If opponents of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were really bored, they could play a type of make believe lottery on their way to Frankfurt in that they try to guess which easyCredit BBL license players will be on board and which won´t. The best chance that all players will be playing is usually the day after or even the day before a BBL game, but what happens when both teams play on the same day. Well if both play at night in different cities then it is almost a 100% chance that nobody will be available, but what happens when both are playing in the same city Frankfurt and the games are 4 hours apart? Well on some days, there could be a few guys that play in both, but when the Fraport Skyliners are playing a huge cup game against Braunschweig for the ticket to the semi-final and the team already is battling huge injury woes then there is a very good chance that all the guys will be rested and ready to go for the cup duel. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were missing two key players with Garai Zeeb and Richard Freudenberg who combined average 20 points per game this season in the Pro B. But the club still had other key performers on board like Elijah Clarance and Armin Trtovac. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors faced the ambitious youth program Orange Academy of ratiopharm Ulm that has no American player and it pitted the top two defenses in the Pro B against one another. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors took control of the game in the first quarter and never looked back controlling the game and had a big enough lead late in the fourth quarter to not let a big Orange Academy run ruin their forthcoming Christmas as they pulled out a well deserved 78-65 victory. After the game 17 year old Zachary Ensminger who has that well known basketball name and the same eyes of his father Chris who belonged to the top BBL centers 15 years ago as he helped Bamberg to a BBL title in 2005 was frustrated with the loss. “We had too many turnovers in the game. There were some phases where we played well, but then again phases where we had no energy at all on offense and defense. We had problems after losing three close games and that affected us mentally as we weren´t as confident”, stressed Zachary Ensminger.
27 year old 190cm combo guard Dennis Mavin made his debut with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. He had been with the club for three weeks and wasn´t cleared until the Orange Academy game. The American who hails from Gainesville, Florida and comes form the same place as 2018 Eurocup champion Scottie Wilbekin started the season with 2018 Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets, but didn´t fit into their rotation as he averaged only 10.3ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.1apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 40.7%, 3FGP: 16.7%, FT: 50.0%. The ex Florida International(NCAA) stand out played with Giessen last season in the Pro B and also played two BBL games against ratiopharm Ulm and Gotha got the starting nod and didn´t disappoint taking the place of Garai Zeeb who was scheduled to play in the BBL cup battle four hours later scoring 15 points, dishing out three assists and getting three steals. After the big victory, he was happy about finally getting on the floor and getting the win. “I thought overall I gave a solid effort. It could have been better, but I´m satisfied that we got the win. My role isn´t any different here than it was with the ScanPlus Baskets. The biggest difference now is that I can lead young guys here while with the ScanPlus Baskets there were more older players. I´m looking forward to growing in Frankfurt. With the ScanPlus Baskets, I had to stand out as a leader, and here I´m forced to be a leader. Our defense got us the win and it was important that we kept our intensity up. It was a collective team effort where everyone contributed on offense. It was a great team effort”, warned Dennis Mavin. After the victory 20 year old German Konstantin Schubert who is out for 6-8 weeks was thrilled about having Mavin as a new teammate. “He is super quick and a great ball handler. He gets to the bucket and is hard to stop 1-1. He will help the young kids. He really knows the game”, warned Konstantin Schubert.
In the first few minutes the game was back and forth as there were three lead changes. After a Mavin lay in where his quickness was put on a platter for all to oooh and ahh at, both teams big men got going early as Armin Trtovac scored three baskets while Orange Academy center Till Pape who has 22 BBL games and 12 Eurocup games on his resume scored twice. A big three pointer from 17 year old Maxi Begue solidified the 11-5 Frankfurt lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to execute well on offense and got to the free throw line as Clarance made four free throws and ex Chemnitz big man Aaron Kayser secured an offensive rebound and threw down a hard two handed dunk as Orange Academy trailed 21-10. The guests had had misfortune as they had missed three easy shots while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a fine rhythm on offense and exerted aggressive pressure on the Orange Academy guards which didn´t allow them to get into their offensive sets. Mavin closed out the first quarter with a beautiful trey and swished two free throws as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the comfortable 26-12 advantage. “Our goal was like in the first game there to have a lot of defensive pressure. We did a good job putting pressure on their guards and forcing turnovers”, stated Konstantin Schubert. