One can never truly predict how a basketball game will turn out, but one can always dream what can happen, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and position one team Ehingen supplied an exciting ending in their first contest on the road as the home team looked like the sure winner as German journey man Tobias Jahn scored with three seconds remaining and it seemed like Frankfurt would go home thinking about the last seconds of the 76-75 loss in their 3 hour drive, but instead there was a basketball god in the schwaben land tipping his wan in the direction of head coach Eric Detlev and company as German Christopher Wolf was hit with a foul on 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel with one second remaining. Kiel stepped up to the free throw line and with full concentration as if he had been in the league for 10 years sunk both shots giving Frankfurt the big 77-76 win on the road. Last weekend Travis Thompson had one of those nights where he didn´t see the ocean, but space when looking at the rim as he sunk 36 points and 10 three pointers helping the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to a huge 95-57 victory. Now back to the dreaming. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors and Team Ehingen Urspring were playing the last game of 2015 and a perfect pre Christmas basketball offering for the fans would have been a combination of another tight last second win coupled with another red hot shooting evening from Alaska native Travis Thompson. One can always dream, but in reality the fans in the BCM saw a pre-Christmas offensive showdown as defense took a back seat and the players of both teams were regularly handing out Christmas gifts in terms of beautiful shots and plays, but in crunch time Ehingen was the smarter team, executed better and had more energy as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had to play with a depleted roster as only eight players played. “If the home team gives up 96 points then one shouldn´t be surprised about losing. It was a wide open game with a lot of energy from both teams, but neither played consequent defense throughout the game. We made too many easy mistakes on defense and didn´t have discipline. We had a thin roster, but we still could of won”, warned Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev. For Team Ehingen who came into the game in first place and a 9-2 record had a tough battle and could never shake the Fraport Skyliners Juniors who stayed with the deeper team throughout the game. “The first game against Frankfurt was a heartbreaking loss with the Niklas Kiel free throws at the end and we wanted to come back and play with a lot of energy. Frankfurt is a very well coached team and played a very good first half. The third quarter went back and forth, but we had that little extra in the fourth and things just went our way”, stressed Team Ehingen forward Daniel Berger. Frankfurt didn´t play well for 37 minutes, but came into the fourth quarter not being able to handle Team Ehingen the way they wanted. “We played well for 30 minutes. We gave up 30 points in the fourth. That can´t happen. We didn´t defend well and get enough stops”, added Fraport Skyliners forward Stefan Ilzhoefer.
Team Ehingen jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors right off the bat taking a quick 8-2 lead. Their offense was clicking as Oregon native Daniel Berger connected on a pull up jumper, ex Hanau forward Tobias Jahn scored inside getting the quick feed from Maximilian Eisele and the 2014 NBBL finalist then nailed a three pointer. Frankfurt had problems adjusting to the Ehingen zone, but then found a hang of it as last weeks hero Mr 10 three point sniper Travis Thompson connected on a trey and ex Bamberg center Johannes Richter made a hook shot cutting the Team Ehingen lead to 8-7. Frankfurt had completed a 5-0 run, but would continue to execute in fine fashion going on a 7-3 run to get their first lead of the game at 14-11. After a Jahn three pointer, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to play great inside out basketball as the two bigs Richter and Oldenburg harmonized well both scoring and Ilzhoefer dropped a three pointer. However basketball wouldn´t be basketball if there weren´t runs as Team Ehingen slapped Frankfurt in the face with a 7-0 run to gather the lead back at 18-14. In the run, Team Ehingen got support from Eisele and 208cm forward Noah Aghgas with buckets inside and 37 year old Radivoj Tomasevic who played 25 Beko BBL games with Tuebingen dropped a three pointer. The game was even now as Richter made a lay in and ex TV Langen forward Kevin Luyeye made a tip in at the buzzer as Team Ehingen led 20-18. “We had a good rhythm on offense with good ball movement and were hitting open shots. Richter and Oldenburg had good high low play”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors forward Niklas Kiel. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 67% from the field and 40% from outside while Team Ehingen were shooting 50% from the field and 43% from outside. Team Ehingen had the 8-4 rebound edge and both teams had three turnovers a piece.
