Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev is a pretty low key guy that usually looks very calm and collective and is a guy where one doesn´t really know what his thoughts are on the sideline, but in the team´s opener on the road last weekend in Lich one could of wondered what his thoughts were and in what wrong movie or nightmare he was in as the 40 minutes there must have felt like an eternity. The club lost by 44 points scoring only 37 points as milking a cow on a lonely field in Lich could have cheered him up more than watching that disaster. However the team was very much undermanned as the majority of the key players were still on the island of Crete in a training camp and the German head coach had an average age of 17 on the floor including two 16 year olds. The fate of the Uni Riesen Leipzig wasn´t any better as they were taken apart on the road in Karlsruhe losing by 36 points, but they were also short handed as their two key Americans were missing with Georgia native Brandon Shingles and California native Julian Scott. It also didn´t help their cause that they shot a horrible 2/22 from downtown. Head coach Tuna Isler could have wished for a handful of more Sascha Leutlof´s on his team that night as he was the only bright spot having a nifty night scoring 27 points. Game two was in Frankfurt and both teams had a lot to prove and also were better fortified as Frankfurt had more veterans on board and Leipzig had their two Americans finally cleared to play. However it was the Fraport Skyliners Juniors that had the deeper bench and just more clever play when they needed it as duo Max Merz led the team from the point guard position making good decisions, finishing and then finding Tim Oldenburg on many occasions as he made the put back his middle name on this night getting by the Uni Riesen Leipzig 79-66. The Fraport Sklyinerw won their first game of the season at home and despite many changes in the roster as guys came back after missing the first game showed good team work. “We started off very strong and played well until halftime. In the third quarter we had trouble with their zone defense. Despite having many young guys, I feel that we worked well as a team. The experienced players helped the younger guys and took on responsibility while the young guys came through when they needed to. We still have a lot to work on, but we deserved to win this game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Max Merz. The Uni Riesen Liepzig fell to 0-2 on the season, but new American Brandon Shingles is confident the team will come back. “It was good to play my first Pro B game after coming from the Regionaliga. I got my feet wet and am still learning the league. We didn´t do a good job executing in the first quarter, but adjusted better in the second quarter. However in the second half it showed that we weren´t deep enough to come back, but we will come back in the next game”, stressed Georgia native Brandon Shingles.
The game was pretty even in the first four minutes as both were feeling each other out until the Fraport Skyliners were able to break away on a huge run. Leipzig opened the scoring with a Julian Scott jumper who averaged almost 30ppg last season for TSV Quackenbruck. Frankfurt quickly got the lead as 17 year Konstantin Schubert who had a double double in Lich last weekend made a tip in, Merz a free throw and Oldenburg his first put back of the game courtesy of a no look pass from Merz. Frankfurt held the lead due to the brilliant guard work of Merz and new Skyliner Garai Zeeb who both scored inside. Frankfurt then broke away going on a 12-0 run to lead 22-11 as Frankfurt continued to dominate inside as Leipzig were unable to give any resistance. Merz scored inside and made a three pointer while Lukas Beuschlein finished off a fast break with a lay in after Merz stole the ball and gave him a nifty behind the back pass. Zeeb continued to be his aggressive self finishing on the penetration. Frankfurt then closed out the first quarter with a 7-3 run as their offense just had no slowdown as Merz hit free throws and a lay in and Beuschlein nailed a buzzer beater three as Frankfurt led 29-14 after 10 minutes. “Frankfurt had good ball movement in the first quarter and Max Merz scored 13 points. He did a good job getting into the lane and finding his teammates. You can see he is one of the best players in the Pro B”, warned Fraport Skyliners guard Konstantin Klein. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 65% from the field and 40% from outside while the Uni Riesen Leipzig were shooting 40% from the field and 0% from outside. Frankfurt had the 12-4 rebound edge and four turnovers while Leipzig had six turnovers.
