On many occasions this season during home games of the Fraport Skyliners, one could observe a tall, rugged looking 201cm 221 pound big fellow that has the liking of wearing a Benny hat and thus making his own special fashion statement and would warrant any kid in the arena to wonder all game long for what professional basketball team he plays for. For the basketball insider and members of the Fraport Skyliners, knowing who the 33 year old native from Greenville, South Carolina is isn´t difficult as it is Martinis Woody who serves as a sixth man good luck charm and temporary baby sitter for the kids of John Little and Quantez Robertson during the game as one can see him chasing after the very very outgoing and lively toddlers on many occasions. Coming to see his friend Quantez Robertson play and make the 144 kilometer trek from Karlsruhe and back didn´t pose a problem for him as he attempted the road trip on many occasions this season. Last season Robertson also would visit Woody in Langen when he had games making the 23 kilometer trek from Frankfurt look like a kid´s field trip instead of a business type trip that Woody made from Karlsruhe. On the last day of the German Regionalliga season, Woody and his team PS Karlsruhe Lions were playing for a ticket to move up to the German Pro B, but the big man had to do it without the support of Quantez Robertson. This weekend would have been perfect for Robertson to make the 80 kilometer trip from Frankfurt to Limburg as the Fraport Skyliners had an off weekend. However Robertson was on his own business trip taking part in a team building seminar in London, England and couldn´t help support Woody in Limburg. Instead of cheering on Woody, Robertson was in London getting his special dose of Big Ben and Buckingham palace, but Woody didn´t need any extra support from the Skyliner as the PS Karlsruhe Lions had massive support from their fan base creaming the EVL Baskets Limburg 92-69 winning the 2016 Regionaliga south-west title. With 30 seconds to go in the game, one could already observe Martinis Woody on the sidelines with a huge champagne bottle ready to celebrate South Carolina style and when the buzzer sounded there was no stopping the American, his teammates and fans as pandemonium had broken out on their side of the court. After taking some sips from the champagne and then giving the rest to his teammates, the American was able to reflect on the game and season. “This was the first time that I have moved up in my professional career. We as a team did a great job to come in here and win this game. We had our ups and downs this season, but we always stayed positive. We worked hard and with the help of a great coaching staff stayed together as a team the whole season. We knew that it wouldn´t be easy here, but we had to make Josh Michaeux work for each shot and just key on him. Our great fans supported us all season and helped us get this win. Quantez Robertson wanted to come to our game last week, but today was in London with his team. When I get home, he will know about this win”, stressed Martinis Woody. It was a nerve wracking day for EVL Baskets Limburg head coach Danny Stallbohm, because he and the team had to wait until 5.00pm to know if they would have a do or die game. Had Crailsheim beat Mainz, then Limburg would have needed to win, but because they lost, Stallbohm´s season was already saved before the jump ball at 8.00pm as his team will play in the Regionalliga again next season. “We didn´t have as much pressure going into the game. However we didn´t show that in the first half as we slept a bit. We showed a lot of heart in the second half coming back”, stressed EVL Baskets Limburg guard Justin Stallbohm.
In the first few minutes of the first quarter, the EVL Baskets Limburg were hit by a lightening offensive force that powered the PS Karlsruhe Lions to an overpowering 11-0 run. The guests stepped on the floor and just showed a very versatile offensive style that at first showed their dangerous outside shooting. The guests got on the board first and quick footed Croatian Dino Palacic scored in traffic and then it was boom, boom, boom as the PS Karlsruhe Lions connected on three straight three pointers from Croatian Branimir Mikulic who played in the UK The last two seasons with Leeds Force (United Kingdom-BBL) nailed two while ex Kirchheim Knight German Michael Baumer connected on the other. The most fascinating aspect of this quick run was that all 11 points were scored before the work horse Martinis Woody had even touched the ball once. “When you have a good point guard, good shooting guard and a great four man, there isn´t much any team can do. We have the ability to get going early like that, I know that eventually I will get the ball. We are very dangerous when we get going like that. I love this group of guys”, added Martinis Woody. The EVL Baskets Limburg still had problems overcoming this early shock as the guests extended their lead to 18-3 as Woody got his first bucket with a lay in, Croatian Dino Jakolis who averaged 15,2ppg last season with the PS Karlsruhe Lions in the second German Regionalliga made a hook shot and Palacic scored inside again. The PS Karlsruhe Lions had an amazing ball movement that looked like a junior version of the Fraport Skyliners and were always attacking on offense and at every instance pushing the ball forward which the home team just couldn´t adjust too. It also didn´t help that the EVL Baskets Limburg were as cold as an ice pond in Alaska. The EVL Baskets Limburg found some kind of a rhythm in the last few minutes scoring eight points to cut the PS Karlsruhe lead to 24-11 after 10 minutes. Ex SG Sechtem 1971 (Germany-Regionalliga) 202cm forward Kevin Yebo got going scoring inside twice as his quickness posed problems all night for PS Karlsruhe and Mike Sharma nailed a trey. The EVL Baskets Limburg would of probably trailed by far less had Josh Micheaux been able to get going more early as he was tossing up brick after brick in the first quarter. “I don´t think that we were nervous at the start, but their run got them self-confidence and we just didn´t hit shots”, added Justin Stallbohm.
