After losing a tight 95-92 encounter a few weeks ago on the road against 2010 Eurochallenge winner BG Goetiingen, 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner Fraport Skyliners learned their lesson after a win at home against Gotha going on the road to Bonn and not getting lost in crunch-time again like in Goettingen, but were sparked by a strong 29 point third quarter and had the nerves at the end to pull out the tight 79-75 victory against the Telekom Baskets Bonn. But the question was did the Fraport Skyliners learn their lesson from their embarrassing loss in Giessen shortly before Christmas 2017. In that game the Fraport Skyliners traveled to Giessen in body, but not mind losing 83-59 which for many belonged to the worst losses in the last years. The Fraport Skyliners came into the game having got off on the wrong side of the bed while Giessen played with a lot of heart and at a high intensity which Frankfurt couldn´t match all game long. Giessen played good team basketball outshooting Frankfurt and pounding them on the boards 43-29 and despite getting 17 points from ex FC Bayern Munich center John Bryant, it was the overpowering shooting duo of Canadian Jahenns Manigat and Mauricio Marin who combined for 34 points and nailed combined nine of the teams 10 three´s on the night. Even if the game was more than three months ago, one could be sure that Fraport Skyliners head coach Gordon Herbert still remembered that dreadful loss well and made the needed adjustment for the always entertaining Hessen derby. The Fraport Skyliners entered the game having won three of their last four games while the Giessen 46ers came into the contest having lost three of their last four, but had beat the Walter Tigers Tuebingen 106-83 and were still dreaming of the playoffs as they were in 11th place, but needed a win on the road in Frankfurt to keep it alive. It was an entertaining and tight game up to the break, but in the third quarter the Giessen 46ers played as if they had been totally reborn and the Fraport Skyliners played like they were from Mars giving up a 17-0 run and trailed by 28 points, which led to a 86-60 loss and a date with head coach Gordon Herbert at 7.30 Friday morning for a video session as a punishment.
The Giessen 46ers didn´t only sweep the season series, but did it in amazing fashion outscoring Frankfurt 169-119. After the shocking Frankfurt loss, Gordon Herbert had his team in the dressing room for 15 minutes and after a few players emerged with Quantez Robertson and Shawn Huff wholooked small as their own children after the Herbert post game speech and big Man German Jonas Wolfarth-Botterman tried to convey to the press what had gone wrong. “Coach and us were frustrated after this loss. We never found to our game and it is difficult to say why. We had a tough time reacting to their shooting. We couldn´t play our plays and didn´t play together. We didn´t get many outside opportunities and didn´t get rebounds”, added ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann.
After the big sweep, the Giessen 46ers visited the hundreds of Giessen fans and celebrated with them high up in the stands. “We knew that Frankfurt was a good shooting three point team and our goal was it to stick on their shooters and on pick and roll stay on their shooters and not over help. We defended well and took care of the ball well up to the fourth quarter. We were able to play our game and didn´t let them play theirs. This was a big win for us in our goal to get to the playoffs. We will take it game to game and if we make the playoffs great and if not we will have been proud of a great season”, warned Giessen 46er center Mahir Agva. “This was a great experience. I couldn´t play in the first game because I was injured. I am really happy for our fans and appreciate their support. I like being around the fans, because they really support us. It was really loud up in the stands when we were celebrating, a lot louder than I expected”, smiled Giessen 46er Dee Davis.
