32 months or 2 years and eight months may seem like an eternity for a person living life in a jail cell, but this period of time in basketball terms can also be seen as a very long time as each season is filled with many normal events, exciting times or very special moments so not having experienced the famous basketball Hessen derby between the Fraport Skyliners and the five time BBL champion Giessen 46ers in this time has been an event that has been dearly missed. Having to move down to the German Pro A in 2013 was for many hard core Giessen fans a tragedy and horror experience like it may be for the most staunch George Clooney fans having to refrain from watching the comical Nespresso commercials, but in reality it was really a positive act in disguise as the team got a new identity as it was led back to the Beko BBL from new head coach Denis Wucherer. They have built on their strong team chemistry over this time and may be in a position now that they never would have been had they remained in the league tip toeing near the end of the standings season after season. The last time that these two club´s faced off against each other it was a spring evening in April 2013 where the Fraport Skyliners annihilated the Giessen 46ers 95-57 as Giessen had a completely ripped roster as they played with 8 Germans and a few imports as the club money woes had increased and two players with Ryan Brooks and Laquan Prowell had fled to Frankfurt in mid -season. Current players on the roster now that played then were Quantez Robertson, Johannes Voigtmann, Konstantin Klein and Max Merz breathed his first BBL minutes. The ex Giessen players that had made the trek down to Frankfurt and another ex player with Zach Peacock combined for 59 points to do in their ex team and give a last present before the team moved down. It was a long wait, but both teams finally met again as the sixth placed Fraport Skyliners who had a record of 8-4 and came off a very convincing win in Europe Cup action keeping their 7 game winning streak alive creaming Swedish team Sodertalje Kings 95-64 where their offense was clicking again like a fine tuned Formula One car met the 10th placed Giessen 46ers who had a 5-7 record and were reeling off a 87-61 blowout loss against FC Bayern Munich. Before an almost full house 0f 4,940 patrons, the Fraport Skyliners played an all-around very strong defensive game, but their potent offense from their last Europe Cup win against Swedish team Sodertalje where they smacked the opponent for 95 points was somewhere in between hiding in Copenhagen, Denmark as it just wasn´t there, but was just good enough to win 66-55. “If we hadn´t played defense so well, we wouldn´t have won. Our good rebounding was key as well as many second chances. We didn´t shoot well, but compensated it for our good defense. Giessen switched a lot taking us out of our offense which led us to more 1-1 play. We had way too many turnovers, but our rebounding and hustle plays led us to the win”, stressed German national player Johannes Voigtmann who finished with 7 points and eight boards. The Giessen 46ers gave it a big fight and like Frankurt defended very well, but just had no consistency on offense and couldn´t hit timely shots down the stretch. “Rebounding was the key as they outrebounded us by 20 meaning they got 10 shots more and won by 11. It was an ugly game. We defended very well, but it was one of those games where shots weren´t falling for neither team”, added ex Rent4Office guard Braydon Hobbs. Going into the game Ingelwood, New Jersey native Jordan Theodore was doubtful because of a hamstring injury, but then all of a sudden he was on the court. Theodore being on the court and playing wasn´t by free choice, but because he had to. “My rehab is going well, but I wasn´t supposed to play, but the team needed me. Konstantin Klein was sick so I had to play. I couldn´t really do anything on offense. I hadn´t practiced since the Berlin game and was exhausted. I think that rebounding was the key. Giessen defended well and got us out of our sets. We got stops when we needed to and we have to stick to what we do well and that is move the ball. Giessen didn´t let us do that. I am just happy that we got the win”, stressed ex Seton hall guard Jordan Theodore.
The game quickly turned into a hard fought game where the intensity was very high for both teams. Aggressive defense was on the menu of both clubs right from the start as a lackadaisical stroll through the garden it was not, but a game where both teams had to work very hard for getting good shots. The Fraport Skyliners got on the scoreboard first as Frankfurt showcased their controlled offense as Voigtmann operated out of the post whipping the ball to Illinois native John Little who penetrated in from the wing and hit the floater. Giessen countered with Nigeria native Suleiman Braimoh connecting with an open jumper. Both teams were trying to get in rhythm on offense and Frankfurt did first going on a 6-2 run to lead 9-4. In the run, it was Cincinnati native Quantez Robertson who became a father for the second time last week found his shooting touch early dropping a step back trey over Cameron Wells, Voigtmann jammed home a put back off the Aaron Doornekamp miss and Robertson made a lay in while Hobbs hit a runner. Giessen then stopped the Frankfurt run with their own 5-0 run to dead lock the game at 9-9 as Hobbs kept them in the game with timely shooting hitting a three and ex Rice(NCAA) forward Braimoh made a lay in on transition. Despite Frankfurt having a few lapses on defense, they were able to close out the first quarter with a 10-2 run to lead 19-11 as they had the overall better offense that had many more options to work from than what Giessen got from the Frankfurt defense. In the Frankfurt run, they got scoring production from 5 guys as sharing the ball and executing reappeared back on the menu after having some ups and downs in the first 6 minutes. Robertson started the run with a hard two handed dunk as Voigtmann found him back door, The German big man than sunk a three pointer, young German Stefan Ilzhoefer who had been battling injuries for two years found much playing time due to the absence of Klein nailed a tough off balance bank shot and Theodore saved the best for last for Beko BBL showtime leading the charge on the fast break and making the perfect behind the back pass to the trailer Mike Morrison as he made a nasty two handed dunk to send the Fraport arena into a frenzy. “Frankfurt played unselfish on offense as they don´t care who scores. They did a good job waiting until the end of the shot clock and had good ball movement”, added ex TV Langen center Martinis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 25% from outside while Giessen was shooting 33% from the field and 17% from outside. Frankfurt had the 11-7 rebound edge and three turnovers while Giessen had 5 turnovers.
