The car ride from Lich to Frankfurt may be 57km and when driven at a comfortable pace can be reached in 45 minutes, but after your team loses 80-37, that so called short route could feel like an eternity as if your lost somewhere in the countryside and have no navigation system to get saved. For Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev seeing his club get whipped as fiercely as when hard rain comes down on your wind shield probably wasn´t an easy sight, but he had a totally crippled line up as most of his veteran players were in a training camp with the beko BBL team or out and he had an average roster age of 17 years where the most experienced were ex Wurzburg guard shooting specialist Lukas Beuschlein and ex TV Langen guard Jona Hoffman and an array of kids that are still teenagers and also from the JBBL program like Isaah Negron. Kids were playing against full grown men like Daniel Dorr or Viktor Klassen. All in all it was a huge learning experience and it was the first game of the season and everyone was thrown into cold water so you couldn´t really expect any wonders. The lone bright spot was 17 year old 195cm forward Konstantin Schubert who had his break out game with 12 points and 10 rebounds. With 10 weeks gone by, both teams had time to develop and get better and the Fraport Skyliners had no last second training camp, but most players were on board to help get revenge against the Licher Basket Baeren. Except for five minutes in the third quarter where Frankfurt had to figure out the 1-3-1 zone of Lich, they had total control of the game which was sparked by the 36 points of Travis Thompson who nailed 10 three pointers seeing something way bigger than the ocean space and powering the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to a crushing 95-57 win. ”I had many open looks and that had to do with moving without the ball and finding me off the pick and roll. I try not to think too much during a game, because I tend to overthink. I didn´t try to force shots, but just play with the flow. This was a unique game, but I don´t remember ever taking 20 shots in a game. I got my rhythm which got my self confidence going which was helpful”, stated Alaska native Travis Thompson. Thompson teammate Gara Zeeb had some humor after the win stating that contested shots were hardly on his menu during the game. “We figured out quickly how to play against their zone/man defense, Thompson hit shots and everyone played their role. Every team tries to take Thompson out of the game and we had very good ball movement and we know he can shit shots even if it felt like most of his shots were open looks”, smiled Fraport Skyliner Gara Zeeb. The Licher Baskets Baeren knew that this would be a totally different contest then their easy 80-37 victory in Lich and that is exactly what they got as they got off the wrong side of the bed and had to play catch up basketball all night long and failed. “We went into the game with no energy and effort and Frankfurt got control of the rebound and we were no challenge for them. When we played man to man they hit shots, and when we went to zone they hit shots and when they missed they got the rebounds. After Thompson hit his first couple of shots, he got confidence and then you think you can hit anything and he played a good game”, stressed Lich forward Elijah Allen.
The Licher Basket Baeren couldn´t connect on their first three possessions as they coughed up the ball twice while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors took an early 5-0 lead as 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel scored inside and ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb nailed a three pointer. Lich finally got on the board on their fourth possession as 29 year old 204cm work horse Marian Schick scored inside and made a free throw to cut the Frankfurt lead to 5-3. Frankfurt then rolled out on a 10-0 run to extend their lead to 15-3. In the run the Travis Thompson fireworks commenced as he hit twice, ex Bamberg center Johannes Richter made a two handed dunk and Kiel made free throws. Frankfurt was playing a sound inside out game, were establishing a high shooting percentage and inside game while Lich had no rhythm yet. After Spaniard Nil Angelats who played 6 Endesa games for Manresa made a step back shot, Frankfurt started another gigantic run of 17-3 to extend their lead to 32-9 after one quarter. In the next big run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were sparked by three more trey´s by Travis Thompson, a lay in by Richter and two buckets by German Tim Oldenburg. “Frankfurt´s good play had to be credited to the coaching as the team was well prepared. Frankfurt defended well and took everything away from them, had more weapons and their offense was working well”, expressed Fraport Skyliner guard Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 63% from the field and 67% from outside while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 12% from the field and 17% from outside. Frankfurt had the 17-6 rebound edge and both teams had three turnovers a piece.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors weren´t as explosive as in the first quarter, but on account of their big lead were still scoring on a consistent rate and could go into halftime with the very comfortable 52-23 lead as they were still defending with passion instead of just going through the motions. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had another potent start going on a 8-3 run to extend their lead to 40-12. In the run, they stayed clear of the parking lot, but did heavy damage inside as ex Ludwigsburg wing player Stefan Ilzhoefer found some room flying in from the corner and finishing with a hard two handed dunk which had Fraport Skyliner players Mike Morrison and Jordan Theodore flying up form their seats in joy, Thompson scored his only field goal away from the down town area making a lay up, Ilzhoefer hit a jumper and Richter scored over Angelats taking advantage of the mis match while Lich got a lay in and free throw from Ohio native Lamar Mallory. Despite hitting almost everything, Lich continued to play zone while they had a little more luck on offense making some shots, but not on a consistent rate. Lich then went on a rare run which resulted in 6 unanswered points as Angelats made a pull up jumper and Mallory scored in bunches inside and with a mid distance as Frankfurt still led 40-18. Frankfurt closed out the second quarter with a 12-5 run as Kiel and Oldenburg made free throws, Konstantin Schubert caught an Oldenburg air ball and made the lay in and Thompson added on to three point shooting festival nailing two more shots while Lich got needed production from Angelats from outside and Schick from inside. “One could see that Thompson can stroke the ball and Ilzhoefer gave the team energy at the start with the dunk. Lich had to play zone, because they can´t defend Frankfurt man to man”, added New York native Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 57% from the three point line while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 24% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 28-15 rebound advantage and both teams had seven turnovers a piece.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a little lull, but they regrouped, made adjustments and were able to regain their big lead in the last five minutes. The Licher Basket Baeren had their best moment of the contest going on a 10-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 54-33. In the run Lich was led by ex Leipzig forward Marian Schick that got some damage going inside making free throws and two buckets. Allen and Jan Moritz Overdick from Hofheim also contributed in the scoring department. Basketball is routinely known as a game of runs and what Lich could do so could Frankfurt as they found their rhythm again closing out the third quarter with a tough 14-5 run to extend their lead to 68-38. The run was started by a Konstantin Schubert trey, Richter offensive rebound and hook shot put back and Thompson free throw after Lich head coach Joan Rallo Fernandez had got hit with a technical foul. Lich got some points from Angelats and Mallory, but Frankfurt just continued to hit Lich with their so many offensive weapons as Thompson nailed three pointers eight and nine and Zeeb and Oldenburg also chipped in with baskets inside as Frankfurt led 70-39 after 30 minutes. “Coach wanted us to come out competiting and playing with energy. They just started to miss shots and we hit some at the start. It was nothing special really but we did change our zone stopping the middle penetration, but we couldn´t help on wing or backside. Frankfurt did a good job attacking the zone after our adjustment”, stressed Elijah Allen. “We came out flat in the third taking a break and not controlling the tempo. We came back and there was a time when after giving up points, we were unable to get stops. However we were able to stop their run and make our own showing our progression”, added Fraport Skyliner Junior guard Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 47% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while the Licher Basket Baeren were shooting 30% from the field and 18% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the overwhelming 40-23 rebound lead and both teams had 11 turnovers a piece.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors withheld their potent offense and extended their lead to as much as 38 points as seeing what Travis Thompson would do and how many points he would end the game with seemed most interesting. Nil Angelats got some scoring early making a big defensive play getting in the passing lane and stealing a pass intended for Thompson and going coast to coast for the easy bucket and then nailing a trey. Frankfurt kept getting easy buckets and that immaculate ball movement was like a Swiss clock as Tim Oldenburg scored in bunches getting fed perfectly from Richter and Zeeb for easy baskets as Frankfurt led 83-48. With time winding down, Thompson was still in single digits with his three pointers made, but after a Schick offensive rebound and put back, Thompson finally made that tenth three pointer extending the Frankfurt lead to 88-52. In the last minute Richter got two more easy baskets inside as that was a sore spot for Lich all day as they just couldn´t match up or contain the Frankfurt inside game. 17 year old German Maximilian Mayer got the last Lich points of the game with a fade away shot. “Defense was our biggest strength today. When we play defense, it gives us an outlet to push the ball and our defense creates our offense”, warned Travis Thompson. “The lesson we learned is that when we are down we have to stay positive. We will regroup in practice and be ready for our next opponent”, stressed Ohio native Elijath Allen. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 36 points. Johannes Richter added 18 points and eight rebounds and Tim Oldenburg chipped in with 17 points. The Licher Basket Baeren were led by Nil Angelats and Marian Schick with 18 points a piece and Lamar Mallory had 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 49% from the field and 40% from outside while the Licher Basket Baeren shot 31% from the field and 15% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 51-34 and each team had 14 turnovers a piece.