Even if they don´t want to admit it, guys like Travis Thompson, Garai Zeeb or Konstantin Schubert will never forget the massive one sided drubbing they got last season in the playoffs as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got hammered by Weissenhorn in game one by 69 points, but for some reason, the club has had a knack of rebounding back from tough situations as they came back strong rebounding from that massacre and winning two do or die games in a row and advancing to the pro B finals where they were swept by Ehingen. This season, they had a do or die game on the last game day beating the Giants Nordlingen in fine fashion as they were led by Isaac Bonga who celebrated his first professional triple double. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors slid into the Pro B playoffs with a 4 game winning streak and a lot of momentum, but that came to a crushing halt as they were brought down to reality as they faced top Pro B north team Lok Bernau losing 75-64. German wunderkind Isaac Bonga was close to another triple double as he finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, but the overall team carelessness with taking care of the ball in the second half set their doom as they coughed up the ball 22 times while Lok Bernau has only 10 turnovers thus giving them 12 extra possessions. It was time for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to rebound back again as they had another do or die situation, but they were at home in their own Basketball City Mainhatten living room and still had the memory of their big do or die win against the Giants Nordlingen two weeks ago and wanted to force another do or die game in Bernau and did setting the tone of the game early and breaking away in the second quarter and never looked back as the Frankfurt depth was too much for the Lok Bernau depth as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors brushed aside Lok Bernau 76-61. After the match, a content top scorer Travis Thompson was all smiles reminiscing about the big do or die win. “We came out good early and rebounded well. We moved ball better and Isaac Bonga hit some three´s. We were able to stop their run and were able to make our own run. We also hit many timely shots that helped us get this win”, stressed Alaska native Travis Thompson. After the loss, 31 year old BBL veteran Robert Kulawick who played 294 games in the BBL showed his role model style carrying the water bottles to the locker room something that usually is reserved for the kids was very disappointed with the performance of his team. “We slept at the start and didn´t have the needed intensity which punished us to the end. I have to compliment my team for the comeback, but it came down to not getting stops and then Frankfurt coming back and hitting a three. I have to compliment Frankfurt for holding us to 61 points. They did a very good job”, stressed 2010 Eurochallenge winner Robert Kulawick.
Already in game one in Berlin saw the reunion of two ex Campbellville(NAIA) teammates Rilwan Bakare and Jonas Boehm who played together in the 2011-2012 season and the American got revenge after losing last week end in Berlin. “It was weird playing him again. After we were teammates and I got cut and at that point, I wasn´t sure I would ever play professional basketball. I did finish school and start a professional career, but never thought we would meet again. We battled then in practice and now as opponents. Jonas is a good guy”, stressed Rilwan Bakare. The first quarter was a very even affair, but Lok Bernau only had two leads first at 4-3 courtesy of a Pierre Bland lay in, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had their offense cooking early as they got everyone involved as young German Armin Trtovac scored in bunches barreling his way to the hoop in traffic connecting twice, 20 year old perfect German role player Jamine Knothe nailed home a trey and Chicago native Rilwan Bakare made a hook shot as Frankfurt led 12-7. Lok Bernau then had their first real good offensive run going on a 7-0 run to get their second and last lead of the game at 14-12. In the run, they got good production from Parker-Rivera with free throws, a trey from Florida native Pierre Bland and a runner from the wing from ex Giessen 46er Konstantin Kovalev. However basketball is and will always be a game of runs as Frankfurt closed out the first frame with a 7-0 run as they got all their points from 17 year old 205cm point guard Isaac Bonga who nailed free throws, dropped a trey and made a pretty left handed lay in as Frankfurt led 19-16. “We came out strong and knew that we had to be ready as they are a very good team that have good players at every position. We rebounded very well which helped us though out the game”, stressed Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 58% from the field and 33% from outside while Lok Bernau was shooting 26% from the field and 13% from outside. Frankfurt had the 11-7 rebound edge, but six turnovers while Lok Bernau had two turnovers.