In the second quarter the Uni Riesen Leipzig adjusted better and buckled down on defense keeping the Fraport Skyliners to 12 points, but the home team also were being hesistant or just missing open shots which didn´t help their field goal percentage. For the Uni Riesen Leipzig it was their American Julian Scott and work horse Sascha Leutlof that got their team back on track as the American made buckets and the German drew fouls in their slow come back attempt. Leipzig started off on a 7-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 32-21 with two Scott baskets and Leutloff free throws. Frankfurt kept Leipzig a bit at bay as Oldenburg made a tip in off a Marius Nolte miss and a put back off a Merz feed to extend their lead to 39-23. However the Uni Riesen Leipzig got the needed push at the end closing out the second quarter on a 9-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 41-32. 29 year old veteran Sascha Ahnsehl hit two trey´s to spark their run. “Frankfurt didn´t slow down on offense and didn´t take good care of the ball. Frankfurt also weren´t taking shots when they should of and weren´t talking on defense or rebounding as a team”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 43% from the field and 21% from the three point line while the Uni Riesen Leipzig were shooting 38% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Frankfurt still had the rebound edge 25-17 and eight turnovers while Leipzig had 10 turnovers.
In a soccer game a 2-0 lead usually will stay, but in the game of basketball having a big lead means nothing as it is a game of runs and the third quarter belonged to the Uni Riesen Leipzig as they had their huge run of the game and got right back at the throats of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. Leipzig head coach Tuna Islar must of found the right words in the break as the club came out rejuvenated, fresh and focused and hammered a 15-3 run to suddenly be leading again 47-46. In the run, Leipzig finally started to hit shots on a consistent rate and also got production with until that juncture lukewarm Brandon Shingles and Magnus Heinrich. Scott was a beast inside scoring three times and Ahnsehl also scored from downtown. The one time sound and consistent offense of Frankfurt of the first quarter now was nonexistent as mistakes and turnovers was dominating their defense which allowed the opponent to retake the lead. There were four lead changes in the last few minutes, but at the end of the third quarter, it was Frankfurt that had the lead as they closed out the third with a 6-0 run on Oldenburg, Okeke and Nolte buckets leading 52-49 after 30 minutes. “Sascha Ahnsehl played his butt off. We gave more energy and effort in the third quarter. However I wasn´t as aggressive as I should have been. It wasn´t my day”, stressed Brandon Shingles. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 21% from the parking lot while the Uni Riesen Leipzig were shooting 40% from the field and 36% from the parking lot. Frankfurt still had the rebounding lead 34-29 and 14 turnovers while Leipzig had 17 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners kept their composure and focus of the last minute extending their 6-0 run of the end of the third to a 7-0 run to lead 59-49 and never looked back cruising home to victory. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were sparked by Beuschlein with another timely three pointer, a steal and coast to coast sprint by Merz and another put back by Oldenburg that was set up by a another spectacular behind the back pass from Merz. Being down by 10 points doesn´t mean much and Leipzig knew that and kept chipping and clawing away into the lead and got some big buckets from Heinrich from downtown and Leutloff inside as they trailed only 62-56. However Frankfurt was just too strong and always had an answer when Leipzig was threatening as Schubert and Nolte hit back to back buckets to extend the Frankfurt lead to 66-57. Leipzig had one last gasp of air as Heinrich made a steal and coast to coast lay in cutting the Frankfurt lead to 66-60. However that was as close as Leipzig would get as Frankfurt closed out the game in style on a 13-6 run to win. Frankfurt continued to be unstoppable inside as Zeeb and Nolte scored and Okeke closed out the game with a three. “We made our run in the third, but overall they executed better and Merz led them to the win. We were unable to execute our defensive scheme, but I feel that we worked well as a team and need to continue to work hard and get better and I am sure it will happen”, warned Brandon Shingles. “We were mad after the third quarter. Key to winning the game was that we came back over our defense. We played good offense against their zone. We showed a positive energy tonight and did a good job staying together after being up 20, down by three and winning”, stressed Max Merz. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tim Oldenburg with 18 points and 15 rebounds. Max Merz had 17 points and seven assists. Lukas Beuschlein added 11 points and Garai Zeeb and Marius Nolte had 10 points a piece. The Uni Riesen Leipzig were led by Sascha Leutloff with 18 points. Julian Scott had 15 points and 11 rebounds and Sascha Ahnsehl 13 points and Magnus Heinrich 10 points. Frankfurt shot 44% from the field and 25% from outside while the Uni Riesen Leipzig shot 41% and 31% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 44-36 and had 18 turnovers while Leipzig had 23 turnovers.