In past years winning streaks for the Fraport Skyliners have been as minimal as it is for a Shaq ever having the audacity to attempt a three pointer, Steph Curry not taking a three pointer in a game or a Blake Griffin refraining from a clear dunk, but this season the 2004 Beko BBL champion Fraport Skyliners have been in winning streak mode as currently they are in their second one of the season. Earlier in the season the 2000 cup winner won 13 games in a row in the Beko BBL and Europe Cup until 8 time Beko BBL champion Alba Berlin squashed their winning ways with a win in their living room and then Frankfurt had a dry spell losing three of four games including in Ulm and Bayreuth, but something changed over the holiday season. They have come into 2016 with a new winning streak as they have won their last six games. Maybe it was some new type of spice in their Christmas turkey or perhaps the players talked about their new years resolutions, but one thing is for sure, winning streaks come and go, but one thing hasn´t changed and that is their immaculate play in Europe Cup action where they are 9-0 and came to Sweden looking for their 10 win in a row. In the first meeting on December 15th in Frankfurt, the Fraport Skyliners whipped away the Swedish team 95-64 as they were led by the German twin towers Johannes Voigtmann and Danilo Barthel who combined for 43 points and the club had six players in double figures. Frankfurt who averaged giving up only 64 points in international play were looking for another fantastic defensive performance, but didn´t get it, but their offense shined as bright as the sun reflecting off the snow on a barren field in Siberia as the Fraport Skyliners put up 95 points in the win while Sodertalje scored 81 points. With the win the Fraport Skyliners not only remain unbeaten in 2016, but currently have a seven game winning streak and remain unbeaten in Europe Cup play at 10-0. The Fraport Skyliners were able to withstand a late fourth quarter surge by the Sodertalje Kings by finishing the game on a 19-13 run and take the victory home and seal a berth to the next round as a big motivation booster as they face the EWE Baskets Oldenburg on Sunday as a win will give them an automatic ticket to Munich for the Beko BBL cup Top 4 at the end of February. “We were able to win tonight because of our defense. We took them out of their offense on the defensive end and executed on offense. We were very efficient tonight. A complete team effort”, stressed Jordan Theodore. “It was a tough game for us. Frankfurt came out and shot the ball very well. They punished every mistake that we made the entire game. I was proud of my team for coming back and fighting in the second half though”, stressed Sodertalje guard Skyler Bowlin.
The Fraport Skyliners quickly found their touch early in the first quarter taking the early 7-3 lead. German national player Johannes Voigtmann got Frankfurt on the board first with an easy lay up totally baffling ex Regal FC Barcelona II 201 cm big man Nicholas Spires with his twists and turns. Frankfurt got added input from Quantez Robertson who got hot quickly with a three pointer and Englewood, New Jersey native Jordan Theodore fed Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp for the lay in. Sodertalje then broke free and went on a 5-2 run to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 9-8 as ex BG Leitershofen guard Skyler Bowlin hit an impressive step back trey and the American then found Spires inside for the easy lay in. However once Frankfurt has found a steady offensive rhythm, they are prone to be able to get into the zone as a team and just take off and did totally overwhelming Sodertalje going on a 13-0 run to extend their lead to 22-8. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners got potent support from Quantez Robertson who continued his hot shooting nailing a three pointer and scoring inside while Voigtmann made a hard two handed dunk on the fast break getting fed perfectly from Philipp Scrubb, and Doornekamp and ex George Mason center Mike Morrison scored on transition. This magnificent run was sparked by the always aggressive Frankfurt defense as they got 4 consecutive steals that all led to buckets. After ex CAB Madeira (Portugal-LPB) center Aaron Anderson made a basket inside, Frankfurt closed out the first quarter strong as Quantez Robertson hit three pointers three and four with the last being a buzzer beater as Frankfurt led 30-12. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting an incredible 87% from the field and 100% from outside while Sodertalje was shooting 36% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 6-3 rebound edge and three turnovers while Sodertalje had seven turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners continued their offensive show continuing to control the game despite a slow start as they were able to get more easy points while the Swedish team was forced to work extra hard for their production. Sodertalje got off to the better start in the second frame going on a mini 4-0 run as three time Swedish champion Toni Bizaca hit free throws and big man Spires found ex BK Ventspils guard Davis Lejasmeiers for the lay in cutting the Frankfurt lead to 33-16. Ex Seton Hall guard Jordan Theodore hadn´t been a factor at all to that point scoring wise but he did a super job as he conducted the game as the point guard, but just didn´t get any shots until now where he made his first basket with a lay in. Despite this bucket, Frankfurt lost it´s rhythm from the first quarter as the Sodertalje Kings went on a 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 35-23 as Sodertalje spread the production around as Spires made a tip in, Bizaca showed his athletic ability making a nifty fingertip roll lay in and ex Liege Basket guard Dino Pita hit a three pointer. Despite German national player Danilo Barthel being out, there was that physicality factor missing, but Frankfurt still was big enough to do what they wanted to inside. When Frankfurt needed points, their best bet was to bang it inside to get easy points as Doornekamp and Voigtmann finished strong extending the Frankfurt advantage to 42-26. Despite some timely three pointers from Bowlin and Lejasmeiers, the Fraport Skyliners went into halftime on a 12-3 run once again finding their offensive sharpness to lead 54-32. Scrubb who started