Five weeks ago the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were at their peak and seemed invincible. After being rattled for three quarters by the Dragons Rhondorf who had arrived at the game in Frankfurt more than fashionably late and got on the court five minutes after tip off, the home team finally snuck out of their 30 minute funk controlling the fourth quarter outscoring their opponent 20-9 and winning 84-77. At that moment the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were riding a four game winning streak and had a positive 8-5 record. However since then they have fallen off their peak like a novice mountain climber who shouldn´t be attempting to scale to the peak, but rather be chilling in a mountain chalet in front of a fire sipping hot chocolate munching on some crisp delectable biscuits discussing where American politics will go in 2018. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors currently were wrapped up in an annoying three game losing streak having lost to Iserlohn, FC Bayern Munich and the ScanPlus Baskets and were sporting a 8-8 record. Injuries and always changing rosters on account of BBL games where their double license players are sometimes unavailable has affected their play and chemistry from not properly developing. The organization was reeling for a successful experience to get back on track to gain their first victory in 2018 and what better way then for the doormat of the league to visit them. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe arrived in Frankfurt with a desolate 2-14 record having only defeated FC Bayern Munich and Iserlohn, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t take this game as a cakewalk as they had narrowly escaped Karlsruhe earlier this season with a 73-70 win where they allowed 12 three´s, but did a good job taking care of the ball coughing it up only 8 times. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe had revenge on their minds and it looked good for a half as they controlled the game, but in the second half the Fraport Skyliners Juniors staged a massive comeback and were led by Garai Zeeb who powered home 13 points in the fourth quarter leading to the 76-69 victory. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed a lot of heart in the fourth quarter and stuck together as a team in hard times and after the win, German U-20 national player Garai Zeeb was happy the club got the win. “We didn´t have the right intensity in the first half. We were a bit tired from the morning practice, but that shouldn´t be an excuse. We gave up too many open shots and didn´t rebound well in the first half. In the second half, our intensity was better, we fought harder and made big hustle plays. We got more stops and were able to play transition and got to the hoop better making better decisions”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors guard Garai Zeeb. In the first half, KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe looked like a playoff team, but in the second half, they showed why they have belonged to the worst teams in the Pro B south as they continued to defend solidly, but their offense totally collapsed. After the loss, German point guard Aaron Schmitz explained why the team had to suffer another loss. “Our problem is that we can play one good half of basketball, but are unable to play the way we want to for 40 minutes. We fought the whole game, but the Frankfurt run in the third quarter erased our whole good first half. Our offense wasn´t good anymore in the second half, we suffered too many turnovers and allowed too many easy baskets”, added ex BG Karlsruhe guard Aaron Schmitz.
KIT SC Gequos Karlsruhe got off to a good start getting out to a 9-2 lead as American veteran Jeremy Black scored on a hook shot over two Skyliners , ex Bayer Giants Leverkusen player Florian Rothenberg made a key offensive rebound and put back, 30 year old Croatian sharp shooter Luka Drezga nailed a trey and 22 year old German Marcel Davis hit a three pointer. KIT SC Gequos Karlsruhe found their rhythm right of the bat and were displaying good ball movement while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors seemed a bit sluggish and it showed as they couldn´t get into their sets well. KIT SC Gequos Karlsruhe was doing a good job clogging the lane and playing a tight zone so Frankfurt had to shoot from outside and finally got some luck as ex Houston Baptist(NCAA) forward Alex Fountain hit a jumper and British youth national player Jules Akodo hit a trey to cut the opponents lead to 11-7. However KIT SC Gequos Karlsruhe continued to move the ball well and execute as 20 year old 208cm center Eyke Prahst made a tough shot in the lane and ex Rhondorf guard Aaron Schmitz tested his 42% proving why he is the team´s best three point shooter this season connecting on a trey extending KIT SC Gequos Karlsruhe´s lead to 16-7. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got a spark from their bench from 2017 NBBL top scorer Felix Hecker, ex USC Freiburg center Cosmo Gruehn and ex Ehingen center Tobias Jahn led them on a 10-2 run to grab their first lead of the game 17-16. In the run, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got big trey´s from Hecker and Gruehn as the team ball movement was better, Jahn cleaned up in the paint area and the defense closed down top scorer Luka Drezga and limited him to two points only. Ex BC Spartak Pleven (Bulgaria-NBL) guard Davorin Kuntic gave KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe the 18-17 lead back with free throws closing out the first quarter. “Frankfurt started off slowly, but calmed down and slowed down the game. The bench came up big as they got a big spark from Hecker and Gruehn. Frankfurt got some momentum rebounded better and had more looks”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe was shooting 46% from the field and 27% from outside and grabbed 9 rebounds and had four turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 42% from the field and 43% from outside and hauled down 9 rebounds and coughed up the ball 5 times.
KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe heightened their game in the second quarter as their zone became more lethal as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t muster anything in the first four minutes on offense and that allowed the opponent to grab a big lead. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe went on a big 6-0 run and stopped Frankfurt´s first 6 possessions to extend their lead to 25-17. With Drezga being shut down, KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe tried it further with Kuntic and he gave the team the needed spark showing his aggressiveness as he nailed a trey, made free throws and Black made a lay in after getting the lob pass from Kuntic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t come to terms with the KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe zone as they were stuffed time in and time out opting to go inside more than just shooting over the zone. Frankfurt finally got it´s first field goal of the quarter at the 6.24 mark as Akodo found daylight and snuck to the rim finishing with a left hand lay in to cut the KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe lead to 25-19. However KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe continued to keep the comfortable lead as Kuntic got into the zone hitting back to back trey´s for the 31-21 lead. Frankfurt´s only bright spot was Tobias Jahn who made a tap in and made free throws to cut KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe lead to 31-23 as his aggressiveness was vital for Frankfurt staying in the game. However the story for KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe continued to be Kuntic as he was a one man scoring machine. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe didn´t get much support from others except for a Prahst tap in. Kuntic made a steal and coast to coast sprint for two easy points and hit a step back jumper keeping KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe ahead 37-28 at halftime. Frankfurt got key buckets from Gruehn who stroked home a three and Jahn scored in the lane as Zeeb made a nice play on the penetration with the lob pass. A big weak spot for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors was the inability of Zeeb to get more involved in the scoring department as he had the big goose egg at the break. But that would change in the second half. “Frankfurt had too many turnovers and weren´t getting back on defense or getting defensive rebounds. They found a go to guy with Kuntic who carried the team. They made shots and attacked the rim well”, stressed ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe was shooting 48% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 16 rebounds and 11 turnovers. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from the three point line and had secured 18 rebounds, but coughed up the ball 16 times.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors made their move and got back into the game as the guard terror of Zeeb and Akodo sparked them. Marcel Davis got KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe on the board first in the second half with a sweet trey for the 40-28 lead. However one couldn´t see on the face of Zeeb that he was cooking mad as he is one of those players that shows little emotion, but one knew that sooner or later he would get going and did. Zeeb made a lay in at the 8.46 minute mark his first field goal of the game and free throw and Akodo took advantage of a big KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe mistake as he was fouled behind the three point line. Akodo made all three free throws and suddenly Frankfurt trailed only 40-34. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had heightened their defense being more aggressive and were getting into the passing lanes better as they were forcing more deflections. After a KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe timeout, they responded with a Prahst jumper for the 42-34 lead, but that would be all the scoring they would do for a while as Frankfurt cruised out on another big run scoring 8 unanswered points to deadlock the contest at 42-42. Frankfurt did a super job spreading the ball around as they got a huge lift from German four year man Konstantin Schubert who scored back to back baskets with two buckets in the paint, Jahn scored inside and Fountain made a tap in as they couldn´t buy a basket inside in the first half, now was scoring at ease in the paint. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe then found some daylight from Tampa, Florida native Jeremy Black who got to the free throw line twice hitting all free throws. Ex Speyer German guard Benjamin Kaufhold dropped a trey as KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe led 49-44. However that small burst of offense didn´t impress the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they closed out the third quarter with a potent 7-0 run as Zeeb gave an early indication of what would come in the fourth quarter as he led the run and closed out the third quarter with a trey and steal and lay in giving Frankfurt their second lead of the game 50-49. “The most important thing was that we got more stops. We used our tempo and got more easy baskets. We were more awake and played with more intensity limiting their easy baskets”, stressed ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb. “We didn´t run our plays the way we should of, had no ball movement and didn´t hit our shots”, commented Aaron Schmitz. “We weren´t ready to play, but were to relaxed. We are used to keeping leads, but didn´t. We need to build on our leads”, warned ex Science City Jena center Jeremy Black. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 43% from the field and 26% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds, but 21 turnovers. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe were shooting 38% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and 26 rebounds and coughed up the ball 17 times.
In the fourth quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Garai Zeeb as one play the corner loaded pick and roll got the best of KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe as they couldn´t stop it and couldn´t get their offense going either. In the first few minutes, Frankfurt got free throws from Zeeb and a lay in from Jahn while KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe got two huge trey´s from Schmitz who tied the game at 55-55. “He was crucial for us. He kept us in the game in a time where our offense wasn´t working”, stated Jeremy Black. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then went on a big 12-2 run extending their lead to 67-57. In the run, Garai Zeeb stroked home 8 points showing just how lethal he can be and still had a chip on his shoulder from his personal scoreless first half. “I knew that I hadn´t done enough in the first half. It isn´t often that I am held scoreless in a half. I was frustrated and knew I had to become more aggressive and get to the rim more”, smiled Garai Zeeb. However the game wasn´t decided yet as KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe continued to battle and show their heart as they stayed on Frankfurt´s heels. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe came back going on a 8-1 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 68-65. In the run, KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe got 5 points from Kuntic and a Schmitz lay in with 1,46 minutes to go. However Zeeb continued to be in the zone connecting on an off balance shot to extend their lead to 72-67. Frankfurt got big stops in the last minute and Michael Fuss and Alex Fountain free throws sealed the victory for Frankfurt 76-69. “We beat them with one play. We noticed that they couldn´t defend our corner loaded pick and roll. Jules Akodo and I worked on the pick and roll and we did a good job deciding on if we shoot or pass and it worked out well for us”, stressed Garai Zeeb. “They used one play with the corner loaded pick and roll and we couldn´t stop it. It was the same what Frankfurt did earlier in the season in our place”, added Aaron Schmitz. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Garai Zeeb with 19 points, six rebounds and six assists. Alex Fountain and Jules Akodo contributed 12 points apiece and Tobias Jahn added 10 points and 10 rebounds. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe were led by Davorin Kuntic with 21 points. Aaron Schmitz added 13 points and Jeremy Black 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 48% form the field and 27% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 26 turnovers. KIT SC GEQUOS Karlsruhe shot 40% form the field and 28% from outside and grabbed 29 rebounds and coughed up the ball 22 times.