The one guy Martinis Woody hails from South Carolina and the other guy Jermale Jones from Alabama and in the States the south is as big as many countries in Europe put together and diverse as accents are in Germany, but in Germany the area called Hessen is about as big as the State of South Carlolina and here it is a lot easier to meet both guys at some sporting event especially in Frankfurt. For the experienced 201cm power forward Martinis Woody, it takes him 20 minutes to drive 23 kilometers to the Fraport arena while it takes Jermale Jones the 28 year old 186cm guard from Lich about an hour to travel 60 kilometers. These two Americans who have played in Germany the last years have made it an obligation to get to Frankfurt whenever they can within their schedule to watch Beko BBL team the Fraport Skyliners and have seen each other more than any other opponents in the German pro B this season off the court as one can find them sitting in the first row often alongside Fraport Skyliners juniors like Kyle Fossman and Andrew Bock catching the action. Missing this battle was also not an option for close friend Quantez Robertson and teammates of the Fraport Skyliners Sean Armand and Justin Cobbs who got off the plane from Siberia to come to Langen to watch them duel. However this weekend they met again, but on the floor in do or die Pro B play downs as both had split the season series as both teams had won their home games. Both guys had huge games in the first Langen contest as Woody had 20 points and 16 rebounds while Jones had 26 points and they battled again for the third time and after three games Jones has the 2-1 season lead against Woody as the Licher Basket Baeren Squeezed out a 61-60 nail bitter. “We needed the win tonight. We knew that we had to come out with a lot of energy to match theirs as they were better team in the first half. However we came out in the third quarter had less turnovers and got buckets inside. At the end we kept fighting which gave us the win. When Woody and I play against each other it goes deeper than basketball. We may not be friends on the court, but when the game is over it is like family between us. We found that connection in Bernau when we were teammates some years ago”, stressed Lich guard Jermale Jones. “We have to keep our heads up now. We played well for 40 minutes. We have five games left and still have to go to Lich. Jones and I do some trash talk on the court and aren´t friends on the court, but at the end we always shake hands. It is always a pleasure to play against him”, added TV Langen forward Martinis Woody.
The Licher Basket Baeren jumped all over TV Langen in the first minutes taking a 7-3 lead as German Daniel Dorr scored and Alabama native Jermale Jones hit free throws and dropped a huge three pointer. However TV Langen forward Nick Freer scored in bunches giving his team their first lead 8-7. The first quarter would remain very tight as the game was a real hard fought play down type of game where no team wanted to give any unnecessary gifts to the other. Lich continued to get early production from many different faces as New Zealand guard Jarrod Kenny and Daniel Dorr hit jumpers and ex BG Goettingen center Malte Herwig scored inside as TV Langen trailed 13-10. The game continued to change hands as quickly as Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson can dribble the ball from one hand to the other when he is making his opponent dizzy as TV Langen cruised out on a 6-0 run to retake the lead 16-13. In the run it was ex Bernau forward Woody who found some daylight scoring twice inside and German Gianluca Raebel made a steal from Jones at center court and fed Freer on the fast break for a massive two handed dunk. The last seconds of the first quarter was pure dramatic as the Licher Basket Baeren matched TV Langen with their own 6-0 run as Herwig connected on a free throw and Jones then made a steal and went coast to coast for the lay in and then nailed a buzzer beater from between his own three point line and center court with a bank shot from Frankfurt airportas Lich led 19-16 after ten minutes. “Well we practice shots like that every day and I had my chance at shooting one in the game and it was successful. I guess all that practicing paid off when we needed it”, stressed Jermale Jones. “The ball didn´t seem to be under control as it seemed to be pumped up too much. Both teams were showing much intensity on defense. It was a tight game and then Jones ended the first quarter with that amazing buzzer beater”, added Fraport Skyliners U-14 head coach Igor Starcevic. The Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 47% from the field and 40% from outside while TV Langen was shooting 54% from the field and 25% from outside. TV Langen had the 8-7 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Lich had four turnovers.