4,520 fans came out on a rare Thursday night game as the Fraport Skyliners had shook off most of their injury woes as only Niklas Kiel was out. The contest started out like a real Hessen derby should be with a grand atmosphere and both teams playing with a lot of intensity. The game went back and forth as fans witnessed three lead changes. The Fraport Skyliners New Zealand national player Tai Webster got Frankfurt on the board first with a coast to coast sprint. The Giessen 46ers didn´t waste anytime as ex IPFW (NCAA) guard Max Landis dropped a trey for the 3-2 advantage. Both teams would exchange leads as Wolfarth-Bottermann scored twice as he dominated in the paint and ex Minnesota(NCAA) guard Austin Hollins connected on the trey. The Fraport Skyliners produced some stops and went on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 11-5 as Finish national player Shawn Huff dropped a three as did ex Auburn(NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson. Wolfarth-Bottermann was a dominating force on both ends as he made easy put backs and had two monster blocks as he was carrying the load as top scorer Philip Scrubb wasn´t getting looks and had to distribute more. However the Giessen 46ers took advantage of Wolfarth-Bottermann´s visit to the bench turning the game around with a 12-2 run and taking the surprising 17-13 lead. As Giessen would display the whole game except for a short stint in the third where American Jamar Abrams scored in bunches, the club would always get suitable production from many guys. In the run, the club received two buckets from Austin Hollins the son of former NBA player Lionel Hollins, a Dee Davis(Xavier) lay in who displayed good separation abilities between when to heave his unorthodox outside shot and when to penetrate, a 25 footer from ex Ulm big man John Bryant and a hook shot from ex Skyliner Mahir Agva who always is motivated to play his ex team where last season he saw flashes of skill, but never got into the rotation the way he wanted to. In the sweep he was a vital force scoring 8 and 10 in the first game and 11 and 10 in the Frankfurt massacre. “I played more the four and had the advantage posting up against Shawn Huff. I played well with John Bryant on the court and we both finished well in the game”, added Mahir Agva. Giessen did a good job getting all involved and Davis was the playmaker that they needed. Giessen finished out the first quarter having the lead 21-18. Agva tested his three point accuracy hitting the trey while for Frankfurt, Wolfarth-Bottermann continued to be the force in the paint getting two easy baskets and registering his third and last block of the game. “Giessen got easy lay ups and hit three´s which helped their confidence. It´s tough playing against a team when their feeling the game”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Philip Scrubb. “Frankfurt started out well kept going into the zone and Wolfarth-Bottermann controlled John Bryant well”, stressed Stephan Weidemeyer of the Giessner Anzeiger.
The second quarter started out like the first quarter as it was a tight affair with four lead changes, but the Giessen 46ers like in the first quarter could up their intensity again which Frankfurt couldn´t match and break away with the soothing comfortable 42-34 advantage at half-time. The Fraport Skyliners broke out on a quick 6-0 run to retake the lead at 24-23 as they got an instant spark from ex Dayton(NCAA) standout Jordan Sibert being watchful at the glass with a nice tip in and then nailed a pull up jumper. 18 year old German wonder kid Isaac Bonga also hit a vital floater. However Frankfurt played well in spurts and couldn´t always hold their high energy and just didn´t get consistent stops allowing Giessen after a run like that to get into their offensive flow again. Giessen reacted to this run with a 7-3 run to grab back the lead at 30-27. Giessen did a better job getting big country John Bryant the ball in good position around the basket. He got a lay in and alley-op tap in from Davis. Benjamin Lischka also supplied a three who really has grown into a solid BBL player averaging 10 points a game after toiling in the Pro A for the first half of his career. Frankfurt continued playing in spurts and Mr Canada Philip Scrubb finally scored his first field goal of the game at the 4.40 minute mark. He followed that with a trey as Frankfurt led again 32-30 and basketball life looked better again for Frankfurt. But Giessen continued to have their offense rolling and getting sufficient stops as they cruised into halftime with the 12-2 run to lead with grace 42-34. In the run, the Giessen 46ers were fortified with sharp shooting as they got four consecutive trey´s from Davis, Landis, Abrams and Bryant. “Giessen hurt us with their three at the end. We lacked communication and intensity”, stressed ex Carleton guard Philip Scrubb. “When Giessen gets going you can´t let them continue to shoot. Players on a Freyer team can all shoot. Agva played a big roll on defense and Giessen just played intelligent and their game”, added Stephan Weidemeyer.