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 50% from the field and 33% from outside and had 10 rebounds and 3 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 21% from the field and 40% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept the lead and even allowed for Orange Academy to cut the lead down to 5 points, but had it back up at 10 at the break. Pape had the hot hand in the first quarter and Orange Academy didn´t hesitate going to him right away and he executed well giving the guests a 5-0 run on a 10 footer, lay in and free throw to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 26-16. Frankfurt wasn´t generating much offense in the first minutes and had to settle for a Maxi Begue lay in. Orange Academy continued to fight and got huge production from 17 year Timo Lanmuller who won the Albert Schweitzer tournament with Germany sunk back to back trey´s cutting the Frankfurt lead down to 28-23. This sudden come back attempt by Orange Academy didn´t faze Frankfurt as they let the long ball fly as they went on a devastating 9-2 run as Begue, Clarance and Len Schoorman nailed three´s giving Frankfurt the commanding 37-25 lead. A big strength of the Fraport Skyliners is having multiple guys come through at all times during the game. Orange Academy then halted Frankfurt´s offensive terror with their own lightening 7-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 37-32 as Pape scored, 209cm big man Nicolas Bretzel hit a 15 footer and Ensminger drooped three free throws. The 17 year old finished with 6 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. The guard is happy that he has found a home in Ulm for basketball. “It has been a good experience playing Pro B as it is a lot different than the NBBL. The guards in Pro B are more physical, quick and skilled. I have to fight for my minutes in practice. Ulm is a good place for me to develop”, stressed Zach Ensminger. Another big strength of Frankfurt is that when team´s come back and are threatening, they don´t panic, but come through with big plays and shots. Schoorman drooped another trey and ex Kronberg guard Felix Hecker who was the 2017 NBBL player of the year made a lay in as Orange Academy trailed 42-32 at the break. “Their run wasn´t surprising since they are a good team and we knew that they would come back. We improved our defense in the second part of the quarter and showed that when we have room, we can score”, added Konstantin Schubert. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 44% from the field and 40% from the three point line and they grabbed 17 rebounds and had 7 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 37% from the field and 36% from the three point line and grabbed 13 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.
Both teams stunk up the first five minutes of the third quarter as both teams were playing as if they had hot coal in their hands as they had no real good grip on the ball as both teams combined for an embarrassing 12 turnovers. However the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were still the better team as they still executed better than Orange Academy and kept their lead in the double digits. It took a little while before any team got on the board first as both teams were coughing up the ball as if it was easier than making a lay up in practice. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors did find the hot hand first as Mavin and Trtovac scored on transition giving Frankfurt the 46-32 lead. Orange Academy didn´t have many options on this day and had to rely mostly on Till Pape who saw the basket like the ocean as he also showed his good basketball IQ hitting a fade away and waiting until Trtovac fell on him getting the extra free throw. Orange Academy had no consistency and their weapons weren´t executing while Frankfurt´s long ball and transition game was working well. Schoormann scored on transition and Felix Hecker nailed a trey as Frankfurt led 53-37. Down the stretch Begue made a tap in and is becoming more and more versatile and Mavin drilled home a quarter buzzer beater three as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 58-42 after three frames. “Both teams had a lot of turnovers. You never want to open up a quarter like that. It was very ugly. I´m happy that our defense stayed consistent. That got us over the hump”, added Dennis Mavin. “We had too many turnovers. Frankfurt put good pressure on us not letting us get in our plays. That forced us to go more 1-1 which is something we normally don´t like to do since we are team orientated”, stressed Zachary Ensminger. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 45% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and they hauled down27 rebounds and 15 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 32% from the field and 22% from the parking lot and they hauled down 28 rebounds and had 20 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept up the pressure for seven minutes, but then let up a bit allowing Orange Academy on a last run, but they ran out of time before they could put any big dent in the game result. Both teams started to fire away from outside as the Fraport Skyliners received good outside production from Mavin, Gruehn and Hecker while Orange Academy got two three´s from Pape and big man Bretzel, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors still had the huge 73-52 advantage as the game seemed long decided. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then put their offensive arsenal on the back burner and coasted as Orange Academy closed out the game with a 12-3 run to lose 78-65. Timo Lanmuller did the most damage in the run scoring a total of 8 points dropping two trey´s. Nicholas Mobus also hit a trey and Bretzel made free throws. “We lost some focus at the end. But we were still consistent with our effort. We still shared the ball well and continued to make the extra pass when they went to zone”, stressed Dennis Mavin. “We played well at the end, but Frankfurt didn´t play 100%. We showed for a few minutes that we could play with them, but it was too late”, stressed Zachary Ensminger. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Armin Trtovac with 16 points while Dennis Mavin added 15 points. Felix Hecker and Maxi Begue contributed 10 points a piece. Swedish shooting Elijah Clarance added 9 points 3 rebounds, seven assists and 4 steals. He had a cold shooting day at 18% going 2/11, but he continues to make good progress in his playmaking. He came to Frankfurt to become a better point guard. His court vision against Orange Academy was good and his passing skills continue to improve. Orange Academy was led by Till Pape with 22 points. Timo Lanmuller added 13 points and Nicolas Bretzel had 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 45% form the field and 44% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 21 coughed up balls while Orange Academy shot 39% from the field and 33% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 24 coughed up balls.