TV Langen brought the needed energy from the get go in the second quarter going on a 7-2 run to recapture the 23-22 lead back as 20 year old German Tom Alte was all over the court taking a page out of Fraport Skyliners Sean Armand´s scoring book scoring three buckets in a row including two with his left hand and also showing his lightening intensity on defense registering a steal and blocking Jones. The energy that Alte brought to the court also infected his teammates to up their intensity as they wouldn´t relinquish the lead anymore in the second quarter. Alte would score his fourth bucket in a row making an off balance shot. After a Kenny offensive rebound and put back it was ex Fraport Skyliner Junior Benedikt Nicolay who played 5 Beko BBL games made a steal and went coast to coast making a superb spin move around Elijah Allen and getting the lay in as TV Langen kept their neck ahead 27-24. TV Langen continued to annoy Lich on defense as Woody made a steal and Alte blocked Eric Curth. Freer then hauled in a lob pass from Maxim Schneider for the easy lay in as TV Langen led 29-24. Kenny continued to keep Lich in the game with a lay in. However TV Langen went into halftime with the momentum as Alte continued to be the number one scoring option hitting free throws and Schneider hit a last second shot from downtown Langen as TV Langen led 33-26 at the break. “TV Langen was playing with a lot of confidence and Lich weren´t hitting anything from outside. Tom Alte gave TV Langen a lot of energy taking advantage of the mismatch against Malte Herwig”, stressed Igor Starcevic. TV Langen was shooting 48% from the field and 25% from the three point line while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 31% from the field and 22% from the three point line. Lich had the 21-17 rebound edge and eight turnovers while TV Langen had seven turnovers.
In the third quarter TV Langen was able to get their biggest lead of 10 points, but gave up a 11-5 run to let the Licher Basket Baeren back into the game trailing only 45-41. Woody started off the third quarter hitting a jumper from the free throw line as he was left alone. Herwig then scored inside as Lich big man Dorr made the extra pass. TV Langen then got to the free throw line three times as Woody hit one free throw and Freer hit four free throws as TV Langen had their biggest lead of the game at 40-30. However the Licher Basket Baeren closed out the third quarter with a 11-5 run to trail only 45-41. 23 year old German Eric Curth scored five unanswered points as the ex Hedielberg player hit a jumper and three pointer as Lich trailed 40-35. TV Langen went on a mini 4-0 run as Alte dropped free throws and Nick Freer put down a nasty one handed dunk as TV Langen led 44-35. However Ohio native Elijah Allen brought the needed energy at the end to lead Lich on a 6-1 run to end the third quarter. Allen showed his knack of bringing his inside out game as he hit a runner and lay in and Dorr connected on a jumper. “Turnovers and poor execution brought Lich back into the game”, stressed Martinis Woody. “We increased our intensity and never gave up. We didn´t take the best shots, but executed what we needed to”, commented Jermale Jones. TV Langen was shooting 40% from the field and 14% from the parking lot while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 36% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Lich had the slight 29-28 rebound edge and both teams had 11 turnovers.
The fourth quarter belonged to the Licher Basket Baeren as they cruised out on a 11-2 run to retake the lead and would only trail TV Langen one more time even if the home team could have brought the game into overtime had they connected on a three pointer on the last play. Tom Alte got TV Langen on the board first with free throws as TV Langen led 47-41. Lich now really poured it on not letting TV Langen get a real chance of getting a breath as they just executed on offense. Curth started the run with an offensive rebound and fade away and then it was Allen who kept his intensity of the third quarter and scored in bunches as he gave Lich the 49-47 advantage. Then it was Jones to add salt to the wound with a big three pointer as TV Langen trailed 52-47. However TV Langen kept chipping away at the Lich lead going on a 7-1 run to retake the lead for the last time at 54-53. In the run TV Langen got buckets from Freer and Woody. A Herwig runner and Jones free throws gave Lich the 57-54 lead and they would never look back. TV Langen forward Kevin Luyeye scored inside as TV Langen trailed 57-56, but then it was Jones again icing free throws for the 59-56 lead. Nicolay and Klassen then traded free throws as the Licher Basket Baeren led 61-58. TV Langen had 15 seconds remaining to force the game into overtime with a three pointer, but instead got a two point jumper from Tom Alte ending the game at 61-60. “We wanted to take a three, but it just didn´t happen. We played better as a team today than usual and played good defense for 37 minutes”, added Martinis Woody. “We matched their intensity in the fourth quarter, pushed the ball and took what their defense gave us. Allen gave everyone on the floor and bench energy. On the last play we switched and TV Langen seemed not to know what to do. It seemed like a miscommunication on their part”, added Jermale Jones. The Licher Basket Baeren were led by Jermale Jones with 17 points. Malte Herwig added 12 points and Elijah Allen chipped in with 10 points. TV Langen was led by Nick Freer with 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. Tom Alte added 17 points. The Licher Basket Baeren shot 38% from the field and 22% from outside while TV Langen shot 38% from the field and 11% from outside. TV Langen won the rebounding duel 36-34, but had 16 turnovers while Lich had 13 turnovers.