The second quarter was dominated by the PS Karlsruhe Lions as they outscored the EVL Baskets Limburg 30-14 to take the very comfortable 54-25 advantage at the break. The PS Karlsruhe Lions got out to another big start and extended their lead to 36-16. The PS Karlsruhe Lions showed just how powerful and deep they are as they were able to get this big lead with Woody on the bench. The guests got production from many different hands as ex wiha Panthers Villingen-Schwenningen 204cm center Daniel Zovko scored inside as well as Jakolic and Max Roser. Ex Licher Basket Baeren (ProB) guard Deon Mcduffie also showed his quickness on offense and defense scoring two buckets inside. The EVL Baskets Limburg had problems with the offensive tempo of Karlsruhe who continued to have ball movement where whipping the ball around was the norm and otherwise continuing to push the ball forward at any time. The EVL Baskets Limburg were getting tangled up into too much one on one situations that they couldn´t take advantage of. The offensive consistency continued for the PS Karlsruhe Lions as they went into halftime with a 18-7 run. 27 year old forward Max Roser who played 3 Pro A games with BG Karlsruhe in the 2007-2008 season got going on both ends of the court and scored twice inside. Mikulic connected on another three pointer and Woody and Mcduffie also contributed in the scoring. Justin Stallbohm connected on a three pointer for Limburg at the end to make the score of 54-25 not look as bad for the home team.
With 20 minutes to go, the EVL Baskets Limburg may have looked like they were helpless in the Mojave desert, but in heart and spirit, they believed that they could still find that water for the extra energy and did. The EVL Baskets Limburg won the third quarter 29-18 to cut the PS Karlsruhe lead to 72-54. Kevin Yebo and Josh Micheaux were the impact players in the first five minutes of the third quarter which got their club going. Yebo was a work horse battling and finding the way to the rim and scoring twice while Micheaux had his inside/out game going hitting a trey and going coast to coast for the bucket and German Robin Pflueger who was always hanging around the three point line connected for a bomb cutting the PS Karlsruhe lead to 64-41. Limburg was finally hitting shots on a regular basis which upped their self confidence to a 9-3 run cutting the PS Karlsruhe lead to 67-50. In the run, the EVL Baskets Limburg got added production from other players like Kaan Kus who made a runner and floater while Pflueger also scored inside. Micheaux put an exclamation mark on the 67-50 PS Karlsruhe lead as he weaved through the zone finishing with a menacing one handed dunk. After Micheaux and Bramer traded buckets, it was Mikulic who put a dagger into the spirt of the Limburg comeback with a quarter ending three pointer. “It seemed like Karlsruhe was a bit nervous and already thought they had won the game. We defended and pressed well and hit our shots. We really thought that we could come back, but Mikolic kept hurting our comeback with his three pointers”, stressed Justin Stallbohm. “Limburg played well in the third and we just lost focus. However we kept our composure and fought”, stressed Martinis Woody.
The fourth quarter was relatively even with the PS Karlsruhe Lions winning it 20-18 and with their already big lead had a 7-3 run to extend their lead to 79-57 as Woody helped his stat line with two easy buckets inside and Mikolic connected on another trey. PS Karlsruhe continued to hold their big advantage with further buckets from Woody and Palcic extending their lead to 87-62. With three minutes to go and the game decided both coaches emptied their benches and the EVL Baskets Limburg closed out the season in fine fashion with a 10-5 run. Ex VfB 1900 Giessen Pointers guard Henry Volkert scored on the fast break and Justin Stallbohm got revenge after missing two free throws hitting a three pointer and scoring the last points of the season for the EVL Baskets Limburg. “We lost energy in the fourth quarter. All in all we are lucky to have stayed in the league. We knew it wouldn´t be an easy season after losing many key guys from last season. We had a young team and we lost some games that we should have won this season. Thanks to Mainz for saving our season”, smiled Justin Stallbohm. The PS Karlsruhe Loins were led by Branimir Mikulic with 25 points and seven three pointers and Martinis Woody added 18 points. The EVL Baskets Limburg were led by Kevin Yebo with 26 points and 17 rebounds. Josh Micheaux and Justin Stallbohm added 14 points a piece. The PS Karlsruhe Lions shot 54% from the field and 28% from outside while the EVL Baskets Limburg shot 37% from the field and 25% from outside. Limburg had the 42-34 rebound edge, but had 10 turnovers and PS Karlsruhe had five turnovers.