Minus the injuries to guys like Mike Morrison and Philip Scrubb and seemingly countless sicknesses in the last weeks, the Fraport Skyliners would be in a lot better position in the EasyCredit standings now and would have a lot more leverage over other potential playoff teams. But the reality of the matter was that there were 10 games left for the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner and the season is far from over. The Fraport Skyliners still have a lot of tough games remaining including two difficult home games against Munich and Bamberg and hard road games against Alba Berlin, Bayreuth, Bonn and Oldenburg. It was no secret that the 2004 BBL champion would get active again on the transfer market and did hauling in guard Jordan Sibert who reached the NCAA Final 4 with Ohio State and NCAA Elite 8 with Dayton and is a huge steal for Gordon Herbert as he was somewhat underappreciated by ex team Mitteldeutscher BC where he was consistent and put up solid stats averaging 12,2ppg, 2,5rpg and 1,0apg and was let go when ex hero Andrew Warren was picked up again after being a main force in the 2004 Fiba Europe Cup moving back to the BBL this season. With Sibert, the Fraport Skyliners got a scorer who will add more scoring consistency to the wing position and give the team a new dimension something they had in abundance last season, but have been lacking this season. The Cincinnati, Ohio native who gained professional experience with the Erie Bay Hawks (D-League) and last season with PAOK Thessaloniki (Greece-A1) who lists Austin Rivers as his most difficult cover in the NCAA and his rebounding as a hidden strength could be the x-factor and the guy that is key for the Fraport Skyliners making the playoffs as the team adds some depth again in the playoff run. It was the Skyliner debut of Jordan Sibert who had only had two practices with the team, but the American had a fine debut with Frankfurt contributing 13 points, three boards, one assist and shot 63% from the field in the 90-82 victory against Gotha. After the win, he had to make the rounds with the local press and was happy with the win and new team. “My goal was to come out and make it simple and knock down some shots. I only knew a few plays so I didn´t have to think so much. I want to make as many shots as possible to help this team win. I felt great on the court hitting some shots and winning. It was good to be back on the court. I did miss some defensive assignments, but I need to be more aggressive in the future”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Jordan Sibert. Hi teammate Philip Scrubb led the team in scoring again, but was content that he had some added firepower on the floor. “He fits our system well. He handles the ball well on ball screen and can shoot the ball. I am surprised that we were able to get him, but we were very lucky”, stressed Philip Scrubb.
The Fraport Skyliners were reeling from their embarrassing loss to 2010 winner BG Goettingen on the road, but met lowly Gotha who were in 17th place and were stinking up arena´s with their seven game losing streak. Some may have predicted a 20 plus win for the Fraport Skyliners before the jump ball, but Gotha proved for 40 minutes that they are a lot better team than their 17th place shows in the standings. They stuck with the Fraport Skyliners for long stretches and even when Frankfurt went on a huge run that many teams couldn´t have recovered from, Gotha stuck to their game plan playing pesky defense and executed well hitting loads of big shots. However in the end, the Fraport Skyliners overpowered them and hit the big shots when they were needed most and made the key stops overcoming Gotha. After the win, Mr Canada Philip Scrubb reflected on the win and had more of the focus of taking it one game at a time instead of trying to do too much math with the remaining 9 games and playoff picture. “Gotha didn´t play like a 17th place team. They play well as a team and their bigs work hard and rebound the ball well. We didn´t execute as well and gave up easy baskets in the second half. We are happy that we won and have to take it one game at a time and move on”, stressed Philip Scrubb. After the loss ex Fraport Skyliner Dane Watts who played with Frankfurt in the 2013-2014 season averaging 11.5ppg, 6.8rpg, 1.0spg in only four games had just returned from a long injury and was disappointed with the outcome after a hard fought effort from his team. “We had the effort and intensity for 40 minutes, but it was small situational things that turned the game around. We did a good job controlling and moving the ball and hit many contested shots. It was just some mental lapses that cost us the game”, added ex Creighton(NCAA) forward Dane Watts.