In the third quarter, the Fraport Skyliners started off well and it looked like it would become that tight game again, but then all of a sudden the basketball world of Frankfurt came tumbling down as the Giessen 46ers started the Frankfurt massacre. The Fraport Skyliners came into the third quarter rejuvenated going on a 6-0 run to trail only 43-40. The run started with a Wolfarth-Bottermann steal and coast to coast jaunt like a guard and two Webster mid distance jumpers. Webster continues to be a lethal one on one player and has learned a fair deal from teammate Scrubb in how to pick his spots and hit shots. The fascinating thing about basketball is how rapidly a game can turn and how quickly a team can go from the mountain peak to the valley which is what the Fraport Skyliners experienced. With Giessen holding on to the narrow 43-40 lead, the Giessen 46ers went on a shocking 17-0 run to take the commanding 60-40 lead. At this moment the side of the Fraport arena which houses the hard core Skyliner fans was as silent as a family on Easter Sunday that found no eggs in their hunt, while the other side that had the radical Giessen fans were loud and chanting like there was no tomorrow. The run showed one dominant team and one team that couldn´t hit the ocean. Giessen continued to play their game, nail shots and were able to raise their confidence with every new bucket as they didn´t miss. In the run, Giessen got key production from Jamar Abrams who learned basketball at E Carolina(NCAA) and has had to pay his dues the last years in Countries like Canada, Slovenia and Romania. He is only the teams sixth best scorer, but in this run showed just how dangerous any player on the team can be at any moment is as he scored 10 points with two trey´s. The club also got a trey from Davis and two baskets from Agva in the paint as he used mis matches well. Giessen was in the zone and then extended their run to 5-2 as the Giessen bigs continued to execute as Agva found daylight inside for an easy basket and Bryant stepped outside and drilled home the trey as Giessen led 65-42 and really were rudely disrupting the pre Easter festivities in the Fraport arena for Skyliner fans. Frankfurt did close out the third quarter with a few baskets as Bonga hit free throws and Wolfarth-Bottermann hit a hook shot but Frankfurt trailed 67-46. “ We hit tough shots in the run and Abrams hit big shots. We played with a lot of emotion on defense and our fans gave us a big push”, warned Mahir Agva. “Their run hit us mentally somewhat. They started to hit shots and our offense didn´t move. Our defense needed to step up better, but didn´t”, warned Philip Scrubb.
The Fraport Skyliners did ease the Frankfurt massacre a bit in the fourth quarter playing with more intensity and making the 28 point lead into the 16 point loss as the most damage had been done and they simply ran out of time. The Giessen 46ers decided the game in the first few minutes with a lightening 7-0 run to produce their biggest lead of the evening at 74-46. In the run, the Giessen 46ers got five points from German Benjamin Lischka and a traffic shot from Davis. At that juncture, it really seemed like the Giessen 6ers could play with their eyes closed and be successful. Bryant and Wolfarth-Bottermann then exchanged two baskets apiece, but nothing changed as the 28 point lead now stood at 78-50 at the 6.10 mark of the fourth quarter. The Fraport arena wasn´t loud except for the Giessen corner where their fans were happily singing “Oh how nice it is” in German. The Fraport Skyliners then gave one last push going on a hectic 13-0 run to cut the Giessen lead to 78-63, but time was dwindling away from them. In the run, Frankfurt got 8 straight points from Scrubb who made a couple of steals and three lay ins in a row. Frankfurt also got three free throws from Webster and a lay in from Wolfarth-Bottermann. Down the stretch, both teams would continue to run their offenses, but Frankfurt was unable to get under 10 points. Frankfurt got baskets from Webster, Scrubb and Sibert while Giessen received support from Bryant and Davis and the last bucket of the game was by Cinderella story American Jeril Taylor who started the season in the Pro B with the Giessen farm team and was promoted to the BBL team and made a furious one hand dunk putting one last exclamation mark on the big win. ”We lost a little concentration at the end, but that is normal when you lead by that much. Everyone makes mistakes. We felt to comfortable and threw the ball away too much”, added Mahir Agva. “We were in desperation mode at the end and you can´t play a full half like that and trap every possession while they were trying to close out the game”, stressed Philip Scrubb. The Giessen 46ers had 5 players in double figures led by Dee Davis with 17 points. John Bryant added 15 points, 8 boards and 4 assists and Jamar Abrams also supplied 15 points. Benjamin Lischka contributed 12 points and Mahir Agva 11 points and 10 rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann with 20 points. Tai Webster and Philip Scrubb added 15 points a piece and Jordan Sibert added 10 points. The Giessen 46ers shot 51% form the field and 43% from outside and grabbed 35 boards and had 15 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 23% from outside and hauled down 30 rebounds and had 13 turnovers.