Players come and go in the basketball world and teams change personal from season to season as frequently as Paris Hilton changes her outfits on any given day depending on the occasion. Despite all the changes going on sometimes two players do meet again despite the unending possibilities of moving to another country or other leagues within the country and that is exactly what happened as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors squared off in a regular season clash with the Uni-Riesen Leipzig and suddenly German/Israeli Guy Aud found himself facing off against German Tim Oldenburg again. It was a little more than five years ago in the 2011-2012 season as both were rookies in the Pro B as Aud was in Germany for the first time after many years balling in Israel while Oldenburg was a young gun starting his basketball career in Frankfurt. Aud played with the Licher Basket Baeren and helped defeat the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 64-50 as back then a little known Danilo Barthel who now plays for FC Bayern Munich was just getting started with his stellar five year career with the Fraport Skyliners and there were also other guys like Larry Wright, Falko Thelig or Fabian Franke that one or the another will still remember. In that game in Frankfurt, both werern´t real factors as they combined for 18 minutes and three points as Aud hit from downtown. In the return game in Lich, Aud also won a nail bitter 78-76 as he steered home eight points. In the last five years, Oldenburg has stayed faithful to Frankfurt while Aud has had his traveling expense at full throttle having played in Paderborn, Chemnitz, Dresden and Israel. Five years later, the two players met again, but if you were to ask them if they remembered that first encounter five years ago or if they even knew the other played in that game, the answer probably would have been negative. “I couldn´t remember playing Tim Oldenburg, but I knew the name. I remember the Lich games against Frankfurt and remember hurting my shoulder here 5 years ago. It is always fun and competitive playing these games and I am 3-0 now against Frankfurt”, stressed ex Lich guard Guy Aud. “I can´t remember games so far back. For me it´s hard remembering the last game. I try to remember the last game as good as I can. What I can remember was winning the cup with Eintracht Frankfurt in 2010 over Braunschweig in the U-18 competition that had Dennis Schroeder and Daniel Theis”, smiled Tim Oldenburg.
The two door mat teams of the Pro B south met with each team needing a victory badly and it seemed like the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were riding into the sunset at the start of the fourth quarter, but a devastating 23-0 run by the Uni-Riesen Leipzig totally turned the game around as they won 73-67 leaving the home team with a bitter sour Saturday night. Travis Thompson was back in uniform after playing his rookie season with the Juniors last season, but was disappointed that his team couldn´t play a complete game. “We didn´t play for 40 minutes. We played hard for three quarters, but were flat in the fourth quarter. Leipzig competed hard and never gave up. I can only congratulate them”, said American Travis Thompson. After the big win Leipzig top scorer Jordan Faison was very content about the team win. “We never gave up and when the pressure came, we stuck together. Coach kept us calm and defense won us the game. We did a good job switching our defense keeping Frankfurt off balance”, stated California native Jordan Faison.
The game started off with a bang as Travis Thompson needed no time getting used to the home court rim again dropping his first shot, but the Uni-Riesen Leipzig countered back with a swift 5-0 run as 2006 BBL cup winner with Alba Berlin Sascha Leutloff hit free throws and ex BV Chemnitz point guard Guy Aud tested his 40% three point average nailing a trey for the 4-3 advantage. The teams would now trade leads five times as Thompson connected on another three as did 17 year old German wunderkind Isaac Bonga while Indiana native Terrence Billups and Faison also made shots deadlocking the game at 8-8. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig then took advantage of the paint area getting very easy buckets carrying out a 9-0 run as Leutloff, Faison and Billups finished inside and Aud mixed it up dropping another trey for the 17-7 Leipzig lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were reeling now, but kept their heads up answering with a timely and explosive 6-0 run as ex TV Langen guard Niklas Pons and Thompson drained three pointers to cut the Leipzig lead to 17-14. Faison and Thompson traded baskets twice as the ex Cal Ply Pomona forward continued to wreck-havoc inside while Thompson executed his bread and butter from the parking lot, but the Uni-Riesen Leipzig led 21-20. Thompson already had 14 points after 10 minutes and one quickly realized that it had been as if he had never been gone. “I was happy to be on the court again and make shots. I feel like I am even more comfortable in this offense than last season. I think that the chemistry with Garai Zeeb has carried over from last season. It was a relief making that first shot. Leipzig did key in on me better in the second half allowing me less touches and we also didn´t move the ball as well”, stressed Alaska native Travis Thompson. “We knew that Thompson could shoot. He hit the first few in my face and didn´t close out well, but we did a better job on him in the second half”, stressed American Terrence Billups. “Travis all alone in the first quarter. Frankfurt would have been behind 10 points without him. Leipzig did a good job closing the paint area which let Frankfurt shoot only from outside”, stressed ex Lich head coach Igor Starcevic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 47% from the field and 55% from outside while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were shooting 53% from the field and 33% from outside. Leipzig had the 8-7 rebound edge and one turnover while Frankfurt had four turnovers.