3,830 fans came out on a chilly late afternoon to support the Fraport Skyliners and witnessed an extremely feisty Gotha team of head coach Ivan Pavic as the game went back and forth as there were 11 lead changes in the first quarter. Quantez Robertson got his team the quick 3-0 advantage as Scrubb made the extra pass and the ex Auburn star hit from the corner. However Gotha didn´t hesitate long getting the lead as American Jerome Randall who has amazing ball handling skills and at times looked like a Nate Robinson as his diminutive stature and quickness gave the Fraport Skyliners headaches all game long. He made a lay in and Serbian Sava Lesic made free throws as Gotha led 4-3. After a Scrubb trey, Gotha continued to execute at a good rate taking the 10-6 lead as two young Germans ex Giessen guard Andy Obst and ex Oldenburg forward Jan Niklas Wimberg connected from down town. Both teams had a rhythm on offense and the game went back and forth as Now Frankfurt stole the lead back with a 5-0 run as ex Bonn center Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman was aggressive on the offensive board making a put back and Robertson scored on transition. Lesic made a tip in giving Gotha the 12-11 lead on the games fifth lead change. Gotha was playing aggressive defense and moving the ball well while Frankfurt was being carried by Scrubb and Robertson. Wolfarth-Bottermann and Wimberg then traded baskets for the sixth and seventh lead changes as Gotha led 15-14. Robertson and Watts then traded buckets and two further lead changes as Gotha led 20-18. Sibert got his first field goal giving Frankfurt the 21-20 advantage and tenth lead change. However it was the tiny Jerome Randle who played at California(NCAA) and Germany is his 10th country as a professional closed out the first quarter scoring in bunches and hit a step back buzzer beater as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 24-21. “Each team is tough in the BBL and when Gotha play well, it will be tough against them. They hit tough shots and had a lot of energy putting us on our heels”, stressed Philip Scrubb. Gotha was shooting 50% from the field and 44% from outside and had gotten 8 rebounds and had 2 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 36% from outside and had grabbed 9 rebounds and had four turnovers.
The game stayed close in the second quarter for the first half, but Gotha was able to get a small lead only see it get trampled on by the Fraport Skyliners with a huge run which was able to carry them to a double digit lead. Robertson came to play and continued to be aggressive on offense as he hit a trey from the corner deadlocking the contest at 24-24. Super mighty athlete Retin Obasohan was oozing with athletic sting the whole game and was always looking to dunk and in a coast to coast sprínt finished with a two handed slam as Gotha retrieved the lead 26-24. Finish national player Shawn Huff followed with a big trey giving the Fraport Skyliners the 28-26 advantage. However Gotha stayed aggressive and totally surprised Frankfurt with a 10-3 run to regain the lead 36-31. In the run, Gotha got another highlight film dunk from Obasohan, ex Alba Berlin NBBL player Filip Stanic made a tip in and Wimberg nailed a three and hit free throws. Gotha was playing very intelligent at both ends of the floor as Frankfurt seemed a bit dazed and confused as they couldn´t match Gotha´s intensity and aggressiveness. However basketball is a game of runs and the Fraport Skyliners magically pulled out a lethal 19-0 run to totally take over the game leading 50-36 and giving Gotha head coach Ivan Pavic some new grey hairs. In the run, It was EasyCredit BBL scoring ace Philip Scrubb who delivered with 11 points. He scored with his step back and also hit free throws. He also found his teammates as Scrubb was at his best. Wolfarth-Bottermann also supplied a dunk and Robertson added another trey for insurance. It didn´t hurt Frankfurt either that Gotha served up two technical fouls from head coach Pavic and Jerome Randle. Gotha found out of their funk closing out the second quarter with a much needed 6-2 run to trail Frankfurt only 52-42. Lesic gave Gotha some stability with a lay in and free throws. “We got stops in the run and the two technical fouls helped as well. This shifted the momentum to us. We defended better and got some transition baskets also”, added Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 415 from the three point line and had hauled down 19 rebounds and had had seven turnovers. Gotha was shooting 44% from