Elijah Clarance´s Last Second Sprint And Bucket Powers The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Past The Dragons Rhondorf 83-81

It isn´t slowly ten to midnight yet for the Dragons Rhondorf, but rapidly getting very close to the gong as the club is looking to be saved somehow of their poor season as they are caved into the Pro B south cellar with a record of 3-11. Shortly before Christmas the Dragons Rhondorf hauled in 36 year old basketball dinosaur Anish Sharda who came from ASC Theresianum Mainz (Germany-Regionalliga) after never averaging less than 18,9ppg in the last four years in the Regionalliga. The American who recently got the German citizenship brought 137 career Regionalliga and 116 Pro B games to the Dragons Rhondorf and scored 11 points in his first game in a loss to the RheinStars right before Christmas. Over the years he has had some nice battles against the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and had a 4-3 record against them scoring in double figures in four of the seven games coming into the game in Frankfurt. Sharda could be that key new component that will help get the Dragons Rhondorf out of the cellar as his consistent scoring and strong playmaking will be a huge advantage. Sharda led the Dragons Rhondorf to Frankfurt and met a 9-5 team that have been playing good basketball as of late having won three of their last four games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had won the first contest in Rhondorf 75-68 thanks to 11 three´s and a strong Pro B debut by Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance who scored 21 points while the Dragons owned the boards. In the first contest of 2019, both teams had their ups and downs during the course of the 40 minutes, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors controlled the game and allowed a massive fourth quarter come back by the Dragons Rhondorf, but were able to salvage an overtime period getting a last second sprint and bucket by Elijah Clarance for the 83-81 win. After the tough loss Dragons Rhondorf head coach Thomas Adelt had that look as if he had seen a basketball ghost as for the third time in a row his team was close to winning, but were denied again. “We had too many turnovers in the first half and got in a hole because we were too sloppy. In the second quarter we fought and pressed well and were in a good position to win the game. It´s tough to lose the game on a last shot. We have worked so hard to win these games, but then we lose. I think that in the deciding moments we aren´t there mentally”, warned Thomas Adelt. Frankfurt was lucky that they escaped with a win. “This wasn´t our best game. Our ball movement wasn´t consistent today. We started off well in the first few minutes, but then their press made us play hectic. We had more ups and downs in the second half. We were a little sloppy at the end, but came out with the win”, added guard Len Schoormann. It was only Anish Sharda´s second game and he still getting used to things, but he had his moments hitting for 8 points and making some nice plays at both ends of the court. “I thought that our press was great and it kept us in the game. But we could of overall executed better on offense”, added ex TV Langen guard Anish Sharda.

                The Dragons Rhondorf got off on the wrong foot as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors went on a lightening 11-3 run. Frankfurt exploited the paint area as there were many holes and the Rhondorf defense didn´t fill it up. Big man Armin Trtovac had little problems getting the perfect position and made three easy buckets while ex Giessen guard Dennis Mavin also used his quickness to score twice. Rhondorf began with two fast turnovers and were fortunate that Kwam Waller would have the hot hand all day long as he drilled home a trey. Basketball will always remain a game of runs as the Dragons Rhondorf fought back with their own 11-3 run to take the 14-13 lead. Rhondorf began to get an offensive rhythm as Lithuanian double double beast Zygimantas Riauka scored twice inside, Waller hit another trey, ex Bremerhaven forward Bo Meister connected on a pull up jumper and Alexander Moeller made a tip in. There would be three more lead changes as both teams delivered the long ball as Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance nailed a trey as did 16 year Len Schoorman and Waller added a pull up jumper. Trtovac gave Frankfurt the 21-20 lead as he hit his fourth basket of the quarter. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 53% from the field and 25% from outside and had 8 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 37% form the field and 29% from outside and had 11 rebounds and three turnovers

 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Elijah Clarance in the Fraport arena

                The second quarter remained tight for the first five minutes as both teams started to defend better, but down the stretch the Fraport Skyliners Juniors could get away from the Dragons Rhondorf and hold a good lead going into the break. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors came out in a lull turning over the ball in their first three possessions, but Rhondorf couldn´t take advantage of it except for a Moeller lay in and David Falkenstein free throw. Poor free throw shooting cost Rhondorf the game as they finished shooting 17-28 for 61%. They had 19 more free throws than Frankfurt and with a few more made free throws could have won the game. Schoormann broke the Frankfurt 4 possession skid hitting a runner tying the game at 23-23. Frankfurt continued to bang the ball inside and get easy buckets as Trtovac added two more to his stat account. Frankfurt took the lead twice with a Cosmo Gruehn step back jumper and an Aaron Kayser put back who came from the Niners Chemnitz. Rhondorf countered twice tying the game with baskets from Riauka and captain Joe Koschade to tie the game at 30-30. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to escape out on a 6-0 run which helped them lead to the 42-35 lead at the break. Frankfurt continued to attack the paint and got two easy baskets from Dennis Mavin and one from Gruehn. On defense they closed out the paint area and served up good rotations to slow up Rhondorf´s attackers.  Kwam Waller kept Rhondorf in the game, but Frankfurt always hurt Rhondorf by getting continued easy baskets inside from Trtovac and Gruehn. “Frankfurt picked up their game and put more pressure on Rhondorf. Frankfurt went inside and executed well”, added ex Lich guard Jermale Jones. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 56% from the field and 20% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 35% from the field and 17% form the three point line and had 16 rebounds and 6 turnovers.

