With all the German professional leagues already having got underway in their new seasons, many were waiting in heavy anticipation of the new NBBL(under 19) league to commence as it is always a delight to observe Germany´s young prospects doing work on the court and developing from boys to men and for some into professional basketball players. On a rare Friday evening, Eintracht Frankfurt who belong to the Fraport Skyliners faced off in a true Hessen derby against MTV Kronberg which is only 15 minutes away if one stages their own Formula One race tempo over the autobahn and country roads. Eintracht Frankfurt went into the game as the heavy favorite as it had more players with Pro B experience with guys like Isaac Bonga, Konstantin Schubert, Niklas Pons and Cosmo Gruehn while MTV Kronberg did have seven players aged 18. 16 year old Isaac Bonga who is the biggest German talent since Dennis Schroeder played, but had a severe cold, but still played 26 minutes scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out six assists before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Despite the talent and experience advantage of Eintracht Frankfurt, MTV Kronberg didn´t let that take their focus or grit away as they did a fantastic job staying with their opponent for 40 minutes, but in the OT, the home team showed their true colors going on a harsh 14-2 run to overcome MTV Kronberg 86-74. “We didn´t underestimate them, but this is a team that we have to beat by a lot. We knew that Felix Hecker could shoot, but we slept too many times in this game, but we will work on our mistakes and come back better”, warned Eintracht Frankfurt guard Isaac Bonga. “We played against a very good team, but we gave it our best. Our point guard came late to the team and wasn´t in form yet. We didn´t have so much strength at the end”, added MTV Kronberg forward Felix Hecker.
Eintracht Frankfurt got off to the red hot start taking the 15-6 lead as the Pro B players of Schubert(6 points), Bonga(4 points) and Gruehn(5 points) did all the damage from inside and out as MTV Kronberg seemed a bit overwhelmed by their consistency and ease in their production. However MTV Kronberg made a run in the last three minutes as they had virtually no inside game and had to count on their production from outside as they got two trey´s from 18 year old Felix Hecker and two three´s from Felix Kreisel to have the 25-21 advantage after 10 minutes. Both teams were shooting over 50% from the field and their three point accuracy was over 40% as well. In the second quarter, MTV Kronberg held the lead for four minutes until Eintracht Frankfurt dead locked the game and then would fight for the lead and keep it going into halftime with the narrow 45-43 lead. Gruehn gave Eintracht Frankfurt a 4-0 run with two buckets in the paint to tie the game at 25-25, but that didn´t last long as sharp shooter Felix Hecker nailed back to back three´s for the 31-25 advantage. At this juncture the game was high paced with no team being able to run away with the lead. Eintracht Frankfurt battled back tying the game at 31-31 with Schubert and Niklas Pons baskets. Both teams continued to fire away as Hecker and Pons nailed back to back three pointers to tie the game at 37-37. Schubert continued to be very active inside using his fighting qualities scoring twice, but it was always Hecker again taking control as he dropped two more three pointers. After a Schubert lay in, it was Tim Kreisel that hit a three knotting the game at 43-43. Niklas Pons closed out the second quarter with a tip in. Both teams continued to shoot well from the field over 45%, but the story was from downtown where MTV Kronberg shot an overwhelming 56% while Eintracht Frankfurt shot a meager 25%. Eintracht Frankfurt had the comfortable 24-14 rebound advantage.
În the third quarter, there were four lead changes in the first three minutes, but then Eintracht Frankfurt was able to secure the lead even if they couldn´t shake off MTV Kronberg as they stayed on their heels trailing only 61-58 after 30 minutes. Frankfurt continued to have little fortune from outside and continued to be active in the paint as they used their height advantage as Schubert scored twice, but Fabio Remiorz kept MTV Kronberg in the game with back to back jumpers tying the game at 53-53. Schubert and Gruehn then scored inside giving Eintracht Frankfurt the 57-53 advantage. MTV Kronberg got production from Hecker with a jumper and a Florian Dietrich off balance shot cutting the Eintracht Frankfurt lead to 59-57. 15 year old JBBL champion Alvin Onyia closed out the third quarter with a trey as Eintracht Frankfurt led 61-58. MTV Kronberg continued to shoot well from outside at 43% while Eintracht Frankfurt shot only 20%, but they had the big rebound edge 37-24. In the fourth quarter, Eintracht Frankfurt continued to have their nose ahead, but only slightly as MTV Kronberg continued not to back down and even took a five point lead only to relinquish it and then have to force OT. MTV Kronberg played their best basketball in a two minute span going on a 9-0 run to take the 68-63 lead as Mr go to guy Felix Hecker continued to penalize Eintracht Frankfurt as he hit consecutive three pointers. However Eintracht Frankfurt than showed why basketball is a game of runs as they fired back going on a 7-0 run to retake the lead 70-68. Gruehn got active nailing a trey and scoring inside while Bonga made a put back. Max Brauneck then tied the game at 70-70. Leon Puellen gave Eintracht Frankfurt the lead 72-70, but Felix Hecker sent the game into OT with free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 42% form the field while MTV Kronberg continued to shoot well form downtown shooting 41%. Frankfurt had the 46-38 rebound edge.
In the OT period, Eintracht Frankfurt showed their true colors dominating the five minutes going on a 14-2 run to win easily 86-74. In the OT period, Eintracht Frankfurt finally played their game and it looked all so easy as they made text book plays and executed as if it was in practice. MTV Kronberg were exhausted and didn´t get anymore open shots, but had to take more contested ones. Cosmo Gruehn and Konstantin Schubert did the most damage in the first three minutes combining for seven points while Niklas Pons also nailed a trey and a floater. “We played hard in the OT. We did a better job in the 1-1 situations and simply believed in ourselves and played with confidence”, stated Isaac Bonga. Eintracht Frankfurt was led by Cosmo Gruehn with 26 points. Konstantin Schubert added 22 points while Niklas Pons contributed 15 points and 12 rebounds. MTV Kronberg was led by Felix Hecker with 31, nine rebounds and five assists. Eintracht Frankfurt shot 43% from the field and 21% from outside while MTV Kronberg shot 35% from the field and 38% from outside. Eintracht Frankfurt won the rebound battle 56-39 and had 17 turnovers while MTV Kronberg coughed up the ball 23 times.