In the last weeks, do or die games have been seemingly as frequent on the menu for the Weissenhorn Youngsters and the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as dunks were for Tomas Dimsa in the crushing defeat by the Beko BBL club Fraport Skyliners over the Mitteldeutscher BC last weekend where the Lithuanian seemed to roam on the rim all day long like a white stork does bringing harmony to his country and people wherever they nest. Weissenhorn had to do it twice against Wolfenbuettel and were saved in game three with a magnificent 24 point game by German U-20 national player David Kramer who nailed big shots in crunch time. Only 72 hours earlier, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had to win at home after they had to recover from a bitter 107-38 loss on the road with a major depleted roster as six players were idle and in London and missing an average of 76 points, but in game two the whole crew was on board while Weissenhorn was without key players Nils Mittmann, David Kramer and Joschka Ferner. In the game two win by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors, they were able to continue their better defense as of late holding Weissenhorn to 64 points and letting their opponent cough up the ball 25 times while containing top Pro B assist man Chris Anderson better in the second half. After the glorious Frankfurt victory, their three point specialist Travis Thompson who dropped 36 points and 10 three´s against Lich this season stated that he wasn´t ready to travel the 4,651 miles back home to Alaska yet. In game three on a rare Tuesday night, both the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and Weissenhorn Youngsters had everyone meaningful on board and had to prove who was more in do or die mode as the home team did more things better and Weissenhorn had absolute no remedy against the lethal three point shooting of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they advanced to the Pro B semi-finals with a 109-93 victory earning a date with the Dresden Titans. Do or die games belong to the normal routine for a basketball player, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to win the last battle in the trenches in this series. “Do or die games is why we play the game. It is a great feeling to be able to win a meaningful game like this. We had a great first half and shot well. In the second half, we played ok, but could of played better. We moved a step closer to winning the title”, stressed Paderborn native Niklas Kiel. Weissenhorn had their moments in the second half, but just couldn´t stay with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors for 40 minutes. “Congrats to Frankfurt. They played very well and defended well for 40 minutes. We weren´t ready to go into the game and Frankfurt made it difficult for us in the first half. They came out and surprised us. Having to comeback the way we did cost us a lot of energy. If we would of played the way we did in the second half the whole game, then the game would have turned out differently. Frankfurt was just too strong and disciplined. It was a tough way to end the season”, stressed German U-20 player David Kramer. “We played a very good first half as key wasn´t only our good shooting, but had a better mix of inside out game. When we are shooting well then it is always more difficult to defend us. Our intensity in the first half was the best this season. It was a bit up and down in the second half, but we still finished well”, warned Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Eric Detlev.
As is so often the case both Frankfurt and Weissenhorn had their runs in the first quarter, but after 10 minutes, the potent Frankfurt offense rattled off 27 points while Weissenhorn had only 19 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors jumped all over Weissenhorn early getting a 7-2 lead already displaying their disciplined offense and shot making precision. Lithuanian Tomas Dimsa wasted no time scoring in bunches as he scored on a lay in and scorched home a step back three pointer while Alaska native Travis Thompson stayed alert on the offensive board catching a Dimsa air ball and getting the put back. This quick Frankfurt strike didn´t rattle Weisenhorn in the least as they reacted with a 8-2 run taking their first lead of the game at 10-9. In the Weissenhorn run, the club coached by Danny Jansson stayed aggressive getting free throws from Germans Nils Mittmann and David Kramer and lay ins from German talent Joschka Ferner and Mittmann. Then it was time for Frankfurt to make their next run as they went on a 7-0 run to retake the 16-10 lead as they got some stops and a three pointer and free throws from German Max Merz and free throws from Niklas Kiel. A trey by Ferner and a Marvin Oumuvwie lay in cut the Frankfurt advantage to 18-15. However Frankfurt stayed consistent on offense and constructed their versatile play early as Johannes Richter scored inside twice and ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb nailed a three pointer to end the first frame. “Frankfurt moved the ball well and hit many open shots. On defense, Frankfurt did a good job pressuring them and not letting them get in a comfort zone and forced them to tough shots”, stressed Fraport Skyliners guard Phillip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 44% from the field and 30% from outside while Weissenhorn was shooting 54% from the field and 50% from outside. Frankfurt had the 10-6 rebound edge and three turnovers while Weissenhorn had seven turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to up their game a level higher extending their lead to 20 plus points as Weissenhorn had no clue how to combat the hot Frankfurt shooting. Weissenhorn played very strong in the first few minutes cutting the Frankfurt lead to 32-25 as Nils Mittmann made a high falling rainbow from the top of the key, Chris Anderson who was being closed down inside so he shifted gears forcing turnovers and running the transition and feeding Kramer for the lay up and the German then made free throws. However this quick burst of energy and offense was stopped by Frankfurt as they went on a devastating 18-5 run to totally open the game and lead 50-30. The three point touch of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors dominated in this phase as Travis Thompson nailed two, while Merz and Kiel also scored from downtown. Kiel also hit a running hook shot something that ex Skyliner Ilian Evtimov had in his arsenal during the 2007-2009 years. Johannes Richter also made an alley-oop dunk as Merz made a floater that turned out to be a pass that the German rammed home. Frankfurt also upped their aggressiveness on defense as Weissenhorn got into a rut and never recovered. Anderson and Marcel Pongo scored in the last minute while Zeeb dropped another three for good measure as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors lead 54-35 at halftime. “Their play looked like us. We are one unit. The Pro B players practice with us, work hard and they play great team basketball. They were playing good defense where everyone was helping each other. It was a do or die game so everyone knew what to do”, warned Fraport Skyliner guard Jordan Theodore. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 53% from the field and 47% from the three point line while Weissenhorn was shooting 55% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Weissenhorn had the 15-12 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had five turnovers.
