Richard Freudenberg Powers The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past The Dresden Titans 79-68

There were times the last two seasons where the BCM gym in Frankfurt seemed like an unstoppable shooting gallery as there was a sniper on the premises, but the 185cm Alaska native guard wasn´t giving a clinic with bullets, but with a basketball. Travis Thompson gave the the word sniper a new meaning during his stay with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors leading the Pro B team into the playoffs both seasons and reaching the Pro B final in 2016. In his first season he averaged 16.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 1.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 48.2%, 3PT: 43.6%, FT: 88.6% and in his second season the ex Alaska-Anchorage. (NCAA2) standout who hit at least one trey in 41 games in a row and finished as second all-time in three pointers passing German legend Hansi Gnad on his last shot improved his stats last season in all facets averaging 19.2ppg, 4.2rpg, 3.1apg, 1.6spg, FGP: 58.9%, 3PT-2(43.1%), FT: 90.0%. He also gave the name scoring consistency a new meaning as he came to play every night and scored in double figures in 39 of 42 Pro B games with Frankfurt. Who could forget his massive 36 point explosion against Lich where he dropped 10 trey´s or other huge scoring games like his 33 point effort against Leipzig or 32 points against the Dragons Rhondorf. Two seasons ago, he had a fine 4 game series against his future team as he scored 19 points twice, 20 points and 17 points in the regular season and playoffs. Already then one had an inkling that the American who has never disliked a rim anywhere might be heading east the next season as then head coach Steven Clauss had a long chat with him after the last playoff game in Frankfurt. Instead the American remained in Frankfurt for another season, but this season has become one of the Titans leaders on the club despite not having totally exploded as he is averaging a solid, but not impressive 13,8ppg, 5,0rpg and 1,4apg, but his outside shooting as always has been spot on as he is shooting 42,4% coming into the game against in Frankfurt. Thompson arrived back to an old stomping ground with the 3-3 Dresden Titans as they faced the 3-3 Fraport Skyliners Juniors, but was unable to leave the gym with a big smile as his team lost 79-68 scoring only 11 points. After the game the Alaska native reminisced about his two years in Frankfurt and explained why Dresden couldn´t pull out the victory. “It was nice to be back and see familiar faces. Last season I spent a lot of time with Isaac Bonga and Garai Zeeb and now we were opponents. I think I only scored less than 11 points once in the BCM. It is different this season with more talent and we have many good shooters. My best memories in this gym was the 36 point game against Lich and beating Ehingen in the final. We started the game well, but then got in a slump missing easy baskets and Frankfurt was able to get transition baskets. Frankfurt shot the ball very well in the second half especially Richard Freudenberg”, stressed Dresden Titan Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors  had a terrible start, but put it all together in the second half and had too much fire power for Dresden. “We came out very slow. We knew we had so much more talent and we forgot how to use it. Once we got in a flow and upped our intensity, we started to pull away. We did a better job defending and played with pride”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Junior Alex Fountain.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dresden Titan Steven Bennet after the 79-68 loss against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in Frankfurt

After dressing only 8 players in Rhondorf four days ago, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors met Dresden and had a deep 12 man rotation and had BBL license players Isaac Bonga, Richard Freudenberg and Garai Zeeb back on board as was Tobias Jahn who had missed the last game. In the first few minutes, there were two teams on the floor, but seemingly only Dresden totally mentally focused as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors seemed to be very far away and not in the BCM. The Dresden Titans sped out to a 12-0 lead before Frankfurt head coach Sebastian Gleim could even flinch Dresden got going quickly and got massive support from ex BBL player Helge Baues who played 12 games with Bremerhaven scored twice inside as his quickness was difficult to contain, ex Nordlingen sniper Janek Schmidkunz and Travis Thompson nailed three´s However even after the timeout, Dresden continued to do how they pleased on the offensive end extending their lead to 18-3 as they continued to pour in the trey´s as ex Speyer forward Sebastian Heck connected as did Thompson again. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to get a Cosmo Gruehn three and were aggressive getting to the free throw line but Jahn and Jules Akodo could only make one shot and trailed 20-8 after 10 minutes. “Frankfurt´s offense wasn´t working and looked timid while their defense lacked aggressiveness. The Hecker and Gruehn three´s got them back in the game as they finally calmed down”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. The Dresden Titans were shooting 50% from the field and 8ß% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 13% from the field and 27% from outside. Dresden were ruling the boards 14-8 and had one turnover while Frankfurt had three turnovers.

