Sometimes the overwhelming differences that two basketball teams may possess on paper can be as hard to digest for an opposing coach in terms of what strategy he will use for 40 minutes as it was NFL coaches and defenses to figure out how to stop a Tom Brady of the New England Patriots who at age 39 seems to be playing like in his prime and having that very special and rare football gen called forever young. When one observes Germany´s youth league NBBL which displays the faces of tomorrow and possible professional players in the making, one can´t always expect games in the 90´s or a 50% field goal percentage as these kids are all still learning, but sometimes the stats on paper do tell the story. This was the case as unbeaten Eintracht Frankfurt who had beat MTV Kronberg in a thrilling OT game where they showed their true colors in OT and last weekend needed a 26 point explosion in the fourth quarter to leave the Junior Baskets Rhein Necker in the dust faced off against the 1-1 Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen in another classic Hessen derby. The guests lost the first game of the season against Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg with 65-58, but last weekend nipped the well-known basketball academy Urspring 55-53. The immense statistical advantages that Eintracht Frankfurt had were mindboggling as they averaged 82 points to 56 points of Langen, had the massive rebound edge of 51-26 and in the playmaking department also had more creativity with the 20-11 edge. Langen did have the better defense in the first two games giving up only 59 points while Eintracht Frankfurt did 65 which wasn´t too shabby either. Stats are one thing, but in the end the only thing that counts is what happens on the court for 40 minutes and that is when both teams leave everything they have on the court. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a hard first half where nobody would of noticed any kind of big advantage for Eintracht Frankfurt, but the home team did break out of their shell in the third leading by as much as 17 points only to see the guests fight back and force OT, but then ran out of gas as Eintracht Frankfurt squeaked out a 82-74 win. After the game, 18 year old German Konstantin Schubert didn´t look anymore pooped than after any other game, but he had played an overwhelming 81 minutes in 17 hours dating back to the Fraport skyliners Juniors OT win in Nordlingen the night before, but was still able to give sound answers concerning his second OT win within 24 hours. “I feel very tired. This was my second OT game. I played 42 minutes last night and 39 minutes now. We were up by 17 in the third and can´t let the opponent come back like that. We brought more power than Langen did into the OT and hit the deciding shots that gave us the win”, stressed Eintracht Frankfurt forward Konstantin Schubert. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen played a very spirited game, but used up a lot of energy after being down 17 in the third and just didn´t have the needed gusto in OT to prevail. “This was a tough loss for us. The third quarter killed us. We never gave up until the end, but Frankfurt just had more energy than we did”, added Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen forward Julian Pfaff.
Both teams struggled on the offensive end in the first quarter as the guests were able to slow down the Eintracht Frankfurt offensive machine, but couldn´t get much going on the offensive end either as turnovers hurt them. Eintracht Frankfurt got early production from 16 year old 207cm forward Beat Weichsler who got aggressive inside twice getting to the hole and scoring. EX USC Freiburg center Cosmo Gruehn who played 28 minutes in Nordlingen scoring eight points and hauling down five boards scored with his left hand and ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons also scored inside as Eintracht Frankfurt led 8-5. Both teams were having their misfortune from outside and attacked the inside as 17 year old Christian Lonrich scored and 17 year old Turk Alper Bastiyali gave the Langen team the 9-8 lead. However Eintracht Frankfurt closed out the first quarter with an Oliver Babitisch lay in and Gruehn and Schuebert free throws as they led 14-11. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 31% from the field and the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 27% from the field. Both were shooting 0% from outside. The guests had the 12-8 rebound edge, but also eight turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt had six turnovers.
The game remained tight in the second quarter until Eintracht Frankfurt was able to extend their lead to 10 points only to see it dwindle down again as the guests made a furious run to get back into the game. The Schoder Junior Giraffen came out with a lot of energy in the opening minutes as 18 year old 207cm center Ante Brko who played with Eintracht Frankfurt two years ago scored twice inside using his big body to his advantage and 18 year old Felix Lewe tied the game at 17-17 with free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt then found some rhythm on offense going on a 13-3 run to extend their lead to 30-20. In the run, Eintracht Frankfurt was sparked by the energy of 15 year old Alvin Onyia who made a quick inbounds pass to Schuebert for the easy lay in as two seconds were on the shot clock and then nailed a trey. The club also got free throws from Babitisch and Gruehn. It seemed like Eintracht Frankfurt might run away early with the game, but the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen mounted a furious come back going on a 7-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 30-27. In the run, Pfaff dropped a three pointer and Lovrich sneaked inside for the bucket and made free throws. The guests were fortified by three consecutive Eintracht Frankfurt turnovers. Eintracht Frankfurt guard 15 year old Maximillian Begue closed out the second quarter with a free throws as Eintracht Frankfurt led 31-27. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 36% from the field and 20% from the three point line while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 33% from the field and 17% from the three point line. Eintracht Frankfurt had 13 turnovers and the guests 14 turnovers.