                In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would pull away, but only to lose focus and allow the Dragons Rhondorf back into the game, but then break away again as the guests defense continued to be inconsistent. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to ram the ball inside and attack Rhondorf´s weakness and got baskets from Trtovac, Mavin and 17 year old Maxi Begue. Rhondorf was carried in the first few minutes by ex Telekom Baskets Bonn German Philipp Gruber who nailed a trey and pull up jumper to cut the Frankfurt lead to 49-40. Rhondorf continued to chip away at the Frankfurt lead and upped the intensity level and aggressiveness on defense going on a big 7-2 run to cut Frankfurt´s advantage to 51-47. Rhondorf got big defensive plays from Kwam Waller as he made a steal and block. Koschade also made a steal and basket, but Rhondorf continued to miss free throws. In this phase the Fraport Skyliners Juniors lost focus and did too much one on one play. Frankfurt got out of their offensive funk and calmed down and halted the guests run with their own 5-0 run. Trtovac made a hard two handed dunk after getting the pretty no look dime from Clarance and Schoormann hit a huge trey from the corner for the 56-47 lead. “Clarance sees the floor very well. At times he needs to make the simple pass more, but he is developing well as a point guard”, stated Quantez Robertson. Koschade and Moeller got lay ups at the end, but as always Frankfurt´s depth was too much for Rhondoorf as 32 year old German Tobias Jahn made a turn around shot and Schoormann scored inside again. The Dragoons Rhondorf got some fortune at the end as Anish Sharda was fouled behind the three point line and hit all three cutting the Frankfurt lead to 62-54 after 30 minutes. “We were more calm and didn´t over pace. Our ball movement was good and we found guys who hit shots”, stressed Len Schoormann. “We came out sloppy which was unacceptable. We had to be ready and just had to be better”, said Anish Sharda. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 53% from the field and 23% from the parking lot and grabbed 32 rebounds and had 17 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 35%b from the field and 24% form the parking lot and grabbed 27 rebounds and had 11 turnovers.

 

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Anish Sharda after he dropped 8 points in the 83-81 Rhondorf loss

                In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors upped their lead to 13 only to see the Dragons Rhondorf fight back and retake the lead and then lose the game on a last second shot. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors jumped all over the Dragons Rhondorf going on a 5-0 run to extend their lead to 67-54. In the run, the club got a clutch three from Gruehn and and a 20 footer from Tobias Jahn who played with Pro A team Ehingen two seasons ago and averaged 10 and 8 stats. But then came the gigantic awakening of the Dragons Rhondorf who stormed out on a vital 20-6 run to recapture the lead at 74-73 as suddenly basketball life looked more rosey again for the guests. In the run, the Dragons Rhondorf got MVP like play from American Kwam waller who supplied 10 points. Before the shinning moment of Waller appeared, Rhondorf got their run started by a big Anish Sharda three which he followed giving Moeller the perfect pass on the pick and roll for an easy basket. The Dragons Rhondorf defended more aggressive and got a steal and basket by Koschade and a transition lay in by David Falkenstein as he retrieved the second beautiful outlet pass from Riauka of the game that led to an easy basket. After a few misses, Frankfurt lost concentration and did a little too much one on one play. Clarance had some fine moments as a playmaker in the game, but in this phase he forced a little too much and Frankfurt was also effected by the Rhondorf press as they were hit with numerous turnovers. With Frankfurt leading 73-66, it was Waller time as he rattled off 8 consecutive points in Dewayne Russell manner as he had done 24 hours earlier with Crailsheim against BBL team Frankfurt in the third quarter. Waller´s mid range game was on fire as he got Rhondorf the 74-73 advantage. “We didn´t talk on defense and our pick and roll defense wasn´t good”, added Len Schoormann. “Our press was great the whole game. We attacked them on the side screen and role”, added Anish Sharda. This run didn´t faze Frankfurt as they escaped out on a 6-0 run to take the 80-74 lead. Once again Frankfurt hurt Rhondorf inside as Trtovac executed twice and Mavin scored. “We communicated really well on defense in the run”, stated Len Schoormann. The Dragons Rhondorf weren´t finished yet as their defense stepped up again as a Meister and Riauka block and Waller steal led to two Riauka baskets to cut the Frankfurt lead to 81-78. Mavin then coughed up the ball with 12 seconds. This led to a clutch three point rainbow bomb by Waller that saw nothing but net deadlocking the game at 81-81 with 9 seconds to play. “He was in rhythm all game long. That was a tough big time shot”, added Dennis Mavin. There wasn´t much time left, so Frankfurt gave the ball to Clarance and he barreled his way down the court in a sprint and made a tough shot in traffic for the win. “He had been too aggressive and sloppy on the finish earlier. I´m happy he made the last shot. He attacked the rim and finished strong”, added Quantez Robertson. “We did a good job on Clarance all game long and then he beats us with a bang bang play at the end hurt”, stressed Anish Sharda. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Armin Trtovac with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Dennis Mavin supplied 21 points. The Dragons Rhondorf were led by Kwam Waller with 26 points. Zygimantas Riauka had 11 points and 11 boards and Joe Koschade added 10 points and 4 assists. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 51% from the field and 22% from outside and had 45 rebounds and 25 turnovers while the Dragons Rhondorf shot 40% from the field and 27% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 14 turnovers.

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