Experiencing a buzzer beater isn´t always a normal occurrence for a team, but for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and the Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos witnessing that special feeling of combining excitement, hope and success in a matter of seconds has happened to both clubs this season. It was a little more than three months ago, where Canadian Kyle Fossman who was born in Canada only because there was no hospital in his part of Alaska so his family had to drive four hours to see their offspring born hit his biggest shot of his young professional career nailing a buzzer beater in a triple OT victory against the Rhondorf Dragons 77-75. Winning in dramatic fashion has happened twice in the last month for Iserlohn players as young 20 year old 188cm point guard Niklas Geske who is a double license player with Phoenix Hagen dropped a pretty buzzer beater from center court in BBL play in Bayreuth for the win and last week it was a German duo who did it twice in a matter of minutes as 23 year old 198cm small forward Thomas Reuter who has played six Beko BBL games for Phoenix Hagen hit a three pointer in Schwelm to send the game to overtime and then the hero was 24 year old 186cm German guard Yannik Opitz dropping a in your face three point bomb after getting the perfect feed from Brit Orlan Jackman for the spectacular road win. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were looking for revenge after losing the third game of the season in Iserlohn 76-59 where they had a brick marathon shooting 1/13 from outside and this game against Iserlohn had implications of a buzzer beater as it was tight until the end and the hero of the Kangaroos could have been German Thomas Reuter again as last week he nailed a buzzer beater in Schwelm to bring the game into overtime, but in Frankfurt his shot fell short as the Fraport Skyliners hung on to a huge 67-64 victory against the best Pro B team of the south division. Frankfurt was playing catch up for the most part of the game and at the end made the little things better getting to the free throw line, getting steals and getting the game winning bucket from German Johannes Richter. “We played together today and there wasn´t a player that tried to stand out more than the other. We moved the ball well and played well against the zone and press staying composed. I think that we could of even handled a buzzer beater well today”, smiled guard Jules Akodo. The Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos came into the game having won 12 of their last 13 games having limited the opponent to 70 points or less in 12 games and did it again in Frankfurt, but couldn´t muster more points as they were held way under their 93 point average of the last three games. Iserlohn head coach Mattias Grothe had a long talk with his team as Frankfurt had already excited to the dressing room as this was a bitter loss and a game they controlled for a majority of the time, but let slip away. “Frankfurt outplayed us, outhustled us and outrebounded us. We had so many turnovers. We didn´t play Iserlohn basketball”, stressed Orlan Jackmon.
The Beko BBL team Fraport Skyliners had their practice prior to the start of the Pro B game in preparation against Alba Berlin and many were on hand to support the kids with Mikko Koivisto, Mike Morrison, Kevin Bright, Aaron Doornekamp and Jacob Burtschi who is back in a Skyliners jersey for a third time. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors started off in a fury as if they had on ant eater costume scaring away the Kangaroos as they stormed out on a 7-0 run as 18 year old Armin Musovic nailed a floater and step back three pointer with one second on the shot clock and Canadian Kyle Fossman found 17 year old Niklas Kiel cutting inside for the easy bucket. However the Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos didn´t fall asleep anymore as they got aggressive and were led by Jackman who connected on a finger tip role lay in and made a steal and went coast to coast. Ohio native Matt Kavanaugh and Ruben Dahmen score inside cutting the Frankfurt lead to 9-8. Iserlohn kept pouring it on on offense adding on to their 15-2 run with another bucket from Dahmen from outside, 18 year Jonas Grof who played one BBL game this season with Phoenix Hagen scored as did Kavanaugh as Iserlohn had broken away leading 15-9. Frankfurt came back going on a 6-0 run to deadlock the game at 15-15 as 34 year old Marius Nolte made an offensive rebound and put back, Kiel connected on free throws and Stefan Ilzhoefer made a lay in. Iserlohn got production from Jackman down the stretch with an off balance jumper and Yannick Opitz dropped a three pointer. Frankfurt stayed on their heels as Jules Akodo made a pull up jumper and Nolte scored inside, but Iserlohn led 21-20 after one quarter. “Frankfurt started out very well, but Iserlohn came back and hit their opens shots and were very physical”, stressed Fraport Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi. The Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos were shooting 56% from the field and 33% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 67% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 7-3 rebound edge, but four turnovers while Iserlohn had two turnovers.