In the third quarter, Weissenhorn stayed on the heels of the Fraport Skyliners, but whenever they seemed to be crawling closer, they were squashed by a huge three pointer and their poor free throw shooting also slowed down their comeback. Also Tomas Dimsa was a pest for Weissenhorn as he scored 11 points in the quarter and kept their comeback at bay. Johannes Richter started off the second half with a free throw which was followed by a Dimsa trey which extended the Frankfurt advantage to 57-36. Weissenhorn then found some daylight going on a 8-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-44. In the run, it was team leader David Kramer who scored inside and hit a three pointer. Anderson then dropped a bomb from outside. Frankfurt then went on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 67-48. In the run, it was Dimsa that took control scoring eight points including nailing two three pointers and taking a sweet dish from Merz on the alley-opp dunk and Richter connected on a baby hook shot. Weissenhorn continued to do an excellent job executing on offense and staying with Frankfurt, but couldn´t get consistent defensive stops. After being contained well inside in the first half, Anderson got free for two buckets inside to cut the Frankfurt lead to 72-57. However Frankfurt always had somebody that hit a three pointer as this time it was role player Lennart Okeke to extend the Frankfurt lead to 75-59. Weissenhorn was still focused and not thinking about summer as they closed out the third quarter with an important 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 77-64. In the run, Weissenhorn got valuable production from Kramer on a pull up jumper, but had their free throw phobia in full swing as Marcell Pongo, Ferner and ex TV Langen forward Tom Alte connected only on one of two free throws. “Dimsa gave us a lot of energy and security in a bad phase that we were having. We took advantage of Weissenhorn not shooting their free throws well”, added Niklas Kiel. “Dimsa had a good game and hurt us with his shot. We contained him well in the fourth quarter, but it was already too late”, stressed David Kramer. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 50% from the field and 52% from the parking lot while Weissenhorn was shooting 58% from the field and 45% from the parking lot. Weissenhorn had the 21-20 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The fourth quarter became a massive shootout that Frankfurt won 32-29. Weissenhorn was losing energy and still couldn´t find a way to get consistent stops. David Kramer nailed 15 points in the fourth quarter cutting the Frankfurt lead to near 10 points on many occasions, but the Weissenhorn defense just couldn´t get stops. Merz started off the fourth quarter with free throws, but Weissenhorn reacted with a 4-0 run as 18 year old Lukas Rosenbohm scored inside and Kramer scored on a lay in to cut the Frankfurt lead to 79-68. Weissenhorn seemed to be so close, but then again so far away as Frankfurt went on a crushing 6-0 run always having an answer as this time it was Merz hitting a trey and Zeeb making three free throws extending the Frankfurt lead to 85-68. Kramer continued to be the work horse making a trey and put back, but each time met with a Richter three pointer and Kiel lay in extending the Frankfurt advantage to 90-75. In the next two minutes Kramer was able to cut the Frankfurt lead to 13 points with two three pointers and a runner to 98-85, but each time Frankfurt had an answer as their offensive versatility was simply too overwhelming for Weissenhorn to combat. Frankfurt closed out the game and series with a 11-5 run as Dimsa finished on a fingertip roll and Okeke nailed his second three pointer of the game while Weissenhorn got a tip in dunk from Omuvwie and a Rosenbohm lay in. “We showed that we are a good shooting team and that every guy does his role and can carry the team. Okeke hit big shots and it is important to get security from our role players”, added Niklas Kiel. “At halftime we spoke about coming together and I felt we did. Everybody fought until the end not only me. Anderson continued to try to find every player and Omuvwie continued to go hard for the rebounds. We couldn´t get stops and they took advantage of us not being able to get the easiest points from the free throw line”, added David Kramer. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had six guys in double figures and were led by Tomas Dimsa with 22 points. Max Merz contributed 16 points and nine assists. Niklas Kiel and Travis Thompson chipped in with 14 points a piece and Johannes Richter had 13 points and Lennart Okeke had 10 points. The Weissenhorn Youngsters were led by David Kramer with 28 points. Chris Anderson added 13 points, seven rebounds and seven assists while Marvin Omuvwie had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 52% from the field and 53% from outside while Weissenhorn shot 57% from the field and 40% from outside. Weissenhorn won the rebound duel 30-27, but coughed up the ball 17 times while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.