the season at AEK Athens (Greece-A1) hit three free throws and Robertson hit a trey and Doornekamp made two. The Fraport Skyliners may have reached the arena in -10c, but their shooting was as hot as the Indian ocean as they were shooting a ridiculous 77% from the field at 20/26 and 75% from the three point line while Sodertalje was shooting 38% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 14-9 rebound advantage and had nine turnovers while Sodertalje had 14 turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners held on to their lofty lead, but couldn´t totally put Sodertalje away as they continued to hang around like an unwanted black fly does when you hit it a few times, but it still doesn´t go away. Sodertalje started the third quarter inspired going on a 8-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 55-40. Despite a Theodore three pointer, Sodertalje rattled off eight points as feisty back up point guard Mike Joseph showed his quickness going coast to coast for the lay in, Anderson made a difficult tip in scoop where the only thing missing was the ice cream cone, ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Chris Czerapowicz hit free throws and Pita snuck inside for a bucket. Sodertalje was playing more aggressive on defense forcing Frankfurt to mediocre shots and were attacking more inside instead of settling for the outside option. Frankfurt got production from Theodore as he looked very controlled finding Voigtmann for the crushing two handed dunk and then finding space to connect on the step back jumper for the 59-42 lead. It was a game where Theodore really picked his spots and was very strong knowing when to finish and when to find his teammates. The -10c outside seemed not to bother the hot shooting of him and the team that he conducted. “I’m not sure the -10c had anything to do with it but I knew in the second half my team was going to need me to step up. I rarely look to score in the first half. Tez, Aaron and big Jo paced us in the first half. They were knocking down shots and dominating inside. So when the second half came. I knew it was my time to take over the game”, stressed Jordan Theodore. Sodertalje didn´t achieve any real lulls on offense continuing to stay in the game as Czerapowicz hit a trey and Mike Joseph free throws. Theodore then snuck inside again scoring easily while Morrison fed Voigtmann with the extra pass via the lob as Frankfurt led 66-47. Spires continued to be the work horse battling inside and more often than not coming away with rebounds and a put back as he scored and also hit free throws as Sodertalje trailed 68-52. In the last minute Morrison made a dunk and 2015 University games silver medalist Konstantin Klein made a lay in as Frankfurt led 72-54. The Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot out the lights as they were shooting 73% from the field and 70% from the parking lot while Sodertalje was shooting solid at 42% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the slim 19-15 rebound edge and 14 turnovers while Sodertalje coughed up the ball 15 times.
In the fourth quarter, the Sodertalje Kings made a late surge, but the Fraport Skyliners closed out the game in style. Sodertalge came out in the fourth quarter on fire showing the Fraport Skyliners that they meant business going on a 14-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 76-68 and perhaps getting a new spec of grey hair on the scalp of Frankfurt head coach Gordon Herbert. In the run, it was the veteran Bizaca that took control scoring 12 points including three three pointers. However the Fraport Skyliners remained calm and most important still had fire and energy in their offensive motor as they thwarted the run by starting a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 82-68. In the run it was Robertson finding daylight from the wing and scoring inside, Theodore then fed Doornekamp for another simple bucket inside and Theodore then scored over the 201cm tall Spires. One huge advantage that the Fraport Skyliners have displayed time in and time out this season and especially in the Europe Cup competition has been their great ability to stay strong in the fourth and still find extra energy to overcome adversity which they did. After Bowlin made an another three to cut the Frankfurt lead to 82-71, it was Doornekamp that finally closed the door on Sodertalje with consecutive bombs from downtown to extend the Frankfurt lead to 90-73. Sodertalje were able to make some three´s from Lejasmeiers and Pita, but it was too late as Frankfurt made free throws from Voigtmann and Doornekamp sealing victory number 10 in the Europe Cup play. “The key at the end was staying together. We know that they haven’t lost a game in their home floor in their league. They also can shoot the hell out of the ball. Basketball is a game of runs. They made a late rally but we were able to answer every time. That’s who we are. Just because you come out punching doesn’t mean we’re going to fold. We kept playing Skyliner basketball”, warned Jordan Theodore. “Frankfurt just kept coming at us the whole game. When we cut it to 8 we had a nice rhythm going but they got a couple of threes and easy buckets and pulled away”, added Skyler Bowlin.
The Fraport Skyliners were led by Aaron Doornekamp with 25 points. Quantez Robertson supplied 19 points with 17 in the first half. Johannes Voigtmann had 17 points while Jordan Theodore had 14 points and 11 points. The Sodertalje Kings were led by Toni Bzaca and Nicolas Spires who scored 16 points a piece. Davis Lejasmeires had 12 points and Skyler Bowlin contributed 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 69% from the field and 64% from outside while Sodertalje shot 45% from the field and 50% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 24-23 and had 15 turnovers while Sodertalje had 17 turnovers. The Fraport Skyliners will forget this big win quickly as the enxt huge focus will be the EWE Baskets Oldenburg Sunday as the 2004 Beko BBL champion wants to return back to the cup top 4 where they last played in 2009 in Hamburg. “I’m very excited about the cup game. It’s the next game on our schedule and we owe them one from the beginning of the season. The game won’t be an easy one but we’re ready! I’m also excited about playing against my bro Scott Machado. I’m looking forward to the matchup”, warned Jordan Theodore.