Both teams began to defend more aggressive in the second quarter as the Fraport Skyliners held Iserlohn to 13 points. Great Britain guard Jules Akodo took over in the first few minutes scoring three consecutive buckets to give Frankfurt the 29-25 advantage. The biggest strength of Akodo is most likely his penetrating, but all in all, the kid has a very versatile game and can score in a variety of ways which he did in the first few minutes. He started the Akodo show with a three pointer then nailed a pull up jumper and then let good defense translate into easy points with a steal and coast to coast run. Even if the baby twin towers Richter and Kiel didn´t score in this phase their presence inside led to good spacing and Frankfurt getting open shots which Akodo took advantage of. However Iserlohn continued to make shots on offense and kept up with Frankfurt as Kavanaugh was almost unstoppable inside as he scored cutting the Frankfurt lead to 29-28. Musovic then did what he does best nailing a pull up jumper, but 23 year Olaf Rostek who has been with Iserlohn since 2007 and looks like a cross between Seth Rogan and ogre from Revenge of the Nerds nailed his second shot of the second quarter tying the game at 31-31. Frankfurt kept on the pressure in the last minute getting a timely three pointer from Ilzhoefer and Kiel hit free throws as Frankfurt led 36-34 at halftime. “It took Frankfurt some time to get adjusted to the Iserlohn zone. They were very physical inside. Akodo hit big buckets and on defense they let Iserlohn work hard for baskets as anything they got was hard earned”, added ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 54% from the field and 50% from the three point line while Iserlohn was shooting 46% from the field and 21% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 17-8 rebound advantage, but 11 turnovers while Iserlohn had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter it was the Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos that had the upper hand again coming back regaining the advantage and leading by 11 points after 30 minutes. They upped their defensive intensity with switching up of their defense keeping Frankfurt totally off guard which led to numerous turnovers and extra possessions for the guests. Iserlohn came out on a 8-2 run to retake the lead 42-38. In the run it was ex Dayton(NCAA) center Matt Kavanaugh who played together with ex NBA player Chris Wright that did the most damage scoring three buckets. He scored twice inside as his quick foot work was too much to handle for the Frankfurt baby twin towers Richter and Kiel. He also connected on a mid distance jumper while Jackman scored on an off balance running hook shot. Frankfurt then went on a mini 4-0 run as the two 17 and 18 years olds Kiel and Akodo scored inside to tie the game at 42-42. However that small burst of offensive power was suddenly turned off as Iserlohn struck back annoying Frankfurt ending the third quarter with a 13-2 run to lead comfortable 55-44 after three quarters. In the run Iserlohn played great team basketball spreading out the scoring and playing even more aggressive defense which led to more Frankfurt turnovers as they couldn´t take care of the basketball the way head coach Eric Detlev wanted his team to. 18 year old German 205cm Marcel Kessen started the run with a dunk after getting a nifty over the shoulder pass from Jackman. Jackman then hit a three pointer. Iserlohn got additional production from Opitz and Kesson from the free throw line and lay in´s from Reuter and Grof. “We played great team defense and amazing things happen when that happens”, stressed Orlan Jackman. “We came out sloppy and just were too relaxed. They played with more intensity and forced us to many turnovers”, added Jules Akodo. The Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos were shooting 48% from the field and 21% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 50% from the field and 38% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 26-15 rebound edge, but 20 turnovers while Iserlohn had 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, it was the Fraport Skyliners Juniors that buckled down on defense holding Iserlohn to only eight points, while the guests didn´t have that same intensity anymore letting up 20 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t waste anytime getting to work on their comeback going on a 10-0 run to cut the Iserlohn lead to only 55-54. Fossman didn´t have much fortune shooting on the night going 3/10 from the field, but he hit some big shots in the run making a runner and three pointer. The baby twin towers also got to work as Richter made a mid distance shot and Kiel scored inside after getting a quick feed from Richter. Richter and Kiel combined for 30 of the 67 Frankfurt points and even if they have harmony on the court, they don´t have much time being able to practice it. “It is great playing with Johannes, but it could be better. We never train together and only get better together from game to game. I love playing together with him. We would probably be even better together if we practiced more together”, added Paderborn native Niklas Kiel. “Those two big guys had good games. They did a good job rebounding and on second chance opportunites”, stressed Orlan Jackman. “They did a great job attacking boards and getting rebounds. Kiel is so athletic and hard to guard the perimeter while Richter gets guys in great position to score with his passing”, added Jules Akodo. Iserlohn put a small dent into the Frankfurt run with a 4-0 mini run as Rosteck and Jackmon hit free throws to extend the Iserlohn lead to 59-54. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors never gave up, but continued to chip away and fight as Fossman hit a shot which was matched by a Kristopf Schwatz floater as Iserlohn led 61-56. Kiel then made big free throws and American Andrew Bock from Rialto, California finished a beautiful spin move with a lay in as Frankfurt trailed 63-60 in crunch time. After one free throw from Bock, it was Kiel that nailed two big free throws as Frankfurt trailed 64-63. Dahmen then missed an easy lay up and Richter came back making a hook shot which gave Frankfurt the 65-64 lead. After a Kavanaugh miss, it was Kiel who made a free throw for the 66-64 lead. “I was excited having so many free throw chances at the end. I like having that feeling in that important moment”, added Niklas Kiel. Schwarz then missed a shot and Richter made one free throw for the 67-64 lead. Iserlohn had one more chance for Thomas Reuter to be the hero and send the game into overtime, but he missed. “We played poor defense at the start in that 10-0 Frankfurt run. Iserlohn basketball is great defense, but when we play bad defense all goes wrong”, warned Orlan Jackman. “We have been down before as a team and know what it takes to get back into a game. We kept our head up and took it one step at a time. We stuck together, played as a team and got stops”, warned Jules Akodo.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Niklas Kiel with 18 points. Johannes Richter had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists while Jules Akodo had 11 points. The Noma Iserlohn Kangaroos were led by Matt Kavanaugh with 18 points while Orlan Jackman added 14 points. Frankfurt shot 46% from the field and 36% from outside while Iserlohn shot 42% from the field and 17% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebounding duel 36-23, but had 22 turnovers while Iserlohn had 19 turnovers. If the Fraport Skyliner Juniors baby twin towers Johannes Richter and Niklas Kiel will one day mature into twin towers like their predecessors Danilo Barthel and Johannes Voigtman is unknown but the German duo is definitely on a good way. “It is an honor to be called that and Barthel and Voigtman show us how its don