Eintracht Frankfurt pulled away in the third quarter going on a 14-o run to extend their lead to 45-27 as the guests remained scoreless for almost six minutes. In the run, Eintracht Frankfurt got production from 16 year old 198cm forward Leon Pullen who scored in the paint as did Gruehn. Schubert also was very active scoring three buckets with two inside and one from the parking lot. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen found out of their funk just in time to close out the third quarter going on a 13-3 run to trail only 48-40. In the run, the guests were sparked by various options as 16 year old Micha Hoffmann who is the brother of ex Skyliner Jona Hoffmann hit two difficult shots with a runner and running hook shot. Lovrich hit an off balance shot and Brko scored in the paint area again. “We did a good job on defense and just stopped them for a long time. Our one on one defense was very good. We communicated better on defense and our help defense also was good. On offense we moved the ball better”, added Konstantin Schubert. “We didn´t think and had no structure. We had too many own ideas. We got away from what we know from practice”, stressed Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 36% from the field and 21% from the parking lot while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 33% from the field and 11% from the parking lot. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 30-24 rebound edge and 20 turnovers while the guests had 21 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Eintracht Frankfurt was able to keep their comfortable lead for the first few minutes, but then watched as the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen slowly chipped away at their lead and forced the game into OT. In the first few minutes, both teams were scoring at a good rate as Eintracht Frankfurt got buckets from Pullen, Schubert and Pons, but the guests didn´t roll over and die as they also executed well as 18 year old Dan Gerst hit a jumper to cut the Eintracht Frankfurt lead to 55-45. After Jonathan Torbica and Pons exchanged three pointers, Eintracht Frankfurt still led 58-48, but now it was time for one last push by the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen as they went on a 12-2 run to recapture the lead 60-59 with a minute to go. In the run, the guests got valuable production from Torbica who hit a difficult runner high of the glass, Pfaff got a steal and coast to coast dunk and then scored later in the paint. The club also got points from 18 year old power forward Alexander Arndt who made a big tip in as well as a Lovric lay in. Arndt then held his cool sinking two free throws for the lead. Then it seemed like the happy end of the guests would end as Gruehn made an offensive rebound and put back for the 61-60 advantage, but the guests forced OT with a Lewe free throw as the game was dead locked at 61-61. “We did everything wrong in their comeback. We gave up too many fast break points, didn´t rebound well and second chance points”, added Konstantin Schubert. “The fans helped us back into the game. We always believed in ourselves and fought to the end and our shots finally began to fall more”, said Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was shooting 37% from the field and 19% from outside while the Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were shooting 39% from the field and 15% from outside. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 36-31 rebound advantage, but 28 turnovers while the guests had 25 turnovers.
In the OT, the Schoder Junior Giraffen langen got the lead back 62-61 on a Pfaff free throw, but Eintracht Frankfurt then went out on a 7-2 run to take the 68-63 lead and would never look back again. Eintracht Frankfurt were playing like on a mission something what head coach Jan Eichberger probably wonders why it doesn´t happen more on a consistent rate as they used their various options as Pullen scored inside and Gruehn dropped a trey. The guests continued to fight to stay in range as Torbica scored with his left hand and Pfaff hit a three pointer to cut Eintracht Frankfurt´s lead to 74-69, but they couldn´t get the needed stops to get closer. Gerst gave the guests one last gasp of hope with a lay in cutting the Eintracht Frankfurt lead to 75-71 with a jumper, but the club then slammed the door tight on the guests they went on a 7-3 run to close out the game as Schubert hit free throws and Pons a trey for the 80-71 advantage. Before the guests could react, Pons made a steal and scored for the 82-71 lead. Lovric closed out the game with a three pointer to spice up his stat afternoon as Eintracht Frankfurt won their third game of the season 82-74 and remain unbeaten. “I liked how we came out in OT and always fought. Gruehn was also key with his three pointer getting us ahead”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. “We were tired at the end and when there are five team fouls, it is always hard to play tactical basketball”, said Julian Pfaff. Eintracht Frankfurt was led by Konstantin Schubert with 23 points. Cosmo Gruehn added 19 points and Niklas Pons added 13 points. The Schoder Junior Giraffen Langen were led by Julian Pfaff with 20 poinbts. Christian Lovric scored 13 points and Dan Gerst added 12 points. Eintracht Frankfurt shot 40% from the field and 28% from the three point line while the Schoder Junior Giraffen langen shot 41% from the field and 27% from the three point line. Eintracht Frankfurt had the 39-33 rebound edge and 29 turnovers while the guests coughed up the ball 30 times.