In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors started to break away as they started to move the ball better and suddenly found more open shots against the once very aggressive defense. German Tim Oldenburg got Frankfurt on the board first with a back door lay in as German Garai Zeeb once again presented his keen eye for the teammate with the perfect feed. Frankfurt continued to produce on offense as Bonga continued to have the hot hand from the parking lot as he connected for two trey´s and Stefan Ilzhoefer made a floater for the Frankfurt 29-20 advantage. Frankfurt then went on a 10-3run totally breaking open the game as they extended their lead to 39-23. Everything was falling in for Frankfurt as they had that ST Patricks Day luck while for Lok Bernau, they were suffering easy misses and more in and out´s than head coach Rene Schilling wanted. In the run, Frankfurt was led by Travis Thompson who nailed two three´s and had a lay in on the fast break as Bonga fed him with the pretty no look pass. Ilzhoefer presented the spectators with an acrobatic submarine lay in high off the glass that was the shot of the night. Lok Bernau rode into the break with buckets from German Robert Glockner and Kovalev, but Frankfurt led 42-27. “They weren´t switching as well anymore and we were able to move the ball better. We also got some three´s from Bonga. He has spent extra time in the gym and has become a real option for us from outside”, stressed Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting an overwhelming 62% from the field and 47% form the three point line while Lok Bernau was shooting 28% from the field and 15% from the three point line. Frankfurt led the rebound battle 19-14, but had 10 turnovers while Lok Bernau had six turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors defense rattled Lok Bernau in the first minutes of the thid quarter, but they came back going on a run and getting back into the game. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came into the third quarter upping their defensive to an aggressive form that didn´t suit Lok Bernau as they were denied in their first 7 possessions, but the guests didn´t play too bad defense either as they stopped Frankfurt 5 times, but allowed a trey to Thompson and a runner to Ilzhoefer that gave Lok Bernau their biggest deficit of the night at 47-27. However Lok Bernau recovered well and got back into the game going on a crushing 13-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 51-40. The run was started and sparked by 18 year old German guard Bennet Hundt from the bench who drilled home back to back trey´s which was followed by a Parker-Rivera lay in. German big man Tim Schneider also supplied a three point bomb and alley-op tap in which was given from ex Braunschweig guard Robert Kulawick. Kulawick then had German Nino Valentic jumping up from the bench as he dropped a three as Frankfurt led by only 11 points. Thompson made a runner in the last seconds as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 53-41 after three quarters. “They have a good team and eventually they were going to make a run. We did a good job standing our ground and we made ours. We have many young guys, but they are mature enough and we were able to hold their run and make ours”, added Travis Thompson. “We tried to pressure at the start of the third, but they carried their momentum over from the second quarter. We just stuck with them and came back step by step”, said Robert Kulawick. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 51% from the field and 41% from the parking lot while Lok Bernau was shooting 29% from the field and 24% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 29-27 rebound edge, but 14 turnovers while Lok Bernau had eight turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, Lok Bernau cut the Frankfurt lead down to as much as five, but couldn´t get consistent stops on defense to annoy Frankfurt any more. Lok Bernau got the ball rolling with a 7-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 55-48. A big Kovalev step back trey from the corner at the shot clock buzzer got Lok Bernau the needed self confidence to continue to score on offense, but a Thompson trey didn´t hamper them on offense as they went on a vicious 5-0 as Bennet Hundt connected again from downtown and then they used their big weapon their fast break game as Bland fed Schneider for the huge two handed stuff. However then as so often has been the case this season, Frankfurt relied on their potent team basketball as they just wore down their guests going on a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 66-55. In the run, they got two deadly three pointers from Zeeb and Ilzhoefer. It didn´t help that Lok Bernau got their fifth team foul which put them at the penalty and Frankfurt closed out the game with free throws from Zeeb, Thompson and Bonga held their nerves and made their free throws. “We hit timely shots and closed out the game at the free throw line. We did a good job closing the lane with our bodies”, expressed Travis Thompson. “Frankfurt played a great game. They didn´t let us play our game. Even when we cut the lead down to five in the fourth, they hit big shot after big shot to help them excel”, added Timajh Parker-Rivera. Now it comes down to a do or die game in Bernau Tuesday. The question is how complete will the Fraport Skyliners Juniors be in terms of how many BBL license players will make the trip up north. For Robert Kulawick, it won´t matter who comes, they will be ready. “We have to play with more energy. We will prepare for as if all will be on board. We have to use our home court advantage”, warned Robert Kulawick. “For Frankfurt, it will be a game to see if they can survive the Lok Bernau home court. “We are the eighth seed and have no expectations. The pressure will be on them”, stressed Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Travis Thompson with 23 points. Stefan Ilzhoefer produced 15 points while Isaac Bonga added 14 points. Lok Bernau was led by Pierre Bland with 14 points while Tim Schneider added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 415 from outside while Lok Bernau shot 32% from the field and 25% from outside. Frankfurt won the rebound duel 38-34, but coughed up the ball 19 times while Lok Bernau did 10 times.