Every winning streak has to come to an end sometime as the wiha Panthers experienced last weekend losing a bitter nail bitter to Coburg 85-82 which ended their amazing 23 game winning streak at home which had started in April of 2017 and carried over all through last season where they won the Regionalliga title. They didn´t need any adjustment time this season as they have taken the Pro B South by storm. They won their first four games, but since then have had ups and downs, but produced a positive 7-6 record to have a strong hold on second place. A big problem for their offense has been the injury to captain and robust point guard Kostas Karamatskos as the team playmaking and leadership has been dearly missed, but the club still has done a good job compensating his void by getting solid production through out the roster. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors continue to play a super season despite having changing rosters all through out the season with the availability of the BBL double license players and injuries effecting their results. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors arrived into the battle with the wiha Panthers Schwenningen with a lot of self confidence as they had beaten talented and 2018 Pro B champion ScanPlus Baskets 81-75 as they were extremely deflated without their leading BBL double license players, but the younger guys stepped up and came up big in their absences leading the club to a huge victory. Against the wiha Panthers Schwenningen, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without young kids Len Schoormann, Maxi Begue, Calvin Schaum and Jordan Samare who were balling at the Addidas Next Generation Tour in Munich, but in good company again as some of the BBL double license players were on board again like Elijath Clarance and Armin Trtovac, but not Richard Freudenberg and Garai Zeeb as a high scoring third quarter of the guests broke the back of the home team as they could never recover losing 75-65. After the tough loss, many of the players snuck out through the rear of the gym next to the dressing room, but young German big man Aaron Kayser left through the main entrance and gave his two cents about the loss. “We didn´t play together as a team in the third quarter. We had no solution for their zone. We also gave up too many transition baskets. We have to learn to play better as a team and share the ball better. Obviously Garai Zeeb was dearly missed, but that can´t be an excuse as we won last weekend without him”, stated ex Chemnitz Niners center Aaron Kayser. After the big win Philadelphia native Rasheed Moore was proud of how his team stuck together for 40 minutes. “We gave all we had today. We didn´t have a great start. The first half was ugly. In the second half, we began to hit shots and turned up the defense”, stressed wiha Panthers Schwenningen forward Rasheed Moore.
The first quarter was a close defensive battle where no team could break away as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 16-13 lead. The wiha Panthers took the quick 5-2 lead as Lithuanian Darius Pakamanis sort of took that Rasheed Moore role getting active and aggressive hitting a step back jumper and a trey. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had problems getting into their offense and finding an identity and had to rely on some athletic individual plays by Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance who made a pretty two handed dunk and put back keeping Frankfurt at bay, but the guests had their own athletic Clarance only a little older with Bill Borekambi who stepped up and also took some of the offensive load as Rasheed Moore was being slowed up by the Frankfurt defense. “If one of us is having a slow day, then the other tries to take the load. I was feeling it from the start”, stressed Bill Borekambi. “Bill kept us in the game. I couldn´t buy a shot. He always comes up big when I´m having a tough day. We have confidence in him doing that”, stressed Rasheed Moore. Borekambi who helped lead PS Karlsruhe and Rostock into the Pro A made a few dunks to give the guests the 11-6 advantage. Frankfurt also got some needed baskets from Kayser with an offensive rebound and put back while 2017 NBBL MVP Felix Hecker scored in bunches to give Frankfurt the lead back. Borekambi made another spectacular play with the reverse dunk. The mention of Clarance had Borekambi smiling after the win. “He plays the way I did as a kid. He keeps his head down and wants to go through a wall. He is crazy athletic and has a lot of potential. He just needs to become a little more team orientated and know when to attack and when to keep the pace down”, stressed Bill Borekambi. Aaron Kayser made a tip in dunk to end the first quarter. A weird thing happened on the last play as Pakamanis and Borekambi had a little spat which resulted in head coach Alen Velcic sending the Lithuanian to the locker room as he wouldn´t return. It seemed like something irritated the head coach about this encounter. After the contest, he stated that it was no big deal. “I was mad how we were playing. I guess Pakamanis thought I meant him. He took it personally. There were no hard feelings. These things happen. What happens on the court stays on the court”, warned Bill Borekambi. “Frankfurt took bad contested shots and weren´t moving the ball well. They had too many turnovers and were missing Garai Zeeb as that leadership was missing and controlling of the tempo”, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Quantez Robertson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 39% from the field and 0% form outside and had 14 rebounds and three turnovers while the wiha Panthers Schwenningen shot 29% from the field and 25% from outside and had 9 rebounds and two turnovers.
