Kayel Locke Powers The Giessen 46ers in Crunch Time Past the Fraport Skyliners 102-90

It may only be preseason, but the majority of the EasyCredit BBL teams not only have the core of their roster battling in preseason games in order to get tuned up for the upcoming season, but also five to seven import players on the stat sheet to help get their chemistry rolling except for the Fraport Skyliners who like every August/September in the last years have had to scramble through the preseason with their few import players that had stayed on board and the rest of their young kids rounded out by some of their farm team players from the Pro B. It wouldn´t have been half as bad had their three veterans Quantez Robertson, Mike Morrison and Jonas Botterman-Wolfarth been present, but they were missing in action and one suddenly had to rely on the future with kids Isaac Bonga and Richard Freudenberg. The good news was that Mr Canada Philip Scrubb was back after missing last season on account of injury and had personal expectations as high as Mount Logan and was as hungry as a famished tourist in Ottawa getting ready to chow down at the trendy eatery Fauna and his stellar play showed. The trio of Scrubb, Bonga and Freudenberg may not have the experience of a Mayo, Gamble or Klein of the Telekom Baskets Bonn, but they are like a fountain of youth as the other three teams at the Giessen weekend tournament of Bonn, BG Goettingen and the 46ers could only dream of having young talent like that on their roster. The Fraport Skyliners weren´t rewarded for their furious comeback against the Telekom Baskets Bonn losing 82-76 a day earlier as 17year old German wunderkind Isaac Bonga made his first real serious breakthrough in a BBL setting as he filled up the stat sheet like a Lebron scoring 16 points, hauling down 10 boards and dishing out five assists. On Sunday the Fraport Skyliners were playing for pride in the game for third place facing home team Giessen 46ers who stunk up the building a day earlier losing by almost 40 points to BG Goettingen, but on this day the troops of head coach Ingo Fryer not only came to play, but played a well rounded  consistent game that Frankfurt couldn´t combat despite their second half comeback losing 102-90. After the game ex NC-Greensboro (NCAA) forward Kayel Locke was relaxed doing his postgame stretching and even though he didn´t lead his team in scoring, his overall energy level at both ends of the court infected his team to totally rebound form their embarrassing performance the day before. “We were too sluggish against BG Goettingen and against Frankfurt we came out with more energy especially on the defensive end where one could see each man was trusting each other to help each other. We didn´t get good shots against BG Goettingen, but better one´s against Frankfurt and made them”, stressed  KB Bashkimi Prizren (Kosovo-SuperLeague) forward Kayel Locke. The Fraport Skyliners lost their second game in a row of the Preseason and at times there wasn´t a player over 20 years of age on the court and second year man Canadian national player Philip Scrubb transformed into the leader with so many veterans absent and played his heart out especially in the second half leading his team back into the game, but the club just was unable to step up together as a team when it needed it most in crucial moments of the game. “This was our second game in a row where we didn´t start out well and weren´t focused on defense with no communication. In the second half, we communicated better on defense, got defensive stops which led to easy buckets on transition. We showed a good sign in the second half, but we need to bring it for 40 minutes”, warned Philip Scrubb.

The Giessen 46ers jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners right off the bat gaining the 7-2 lead as their two main offensive threats Kayel Locke and Austin Hollins scored and new American and ex E.Carolina (NCAA) forward Jamar Abrams showed his shooting expertise nailing a pull up jumper.

Frankfurt couldn´t muster much on offense getting a Scrubb trey and Richard Freudenberg three, but Giessen had the complete package on offense which was led by the aggressive Locke who was all over the offensive board reminding one of an undersized Kyle Hines of CSKA Moscow as he battled and battled and battled usually getting his way hauling down tough rebounds and getting put backs. Frankfurt also was having some misfortune with loose balls as they just couldn´t find a sound rhythm on offense. The preseason is a time when you can test things and usually in the case of the Fraport Skyliners, they always have an abundance of youth playing extra minutes thus gaining more experience. Frankfurt got some fortune getting a big 8-2 run to cut the Giessen lead to 20-19 as their youth came up big as third year man 20 year old German Garai Zeeb figured in all three buckets hitting a trey, making a beautiful left handed lay in traffic and firing the ball from the wing to the other finding 18 year old ex Kronberg talent Felix Hecker.on the ball reversal for three. However the Frankfurt run didn´t impress Giessen with this huge cut into their lead ending the first quarter with a strong 7-2 run to lead 27-21. In the run, Giessen got vital support from young German talent Bjarne Kraushaar and other German talent Mauricio Marin while Locke closed out the 10 minute period with a running left handed hook finishing with six points and six boards. “Giessen played more together, moved the ball better and rebounded better than against BG Goettingen. Giessen also came out with more confidence shooting the ball and Kayel Locke kept them together at both ends of the court”, stressed ex  Sacramento St. (NCAA) and Giessen 2 forward Nick Hornsby. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 52% from the field and 38% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 50% from the field and 50% from outside. Giessen had the 14-5 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Frankfurt had two turnovers.