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Miles Schmidt-Scheuber interviewing Dresden Titan Janek Schmidkunz after dropping 12 points in a loss against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in Frankfurt

In the second quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to up their game as their flow was slowly starting and erased the bad start shocking the Dresden Titans with a 13-1 run to deadlock the game at 21-21. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors demonstrated their vast offensive arsenal with inside out play as Zeeb drained a trey and Richard Freudenberg continued to be consistent nailing a trey and using his quick first step from the baseline to get by his man and score aggressively in the paint. Four year man Armin Trtovac grabbed an offensive rebound and made a put back while also hitting free throws. Isaac Bonga tied the score with a beautiful left handed lay in that looked so easy like if he was on a Sunday stroll. The game remained even and Frankfurt would have to wait until shortly before halftime before being rewarded with their first lead of the game. Dresden got baskets from ex Giessen guard Steven Bennett, Thompson and Baues to hold the lead, while Frankfurt got buckets from Zeeb, Jahn and Bonga to trail only 29-27. Frankfurt then allowed a big defensive play to spark their offense which led to their first lead of the game. Sometimes basketball can be so easy when the ball falls into your hands as if GOD had thrown it down from the sky. Ex Kronberg guard Flex Hecker had his back to the play was sprinting to the wing to cover his man as the pass hit the back of his head and as he turned around the ball fell into his hands which led the team on the fast break and Freudenberg closed the break with a trey as Frankfurt led 30-29. “I haven´t had a steal like that before. That was an impressive steal. He didn´t know where the ball was and it just landed in his hands”, smiled Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors however didn´t go into halftime with the lead as after Baues and Zeeb traded buckets, it was the German big man Baues who has played 89 Pro A games with teams Cuxhaven, Hamburg and Dresden hitting a three giving the guests the slim 33-32 advantage at the break. “Frankfurt got settled in the second quarter starting to move the ball better, rebound better and defend better. Richard Freudenberg also continued to make shots”, added Quantez Robertson. The Dresden Titans were shooting 39% from the field and 56% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 41% from the field and 50% from the three point line. Frankfurt was leading the rebound battle 20-28, but had 10 turnovers while Dresden had nine turnovers.

In the third quarter the game remained tight until the last three minutes where the Fraport Skyliners Juniors went on a run to get their first real commanding lead of the contest. The game went back and forth in the first seven minutes as there were seven lead changes. Frankfurt got vital production from their guards Zeeb and Akodo as well as a 20 footer from Fountain while Dresden got a trey from Thompson as well as production inside from their big men Baues and Spaniard Mailk Fall as Dresden led 41-40. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then found some daylight and continued to execute better while getting consistent stops going on a 12-2 run to take the commanding 52-43 lead. In the run, it was Jules Akodo who scored a lay in and made free throws while their two big snipers Freudenberg and Fountain connected on three´s. Dresden had a bad let down on offense taking tough shots and missed crucial free throws. Janek Schmidkunz closed out the third quarter with a trey as Dresden trailed only 52-46. “We focused more on defense and our energy in the third quarter. In the first half we relied too much on talent and not on effort. We started to gel more in the third getting a flow and playing more confident”, added Alex Fountain. “Frankfurt moved the ball well and had tough closeouts and a Fountain was rewarded standing on the three point line”, stressed Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 39% from the field and 40% from the parking lot while the Dresden Titans were shooting 38% from the field and 44% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 34-26 rebound edge, but 13 turnovers while Dresden had only 12 turnovers.

In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept the lead, but continued to be challenged by the Dresden Titans as they could never totally shake off their opponent. Dresden came out with a lot of energy going on a timely 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 52-51 as German Marc Nagora who was teammates with Dennis Schroder in Braunschweig and played 40 Pro B games with that club hit a three and Heck made free throws. Frankfurt got buckets from Jahn with an offensive rebound and put back and Freudenberg hit a trey, but had to work hard for everything as Dresden didn´t let down getting a Nagora offensive rebound and put back and Heck lay in to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-55. Key for Frankfurt was that they had no let downs on the offensive end in that whenever Dresden scored they had an answer. Fountain once again proved why you can´t leave him alone nailing a wide open three as Frankfurt led 60-55. Armin Trtovac scored free throws and made a lay in while Dresden countered with another Baues lay in and Steven Bennett lay up cutting the Frankfurt lead to 64-59. After a Schmidkunz trey cut the Frankfurt lead 64-62, Frankfurt stepped up their play in crunch-time going on a 8-1 run to extend their lead to 72-63 setting a first signal to Dresden that they were wanting to shut the door on them now. In the run, Frankfurt did a good job catching Dresden napping getting a transition bucket from Akodo, lay in from Fountain and fifth trey from Freudenberg. “Freudenberg is so important for us. He is so versatile being able to play many positions and has a high IQ. His length helps us so much on both ends of the court and he can always change the game”, added Alex Fountain. The Dresden Titans had one last hurrah ready going on a desperate 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 72-68 with 1.16 to play in the game. Schmidkunz and Baues scored. However Frankfurt slammed the door shut on Dresden as once again they left Fountain wide open and he punished them with a another trey for the 75-68 lead .Zeeb made free throws and Fountain closed out the game with a hard two handed dunk. “I think our talent and size advantage was key at the end. We had a lot of confidence and knew we could score at will at any time”, stressed Alex Fountain. “They hit big shots and played tough defense forcing us to tough shots”, added Travis Thompson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Richard Freudenberg with 17 points. Alex Fountain added 16 points and Garai Zeeb had 12 points. The Dresden Titans were led by Helge Baues with 22 points. Janek Schmidkunz added 12 points and Travis Thompson had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 43% from outside. The Dresden Titans shot 38% from the field and 45% from outside. Frankfurt controlled the battle on the boards 46-36, but had 15 turnovers while Dresden coughed up the ball 13 times.

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