In the second quarter, The Fraport Skyliners played their best basketball as they had their biggest lead of 15 points as their offense was clicking and their defense was driving Giessen crazy as they couldn´t find any rhythm whatsoever. The Fraport Skyliners jumped on Giessen quickly with a 6-0 run started by Jordan Theodore who got the team some energy with fast break points and a free throw. Doornekamp then netted a trey off the fast break as Frankfurt extended their lead to 25-11. Frankfurt was playing nonstop defense just seemingly being all over the court, anticipating Giessen´s every next move as if they had seen their play book, getting in the passing lanes, making deflections and just making offensive life for Giessen very difficult. Then came some instant offense as both teams traded three pointers as Robertson, ex Bamberg guard Karsten Tadda, Heidelberg native Danilo Barthel, Braimoh and Doornekamp all sunk three pointers and Frankfurt still had the very comfortable advantage at 34-19. Frankfurt got a bit sloppy at the end losing concentration and letting the Giessen 46ers crawl into halftime with a 5-2run to trail 36-24. Braimoh converted on the screen and roll with Hobbs and then blocked Morrison inside giving his team the needed energy at that juncture. Morrison made a tip in off a Theodore miss and ex Kirchheim Knight Benjamin Lischka nailed free throws. “Giessen was all over the place on offense because Frankfurt was very aggressive smacking at the ball. Giessen panicked and didn´t let the game come to them. Frankfurt lost focus at the end as some starters had foul problems. Robertson really stepped up at the point guard position and did what a captain should”, added South Carolina native Martinis Woody. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 40% from the field and 40% from the three point line while the Giessen 46ers were shooting 33% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 23-16 rebound edge and seven turnovers while Giessen had 11 turnovers.
In the third quarter, what could have become a 20 point lead for the Fraport Skyliners turned into only a seven point lead as they allowed the Giessen 46ers back into the game. Giessen came into the third quarter more aggressive going on a 7-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 38-31. In the run, Giessen got production from three different players as Braimoh nailed a three pointer, Cuban Yorman Polas a turn-around jumper and ex Citadel(NCAA) guard Cameron Wells a step back jumper. For the first time in the game the Giessen offense was flowing as it was more stable and patient instead of hectic. Gordon Herbert took a time out and Frankfurt reappeared back on the court and answered with a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 44-31. In the run, Frankfurt got buckets from Robertson who drove and muscled home two points, Barthel hit free throws and Voigtmann nailed his bread and butter 20 footer. However Frankfurt was unable to keep their consistency as a combination of the annoying aggressive Giessen defense and bad decisions of Frankfurt helped propel Giessen on an unexpected 12-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 47-43 as the Giessen fan corner got louder and louder. In the run, Giessen let good defense spark their offense as Ohio native Hobbs executed on two three pointers, Tadda used the advantage of the Frankfurt fifth team foul at the 3,33 minute mark with free throws and ex Bamberg center Gabriel Olaseni played pick and roll with Tadda making the lay in. However Frankfurt didn´t allow Giessen to get any further as they found some offense in the last few minutes to lead 53-46 after 30 minutes. Theodore and Little connected on free throws and Theodore hit a runner at the end. “The start of the third was good for us as we hit our first three shots which was something new in this game. This opened up the floor for us and things offensively became more easy for us. We trapped better on the ball and Frankfurt didn´t make shots that the normally would”, stressed Giessen 46er guard Braydon Hobbs. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 38% from the field and 39% from the parking lot while the Giessen 46ers were shooting 42% from the field and 32% from the parking lot. Frankfurt led the rebound duel 32-21 and had 12 turnovers while Giessen had 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners were able to extend to their lead as the Giessen 46ers had their chances, but couldn´t find consistency with their shooting. The Fraport Skyliners sealed the win in the first few minutes taking advantage of the Giessen brick fest going on a 8-0 run to extend their lead to 61-46 as the club got back to back three pointers from Theodore and Barthel and Morrison made a two handed dunk. Despite Frankfurt reaching the 5 team foul limit at 4.45, Giessen couldn´t take advantage of this early quarter luxury either. Giessen did go on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 61-51 as Wells made free throws and Polas dropped a three pointer. However then both teams just missed shot after shot as Giessen got their chances, but just couldn´t execute for points. Frankfurt then got real sloppy as they got a 5 second violation, but Tadda then coughed up the ball missing another opportunity. Frankfurt continued to be without points as Giessen was able to add on to their 5-0 run from earlier and go on a 4-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 62-55 as Hobbs made free throws and Tadda a pull up jumper. However Giessen couldn´t make crucial shots now and ex Auburn star Quantez Robertson sealed the win on the ugly game with 4 free throws. “Sometimes the ball falls and sometimes it doesn´t and that was the case for Giessen. Tez sealed the win for us with free throws. We wanted it more”, stressed Jordan Theodore. “Shots weren´t falling for us that normally do. We didn´t execute the way we should have and also got some dumb fouls at the end”, added Braydon Hobbs. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Quantez Robertson with 20 points. Jordan Theodore added 11 points and Danilo Barthel contributed 10 points. The Giessen 46ers were led by Yorman Polas and Braydon Hobbs with 13 points a piece and Suleiman Brahimoh added 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 37% from the field and 36% from outside while the Giessen 46ers shot 34% from the field and 26% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound battle 47-27, but had an unacceptable 20 turnovers while Giessen had 17 turnovers.