In the second quarter the Giessen 46ers continued their rampage on offense and stepped up their defense halting the Fraport Skyliner´s first 11 possessions going on a 11-0 run to extend their lead to 38-21 which felt like a lot more, but wasn´t because they were unable to connect on some plays they should have. In the run, ex Xavier (NCAA) guard Dee Davis nailed a trey, German veteran Benjamin Lischka connected on a 20 footer and snuck inside and split the defense for a bucket and Austin Hollins who is the son of ex NBA guard of the Philadelphia 76ers Lionel also waltzed through the Frankfurt defense as their communication on defense was nonexistent. Giessen upped their defense once more especially getting very aggressive play from young Alen Pjanic and upped their tempo something Frankfurt was unable to contend with. Konstantin Shubert finally got Frankfurt´s first points on free throws as almost six minutes had been played. Giessen continued to have a bit more fortune than Frankfurt in some area´s like getting a loose ball that cherry picker Abrams picked up and put home and the kid Kraushaar making a tough individual play that usually arise when a team is leading huge, but he was rewarded with nothing as net as Giessen led 43-36. Frankfurt finally achieved it´s first field goal of the second quarter with 2.48 to play by Philip Scrubb with a lay in cutting the Giessen advantage to 43-28. Giessen went into the break strong going on a 8-3 run to lead 51-31. In the run, Giessen got to the line twice and got easy baskets inside from Abrams and Locke who continued to destroy in the paint. “Giessen got good defensive rebounds and rotated well giving Frankfurt many contested shots and they were just flying around on defense. On offense they continued to attack well led by Locke and Lischka”, stressed Giessen 46ers 2 forward Nick Hornsby. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 53% from the field and 40% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 34% from the field and 31% from the three point line. Giessen had the 24-18 rebound edge and four turnovers while Frankfurt had nine turnovers.

In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners had their most shining moment in the game coming back and erasing the 20 point Giessen lead and trailing only by seven points. Basketball is always a game of runs and as Giessen had theirs in the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners had theirs in the third quarter cruising out on a 12-2 run cutting the Giessen lead to 53-43. With Frankfurt in a rough spot and no other veterans on the floor, it was only obvious that if there was anyone that would get Frankfurt back into the game then it was Philip Scrubb who had won 7 titles at Carleton in the CIS and knew how to perform in tough situations. He scored seven points in the run picking his spots and drilling home two trey´s while getting the and one after being fouled behind the three point line. Freudenberg also gave support with a trey and Kiel hit free throws. However Austin Hollins who played in Finland last season was a real thorn in the side of Frankfurt as he never allowed Frankfurt to get closer as he was performing his own show as he was potent inside out hitting two three´s including one in Bonga´s face and showing his dangerous drive keeping Frankfurt in non striking distance trailing 66-51. Giessen also continued to get support from many players as Davis who was a masterful ball handler got out of a few bad situations to end a play with a floater with a second left on the shot clock and then dropped a trey for the Giessen 71-60 lead. Without Scrubb on the floor and in good form, Frankfurt would have been down by 25, but he continued to showcase his hot hand hitting two more trey´s as did Zeeb as Giessen led only 74-67 after 30 minutes. “We had better ball movement and I was more aggressive. I got easy looks and once I hit shots they changed their defense which opened it up for others on the floor. We were smart on offense and took what the defense gave us”, stressed Philip Scrubb. The Giessen 46ers were shooting 53% from the field and 44% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 48% from the field and 44% from the parking lot. Giessen had the 27-25 rebound lead and nine turnovers while Frankfurt had 12 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to battle and got closer and closer, but in crunch time ran out of gas allowing a 12-0 run that put a sharp dagger into their basketball heart. Frankfurt started strong getting a tip in from young German Armin Trtovac and a Scrubb trey that looked so nonchalantly like Uncle Drew mode aka Kyrie Irving as if he was just putting up shots on the playground. Frankfurt would have gotten a lot closer and quicker in their comeback if it hadn´t been for Benjamin Lischka who supplied the hot hand nailing two three´s and a long two in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. After a Hollins runner, Frankfurt went on a much needed 6-0 run as Zeeb dropped a three and Bonga scored in transition to cut the Giessen lead to 85-80. After a Lischka long three, Frankfurt crawled closer to Giessen´s lead going on a 5-0 run as now Scrubb showed just how lethal of an offensive player he is always knowing in only his second professional season when to score and when to find his teammates as he assisted on Bonga´s three and Kiel´s two handed dunk as suddenly Giessen led only 87-85. “Basketball is a game of runs and we just weathered the storm. We got good coaching and rotations and hit three´s and forced Frankfurt to turnovers”, stressed Kayel Locke. “We were riding the momentum. We did a good job taking them out of their offense when we had to. We were right with them”, stressed Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners had the momentum and seemed like they were going to go for the blow and knockout, but instead the Giessen 46ers turned the tables on Frankfurt going on an unexpected 12-0 run to decide the game leading 99-85. In the run, it was Kayel Locke who saved his best for last being in attack mode and being a beast scoring on a back door cut, nailing a three and making a tip in while Dee Davis set him up for the first two buckets. Hollins added to the offensive onslaught with free throws. After a Trtovac lay in, Davis and Hecker closed out the game trading three pointers. “The whole team stepped up in crunch time. The balls came to me and I made some shots and we trusted each other. Hollins was also big all day long. He was so important playing with high energy starting on the defensive end being active and always pushing the tempo”, stressed Kayel Locke. “We had bad turnovers at the end and didn´t set our defense well at the end and didn´t get good possessions”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Giessen 46ers were led by Austin Hollins with 27 points. Kayel Locke added 20 points and nine rebounds while Benjamin Lischka produced 18 points and Dee Davis had 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Philip Scrubb with 26 points and nine assists. Niklas Kiel added 13 points and 10 boards, Garai Zeeb had 13 points and seven assists while Isaac Bonga supplied 13 points. The Giessen 46ers shot 55% from the field and 54% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 48% from outside. Giessen won the battle on the boards 34-33 and had 12 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 16 times.

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