The second quarter remained a dog fight as no team could lead by more than four points, but the wiha Panthers Schwenningen had the slim lead at the break. The guests got a huge break in the first few minutes getting a lot of input from their bench as American Anell Alexis came on the court and conquered scoring seven unanswered points getting Schwenningen back into the lead 21-20. Alexis came to Schwenningen having won the Panamanian title and was acquired for scoring and rebounding work and did just that hitting a pull up jumper, trey from the corner and a lay in. Schwenningen continued to do a great job finding many different heads to help pick up the slack of the powerless Rasheed Moore who had no luck with his shot. On the other side of the court, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors weren´t getting any consistent execution form Dennis Mavin who could hit the ocean with his shot. The wiha Panthers Schwenningen were playing a strong zone that Frankfurt couldn´t solve while Frankfurt also was defending well as the two bigs Trtovac and Kayser were closing up the zone well. Schwenningen had the 26-25 lead thanks to a pull up jumper from Bulgarian player Sergey Tsvetkov and a free throw from 29 year old German Hannes Osterwalder. The guests could have had the better lead had they had more fortune getting buckets at close range. They had four easy misses on three possessions. Tsvetkov scored the last basket of the first half giving the guests the tight 30-27 advantage. “Frankfurt had problems with their zone and were moving very bad without the ball and weren´t hitting the open man. Frankfurt had too many turnovers and were throwing the ball all over the place. They also took too many shots down near the end of the shot clock. Trtovac and Kayser did a good job forcing tough shots”, said ex Auburn(NCAA) stand out Quantez Robertson. The wiha Panthers Schwenningen shot 35% from the field and 33% from the three point line and got 18 rebounds and had 6 turnovers while Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 30% from the field and 0% from the three point line and got 24 rebounds and had 8 turnovers.
The turning point of the contest occurred in the third quarter as the wiha Panthers Schwenningen went on a huge run which the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t recover from. The game remained tight in the first few minutes as German role player Michael Fuss hit a difficult lay in against the zone and Tsvetkov a runner for the 32-29 lead. Trtovac then nailed a free throw and Dennis Mavin a 15 footer to dead lock the game at 33-33. Then came the big Wiha run as they escaped breaking out and scoring 15 unanswered points to lead 48-33. In the run, the wiha Panthers Schwenningen got big time input from four players. Their two best players Moore and Borekambi supplied two baskets a piece. Borekambi hit a pretty fadeaway jumper and a tough runner something that he credits his long summers of playing street ball in Berlin and working on hitting difficult shots while using his instincts. Overall Schwenningen started to find their shooting touch as Moore nailed two trey´s and Tsvetkov also drained one. The guest suddenly were scoring with ease while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had no rhythm and were making horrible decisions on offense and just being too cute with the ball. Their ball movement wasn´t working and they couldn´t get open shots which resulted in more one on one plays. The wiha Panthers kept up their offense fire closing out the third quarter with a 10-4 run to lead 56-37 after 30 minutes. In the run, it was their usual suspects as Borekambi kept playing his sharp mid range game hitting two shots while Moore scored twice including a nice left handed dunk. “As soon as I knocked down one shot my confidence came around. Sometimes all it takes is seeing one shot to go through to help the self confidence. Our defense made them struggle to find shots. We found shots because of our defense. We shot better from outside and our transition was good. Our zone defense was key for us on our way to winning”, warned Rasheed Moore. “We had absolutely no answer for their zone. We couldn´t get good shots”, added Aaron Kayser. The wiha Panthers Schwenningen shot 47% from the field and hauled down 27 rebounds and had 8 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 29% from the field and were still at 0% from the parking lot at 0/14 and hauled down 30 rebounds and had 14 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the wiha Panthers Schwenningen played good defense not allowing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to get closer than 8 points back. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got off to a lightening start going on a 4-0 run in the first 27 seconds. Clarance nailed a 20 footer and Mavin made a quick steal at center court stealing the ball from Moore getting the easy lay in as Frankfurt trailed only 56-41. Frankfurt continued their run to 6-0 with a Kayser lay in as Cosmo Gruehn made the extra pass. After a Borekambi lay in, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors continued to keep up the offensive pressure as they went on a 8-1 run getting a trey and tip in dunk from Clarance and a three from Felix Hecker to cut the guests lead to 59-51. After a Tsvetkov and Leon Friederici baskets, Gruehn responded with a three pointer to cut the guests lead to 63-54. Frankfurt couldn´t get good stops down the stretch. The wiha Panthers Schwenningen got key baskets from Moore and Borekambi back to back to raise their lead to 69-56. Clarance nailed another three to cut the guests lead to 69-59, but time was winding down. Friederici who had been quiet for most of the game made some enormous support baskets in the fourth including a three for the 73-59 lead. Two more late Mavin three´s in the last minute were too little to late. “We knew that we had to keep the lead so we kept fighting and didn´t let them get close. They made some tough shots, but we always had answers”, warned Rasheed Moore. “We needed a push in the fourth, but didn´t get it. We didn´t play well together and had no answers for their different defensive formations”, added Aaron Kayser. The wiha Panthers were led by Bill Borekambi with 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals. Rasheed More added 15 points, 9 boards and 4 assists. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Elijah Clarance with 24 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists and Dennis Mavin added 14 points. The wiha Panthers Schwenningen shot 48% from the field and 43% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 14 coughed up balls while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 38% from the field and 24% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 19 coughed up balls.