the field and 33% from the three point line and they had secured 16 rebounds and had six turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners held their lead in the third quarter, but could never completely shake Gotha as they let them hang around. Both team´s offenses found their rhythm at once as Sibert scored in bunches with a runner and lay in and Obst kept Gotha on Frankfurt´s door step with two trey´s. Webster also was aggressive hitting two buckets with a trey and pull up jumper as the Fraport Skyliners continued to have the double digit lead of 61-50. The Fraport Skyliners were playing unselfish basketball and executing well while Gotha was playing for their lives and surviving. Obasohan showed his extreme athleticism as he got to the hole using his quick first step, but each time Gotha struck, Frankfurt struck back as Florida native Mike Morrison made a massive two handed dunk as Frankfurt led 63-50. Gotha then saw some daylight escaping out on a key 6-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 63-56. In the run Gotha was aided by a Daniel Schmidt trey who never made his breakthrough with Bamberg, a Stanic tip in and a Obasohan free throw. Gotha upped their defensive pressure forcing Frankfurt to back to back 24 second shot clock turnovers while capitalizing on offense. The Fraport Skyliners did keep the lead going into the fourth quarter with the 68-60 advantage thanks to a Tai Webster lay in high off the glass. “Gotha did a better job attacking and getting into the paint and getting easy lay ups. We didn´t contain the ball well, but we still had a comfortable cushion going into the fourth quarter”, warned Philip Scrubb. “We never gave up fighting the whole time. We hit a few shots and made stops where the game shifted”, stated ex Ulm forward Dane Watts. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 42% from the parking lot and had secured 29 rebounds and had 12 turnovers while Gotha was shooting 43% from the field and 38% from the parking lot and had secured 23 rebounds and had seven turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to have control of the game, but did get a mini scare by Gotha in crunch-time, but stuck it out winning with grace. Gotha continued to fight like there was no tomorrow and relied on their import players as Randle showed again why he was a great asset scoring 7 unanswered points as he displayed fine inside out basketball hitting a trey, a pull up jumper and using his speed for a lay in as his self confidence was sky high as Gotha trailed only 73-67. Scrubb and Lesic then traded baskets as Frankfurt had the narrow 75-69 lead. Frankfurt also was playing with confidence and continued to work for good shots and got them as Huff dropped another three giving Frankfurt the lofty 80-71 advantage. Gotha made one last push going on a timely 7-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 82-78 with 2,35 minutes to go. In the run, Gotha made some big defensive plays while Webster missed a wide open shot. On offense Gotha got valuable production from Obst who nailed a trey from about 9 meters and got some good inside work from Lesic getting a lay in. After a Frankfurt time out, they struck with a 6-0 run deciding the game as they led 88-78. In the run, Mike Morrison did what he does best getting open inside and ramming the ball home and Webster hit a three. Frankfurt got key stops on Randle and Obst and Obasohan and Morrison traded dunks to end the contest. “When we came out of the timeout, we were confident that we would pull it out. We got good shots on offense and executed. We did a good job getting baskets and stops when we needed them most”, stressed Philip Scrubb. “We didn´t execute on defense at the end. We had some mental lapses. We should have fouled Morrison before he kicked the ball over to Webster for the three”, added Dane Watts. The Fraport Skyliners had six guys in double figures as Philip Scrubb led all scorers with 18 points and six assists. Quantez Robertson had 16 points and six rebounds. Tai Webster added 14 points and Jordan Sibert contributed 13 points. The two big men Wolfarth-Bottermann and Morrison combined for 21 points. Gotha was led by Sava Lesic with 19 points and six rebounds. Jerome Randle and Andreas Obst added 14 points apiece and Jan Niklas Wimberg had 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 55% from the field and 42% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 14 turnovers. Gotha shot 46% from the field and 34% from outside and had 32 rebounds and nine turnovers.