After the embarrassing and unacceptable 83-59 loss in Giessen shortly before Christmas, one would have expected a total 180 degrees turnaround in the return game and the Fraport Skyliners showcasing ecstatic faces after the win, but instead players moped back into the dressing room after the 86-70 loss and sweep by the Giessen 46ers with their heads hanging and fearing to have to confront head coach Gordon Herbert in the dressing room with his post game rant. Four year Skyliner veteran and Florida native Mike Morrison was limping to the dressing room like a destroyed World War 2 battle ship and the usual taciturn Philip Scrubb seemed even more quiet just with the dejected expression on his face. Gordon Herbert left right after the press conference skipping the normal VIP room dinner and one could only have hoped that he had calmed down by Easter Sunday. The only good news was that despite the poor sweep to the Giessen 46ers, the Fraport Skyliners were still in seventh place, but had teams like ratiopharm Ulm and Giessen close on their heels with only one win less for the playoff hunt. However with so many tough games remaining against playoff teams, the 2004 BBL champion had to start winning games against lesser teams in order to have some leverage if they lose some games to the other top teams down the stretch. The Fraport Skyliners had one of those must win situations against 2004 Fiba Europe cup winner Mitteldeutscher BC who they had barely survived winning a nail bitter 96-93 in their first meeting as new Skyliner Jordan Sibert put a scare into his new team with 23 points while Philip Scrubb and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann carried the Fraport Skyliners with 47 points combined.
The contest also featured the first meeting between Jordan Sibert and his ex team who had rudely disposed of him after bringing back last season´s hero Andrew Warren. The Mitteldeutscher BC entered the game in no man´s land with 8 wins, but wanted to close out the season strong, while Jordan Sibert who had put up strong stats with the Mittledeutscher BC was searching for some revenge. Sibert didn´t gain revenge with his play in limited minutes, but had the last laugh as the Fraport Skyliners disposed of the Mitteldeutscher BC 83-67 keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Sibert had a smile on his face, but one could sense that he was disappointed he couldn´t contribute more on the court. “The win was important. It was like a practice again for me seeing the guys. It was good to see the guys healthy and playing. There are no hard feelings. I´m happy that we stuck to the game plan, executed on offense and were aggressive on defense”, stressed ex Dayton(NCAA) guard Jordan Sibert.
The Mittleduetscher BC did a good job sticking with the Fraport Skyliners, but just couldn´t get over the hump and create that huge run that would get them over the hump. The Mittledeutscher BC had nothing to lose or gain as they are staying in the BBL and not making the playoffs, but their pride was ruffled a bit by the strong Frankfurt presence. “They jumped out on us at the start with 6 offensive rebounds in the first quarter. We couldn´t recover from that and they beat us up on the boards. We were punked”, stressed ex Arizona (NCAA) guard Lamont Jones. As usual EasyCredit BBL top scorer Philip Scrubb gave his two cents to the win. “We learned form the Giessen loss that we have to bring energy and be engaged in every game especially now in the stretch run. It starts in practices and it has to carry over into games. We did that tonight competing and playing hard. We played good defense and forced them to tough shots and rebounded well. We knew that we had to play a lot better if we want to make the playoffs”, warned Philip Scrubb. “Frankfurt had a lot of energy, shot and rebounded well and had the crowd with them”, added Mitteldeutscher BC guard Marcus Hatten.
4,220 fans came to the late Sunday afternoon affair and witness the Fraport Skyliners with a deep roster as the only guy out was Niklas Kiel. The Fraport Skyliners shots weren´t falling at the start, but they impressed with their energy and aggressiveness scooping down 3 offensive rebounds led by Quantez Robertson getting two which finally led to a Tai Webster pull up jumper. Webster got going quickly and sparked Frankfurt on a 10-0 run. He made two steals and hit a runner in traffic. Finish national player Shawn Huff also added a trey and Robertson made an off balance shot. Webster had quickly set the tone for the team as well as himself as he made a stellar first impression as countless NBA scouts from teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers, Oklahoma Thunder, LA Lakers und Detroit Pistons were on hand to observe the game of Isaac Bonga, but surely recognized Webster´s game as well. The Frankfurt defense sparked their offense while on defense they were reading the MBC game as they had been prepared very well by Gordon Herbert. MBC had woken up on the wrong side of the bed and Frankfurt proved that they can produce without MVP candidate Philip Scrubb getting points. Basketball is a game of runs and now it was time for the Mittledeutscher BC to get going and did going on a 9-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 12-9. Lamont Jones who was the NCAA´s 3rd bests scorer in the 2012-2013 season with Iona got them on the board first with an amazing 1-1 play against top defender Robertson and flat out beat him and also dropped a trey while Serbian 201cm forward Djordje Drenovac also nailed a trey. However the Fraport Skyliners kept the lead and were in control getting in easy baskets in the paint by Florida native Mike Morrison and ex Alba Berlin center Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann to extend their lead to 18-9. Frankfurt had already scored 20 points until Scrubb got his first field goal with a trey to give Frankfurt the 23-14 advantage with 28 seconds remaining. Morrison connected on a tap in at the buzzer to give Frankfurt the 25-14 lead after 10 minutes. “We moved the ball well and Webster was doing a good job getting into the paint and using his pull up jumper. We showed our scoring versatility. I continue to take what the defense gives me. If we move the ball well and are scoring then I´m fine. We didn´t rebound well on the offensive glass against Giessen, but started off well tonight showing energy”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 43% from outside and grabbed 11 rebounds and had one turnover while the Mitteldeutscher BC were shooting 44% from the field and 33% from outside and grabbed 5 rebounds and had 4 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to keep the lead and keep the Mitteldeutscher BC at bay. The Mitteldeutscher BC got on the board first with ex Artland Dragon Sergio Kerusch nailing a tough runner to cut the Frankfurt lead to 24-16. However when you need instant points give the ball to Scrubb who will produce. After being limited in the first quarter, Scrubb got going in the second quarter nailing his second trey and also finding Morrison on the pick and roll for a hard dunk as Frankfurt led 30-18. Frankfurt was doing a fine job mixing up their game and still dominating the boards. The Mitteldeutscher BC found some daylight and went on a 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 30-23 and used their Mr instant points as Jones made a steal and went coast to coast with the lay in. The Mitteldeutscher BC stepped up their defense and got another steal as German ex Maine(NCAA) forward Til Gloger scored inside. Gloger was a force off the bench coming in for Kruize Pinkins who also had played well in the first half. Frankfurt continued to hold the lead as Scrubb delivered with his third trey and Frankfurt kept banging the ball inside as Wolfarth- Bottermann scored twice extending the Frankfurt lead to 38-28.