In the second quarter, the offense took a bit of a back seat from both teams while the defense got more of an identity as there were seven lead changes which resulted in the Fraport Skyliners Juniors going into the break with the tight 37-33 advantage. A big problem this season for the Uni-Riesen Leipzig has been their thin bench as the club just hasn´t got that consistent production form their subs, but 29 year old German Ben Hruscka who played nine seasons with Zwickau in the Regionaliga gave some vital punch with two pull up jumpers where the veteran did a keen job finding his spots while German Tim Oldenburg made a fingertip roll lay and Isaac Bonga presented him with the nifty shovel pass, but Frankfurt still trailed 25-22. Frankfurt then found some daylight going on a 5-0 run as Thompson hit his fifth consecutive trey and 19 year old German Armin Trtovac made an old school hook shot for the 27-25 lead. Then it was time for the immense experience of Leutloff to propel Leipzig back into the lead with a hook shot and then gave Faison the extra pass inside for the easy lay in and 29-27 lead. Bonga then got Frankfurt the lead back with a three 30-29 only to have it erased with a Faison 20 footer as Frankfurt trailed 31-30. The game continued to go back and forth as no team could drift away as the lead changes continued to happen as ex USC Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn made a tip in for the 32-31 Frankfurt lead. Faison then hit a 25 footer as he showed his versatile game as his midrange game was just as lethal as his game close to the rim as Leipzig led 33-32. “I just do my job on the court. I pick my spots on the court and my teammates do a good job setting me up for good shots. I just take what the defense gives me and keep them guessing inside which makes my job easier”, smiled Jordan Faison. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors stole back the momentum and held it into the break with a 5-0 run to lead 37-33. In the run, ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb dropped a trey and Thompson nailed a pull up jumper. “Leipzig continued to make easy baskets inside. I liked the game of Jordan Faison. He is a very calm player that does a good job waiting until he has balance before taking the shot. I felt like Leipzig was already starting to tire. Both teams defended a lot better in the second quarter”, added Fraport Skyliners U-16 head coach Igor Starcevic.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to break open the game and lead in double digits and led by as much as 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out of halftime focused and cruised out on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 47-37. In the run, Frankfurt got solid inside out production as Thompson and Schubert scored inside while the American dropped his sixth trey and Bonga also connected from downtown. What really stood out in the third quarter was that the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were having extreme fortune regarding loose balls as it seemed like they owned them while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig couldn´t buy a loose ball as Frankfurt got possession after possession and over time took advantage of the extra possessions. Frankfurt continued to display consistency on the offensive end especially from the parking lot as Zeeb and Schubert hit to extend their lead to 58-44 while the guests continued to get big time production from Faison who kept them in the game. 19 year old German Alexander Herrmann got the last bucket of the quarter in the paint as he was fed nicely from German colleague Leutloff, but most of the damage had been made as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 60-47. “We came out with a lot of energy and hit shots right away. We stepped it up on defense and got stops. When you have the momentum things happen to go your ways with the loose balls”, stated Travis Thompson. “Frankfurt started off well and played good defense. When your playing good you usually have more luck especially with loose balls”, smiled ex Dresden Titan Guy Aud. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 42% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while the Uni-Riesen Leipzig were shooting 44% from the field and 9% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 29-25 rebound edge and both teams had 11 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the game took a dramatic turn that nobody would have ever imaged could have happened, but that is the wonderful aspect of basketball as it will always be a game of runs and the Uni-Riesen Leipzig gave this famous term a new meaning spanking the Fraport Skyliners Juniors with a nasty and seemingly unstoppable 23-0 run to retake the lead 70-60. In the run the Uni-Riesen Leipzig hit everything and made it look as easy as when Rick Barry used to hit free throws back in the day while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t throw it in the ocean as ex Skyliner Jacob Burtschi used to like to comment bad shooting days of his club. In the run the Uni-Riesen Leipzig halted 11 consecutive possessions by Frankfurt while on offense got buckets from Guy Aud and Billups who nailed two trey´s a piece, Leutloff scored twice inside as well as two free throws, Faison hit a 20 footer and German Richard Tietschel scored three points. Leipzig suddenly led 70-60 with three minutes to go and head coach Eric Detlev must have been wondering if this was his worst basketball nightmare. “You will always have your lows on offense, but we just didn´t defend well on their run and couldn´t compensate when they missed with our offense. They got easy baskets and we missed easy layups, but that is part of basketball”, stressed Travis Thompson. “We fought back and we did what we had to do and it actually looked good. We played disciplined and took it possession by possession. If we could bring this kind of play each quarter then we wouldn´t be in the position that we are in now”, added Terrence Billups. “I once had a 23-0 run in Israel. Our run was crazy against Frankfurt and it showed that we can play”, stressed ex Paderborn guard Guy Aud. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t totally collapse, but had one last drip of energy going on a 7-0 run to cut the Leipzig lead to 70-67 and stopping four consecutive Leipzig possessions. In the run Frankfurt got much needed production from Schubert and Bonga with buckets inside and then German Tim Oldenburg made a lay in after retrieving a no look pass from ex Koblenz player Bonga. However after a BIllups free throw, Zeeb missed a golden opportunity to cut the Leipzig lead to one point, but his three fell short and Guy Aud putting icing on the cake with two free throws securing the second win for the Uni-Riesen Leipzig this season and making the bus ride home enjoyable. “We brought that needed energy in that last run, but just couldn´t pull out the win”, stressed Travis Thompson. “We played smart at the end after their run and took care of the ball”, stressed Jordan Faison. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig were led by Jordan Faison with 25 points and 10 rebounds. Sascha Leutloff added 14 points, 11 boards and seven assists. Guy Aud contributed 14 points and Terrence Billups had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 24 points. Isaac Bonga chipped in with 12 points. The Uni-Riesen Leipzig shot 47% from the field and 26% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 36% from the field and 40% from outside. Leipzig won the rebound duel 39-35 and both teams coughed up the ball 15 times.