In the second quarter, the game remained wide open as no team led by more as six points, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors did lead 47-45 at halftime. Fraport Skyliners Junior Lenny Okeke got the first smiles of the second quarter hitting a big bank shot from outside where one had to wonder if he had planned it that way as Frankfurt led 21-20. Then came the lightening strike from ex Bayreuth guard Radivoj Tomasevic who nailed two consecutive three pointers to give Team Ehingen the 26-21 lead. Despite getting that three point explosion from Team Ehingen, it didn´t startle Frankfurt as they returned with a 12-2 run to give Frankfurt the 31-28 advantage as Richter dropped a three pointer and Ilzhoefer gave his team some serious instant energy scoring in bunches with a jumper, lay in and bomb from downtown. Jahn gave Team Ehingen some instant energy with two buckets while Thompson made a floater and Daniel Berger made an off balance shot tying the game at 34-34. Runs kept going back and forth as Frankfurt extended their lead to 42-36 with a 8-2 run as Tim Oldenburg also showed his knack for being able to score in bunches with a put back and runner and Thompson fought to get open and drilled home a trey. Frankfurt kept the lead as Team Ehingen were unable to get the lead back. Frankfurt got important production from Thompson and Garai Zeeb with buckets while Team Ehingen got another clutch three pointer from Eisele and floater from Devon Moore. “We did a good job staying with Ehingen despite having a thinner roster. We just know the plays well and are always able to fill the cracks with players coming and out. Our pick and roll defense was horrible. They got too many easy baskets”, added Paderborn native Niklas Kiel. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 59% from the field and 46% from the three point line while Team Ehingen shot 57% from the field and 46% from the three point line. Both teams had 14 rebounds and Frankfurt had five turnovers and Team Ehingen had six turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors held on to the lead despite Team Ehingen tying the game twice. It seemed like there were minutes where no team missed as each team would come down the floor execute to perfection as defense was off the menu and offense was the main entrée. Oldenburg got going early in the third quarter making back to back buckets with his bread and butter the mid distance jumper and a hook shot. Jahn made an offensive rebound and put back and Daniel Berger made a jumper, but Frankfurt still led 51-49. Ilzhoefer then made a runner as the ball circled around the rim for a few seconds before tricking into the net. However Team Ehingen went on a mini 4-0 run as Devon Moore who played at James Madison(NCAA) made free throws and Daniel Berger made a jumper to tie the game at 53-53. Richter then made a hard one handed dunk and Jahn a step back jumper as the game was tied again at 55-55. Frankfurt then upped their intensity a bit going on a 10-4 run to lead 65-59. In the run Frankfurt dominated with their big men play as Richter hit a trey and scored inside while there was no stopping Oldenburg as he made an athletic bucket flying in from the wing and Thompson connected on a runner. However Frankfurt was unable to hold the momentum as Team Ehingen closed out the third quarter with a crushing 7-1 run to lead 66-65 after 30 minutes. In the run it was Aghas who led the charge and carried the energy until the end making a violent two handed stuff while Daniel Berger and Tomasevic made free throws while Frankfurt hurried their offense a bit too much taking difficult shots which allowed the opponent to force the lead back. “We continued not too defend well and that Aghas dunk gave them energy to close out the quarter with the lead”, added ex Ludwigsburg forward Stefan Ilzhoefer. “We pushed the ball more at the end and Aghas propelled us with energy. When we made shots, the game went easier for us”, stressed ex Utah State(NCAA) forward Daniel Berger. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 55% from the field and 39% from the parking lot while team Ehingen was shooting 53% from the field and 38% from the parking lot. Team Ehingen had the 23-22 rebound edge, but had seven turnovers while Frankfurt had six turnovers.
Both teams continued to battle as if it was there last game ever as there were 8 lead changes, but it was Daniel Berger in crunch time that took matters into his own hands making big energy buckets where Frankfurt had no answer for on offense anymore. German Konstantin Schubert who had had some misfortune in the first half with an air ball, but started off the third quarter with a lay in inside and free throw. Travis Thompson added on to the lead using his quickness and scoring inside as Frankfurt led 70-66. Then it was Team Ehingen guard Zaire Thompson who played 8 games for Fordham(NCAA) last season hitting a mid distance shot. Then Team Ehingen was hit with their fourth team foul at the 8.28 minute mark. Then both teams traded 8 lead changes as Jahn made a free throw, Schubert retrieved the lead back for Frankfurt with a hard penetration and basket, then it was Tomasevic with free throws and the team Ehingen lead at 74-73 until it was Oldenburg who made a mid distance shot from 20 feet giving Frankfurt the 75-74 lead back. After one Richter free throw, it was Daniel Berger who gave Team Ehingen the lead back at 77-76. Then it was Garai Zeeb nailing free throws as Frankfurt led 78-77 until Tomasevic hit his fourth and last trey of the night giving Team Ehingen the 80-78 lead. Richter tied the game at 80-80 with an offensive rebound and put back and Tomasevic made a left handed lay in for the 82-80 advantage. Thompson tied the game at 82-82 with free throws. Then came the turning point of the game as Team Ehingen went on a 6-0 run to lead 88-82 and never looked back. The run was supported by a Moore pull up jumper and Daniel Berger free throws and a runner in traffic. Team Ehingen maintained a good rhythm on offense and worked at getting good shots while on defense increased the depth of their help side defense forcing the Frankfurt team to tough shots that resulted in misses. However Frankfurt still had energy as Thompson nailed a three pointer and Richter made a three point bank shot to cut the Team Ehingen lead to 90-88. However then came the key possession of the game with 40 seconds to go, Tomasevic made the perfect veteran play letting the shot clock go down, but waiting until he had the perfect option and found that with Daniel Berger with the back door cut feeding him for the easy bucket and 92-88 lead. This was the winning basket and Berger finished with 23 points after a slow start. “I got into early foul problems in the first half. I wanted to be more aggressive in the second half. I made buckets and got to the free throw line. It felt good”, added Daniel Berger. After Thompson made free throws to cut the Team Ehingen lead to 92-90, the guests closed out the game with free throws from Daniel Berger and Tomasevic. “Maybe Frankfurt was a bit tired. Zeeb played very much and we took advantage of our strength and played physical. We penetrated and hit shots in the last four minutes. It comes down to who makes the plays at the end and we did that”, stressed Daniel Berger. “It was tough at the end with our short rotation. We gave it our all. They were very physical and got key offensive rebounds and Berger had a good finish”, added Stefan Ilzhoefer. “Our experience helped at the end and we kept them off the three point line”, added ex TV Langen forward Tobias Jahn. Team Ehingen were led by Daniel Berger with 23 points. Radivoi Tomasevic added 20 points and Tobias Jahn had 18 points and Devon Moore added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Johannes Richter with 23 points, 11 rebounds and four dimes. Travis Thompson contributed 22 points. Tim Oldenburg added 18 points and Stefan Ilzhoefer 13 points. Team Ehingen shot 54% from the field and 38% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 54% from the field and 38% from outside. Both teams had 29 rebounds. Frankfurt had 10 turnovers and team Ehingen eight turnovers.