The Mitteldeutscher BC got some production from ex Bradley (NCAA) standout Andrew Warren, but Frankfurt held the momentum as Philip Scrubb finished with the team´s second buzzer beater with a nifty finger tip roll in traffic as the Fraport Skyliners led 42-30 at the break. “I didn´t feel the need that I had to carry the team, but we moved the ball well as a team and I got open shots. We were on a roll on offense and got easy baskets as well”, added Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 47% from the field and 42% from the three point line and had hauled down 18 rebounds and had four turnovers while the Mitteldeutscher BC were shooting 40% from the field and 30% from the three point line and had 13 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Mitteldeutscher BC fought back cutting the Frankfurt lead down to single digits, but couldn´t withstand a massive Frankfurt run in the latter half of the third quarter. Both teams found their offensive rhythm quickly as Scrubb showed his impressive 1-1 skills getting by two defenders and getting out of a difficult situation and finishing with grace while Jones hit a difficult bank shot trey over Robertson. Frankfurt kept their sound double digit lead with key baskets from Wolfarth-Bottermann who continued to be a gem in the paint getting easy baskets and Huff nailed another trey. The Mitteldeutscher BC got production from 33 year old 204cm center Djordje Pantelic who can always hit from outside hit a trey and Jones made a runner as the Fraport Skyliners led 52-38. Then the Mitteldeutscher BC got back into the game supplying a lethal 13-4 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 56-51. In the run, they got key baskets from Drenovac with a trey and Jones runner and Pinkins dropped a pretty fade away jumper and hit from the corner getting the perfect kick out pass from 37 year old Veteran Marcus Hatten who learned his basketball trade at St Johns(NCAA). The Mitteldeutscher BC stepped up their defense while Frankfurt helped by losing some focus and not running their sets the way they knew how not moving the ball and finding the best shot. However as is so often the case in basketball, from one team´s run comes the other team´s run as the Fraport Skyliners closed out the third quarter with a timely 11-2 run to steal the momentum back on their side and lead 67-53 after 30 minutes. Key in the run was Webster who hit a trey and experienced the opponent napping and making an offensive rebound and runner. Webster played very consistent and not only impressed NBA scouts, but also Lamont Jones. “Webster did a great job and played well. He made some big plays down the stretch. When you have guys like Scrubb and Huff, it gives Webster room to be good”, added ex Arizona(NCAA) guard Lamont Jones. Robertson also made a lay in and Scrubb nailed home another buzzer beater with a three pointer.
“We gave up some penetration baskets. Jones is tough to stop. We picked up our defense at the end and Webster carried us and made big plays”, stressed Philip Scrubb. “We dug deep got stops and baskets, but then so did Frankfurt. We then got a technical and right away they hit a three and it was lights out. We need to do a better job to stay in the game with our heads and be mentally stronger”, stressed Lamont Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 52% from the field and 47% from the parking lot and had 24 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Mitteldeutscher BC was shooting 52% form the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 17 rebounds and 9 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners did a good job closing out the game in style and never letting the Mitteldeutscher BC get closer than 10 points. The Mitteldeutscher BC made one last run in an attempt to get over the hump with a 8-3 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 70-61. In the run, they got vital support from Warren who scored 4 points, a Pantelic lay in in which Jones received the dime and then the American scored in the lane. But that was as close as the Mitteldeutscher BC would get, because the Fraport Skyliners had a Tai Webster who was in top form and rattled off 8 of Frankfurt´s last 13 points including the last three baskets in row with two three´s in a row. Webster displayed his improved three point shooting and as always showed his exceptional 1-1 play as his drive belongs to the best in the league. “He played great today. When he is confident on offense then we are a hard team to stop. He is such a big part of our offense and we rely on him to carry us”, warned Philip Scrubb. The Fraport Skyliners just had too many weapons on the night and a strong duo of Webster and Scrubb who combined for 45 points to stimulate the offense for 40 minutes. “We closed out the game well getting stops and controlling the pace. We didn´t let the game get crazy, but controlled the possessions”, stated Philip Scrubb. “We didn´t execute the way we wanted to. The morel of the story was that Frankfurt punked us through out the game. They took it straight to us from the gate and we couldn´t recover and most of the damaged had been done”, added Lamont Jones. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Tai Webster with 26 points. Philip Scrubb added 19 points and Jonas Wolfarth-Bottermann had 12 points. The Mitteldeutscher BC was led by Lamont Jones with 18 points. Andrew Warren had 12 points and Djordje Drenovac added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 40% from outside and got 34 rebounds and coughed up the ball 10 times while the Mitteldeutscher BC shot 48% from the field and 42% from outside and got 27 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.