It only seemed like yesterday when the Pro B season had kicked off as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had began with a winning rage as they won their first six games as the Swedish shooting star Elijath Clarance had made his athletic presence quickly felt with crushing dunks left and right and at a pace that seemed amazing while BBC Coburg got their season going having gotten up on the wrong side of the bed losing five of their first six games and left the court with a bitter taste after the annoying 77-76 loss at the hands of the Basketball Lowen something that would haunt them especially on the last regular season game day as they arrived in Frankfurt. BBC Coburg had been up and down coming in with a 9-12 record, but only a few weeks ago in the playoff spots, but on the last game day even with a win and a Lowen Loss would not reach the playoffs, because they had lost both regular season games by only one point thus helping secure the team from Erfurt with the eighth and last playoff spot. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors on the other hand came into the last regular season game with a 12-9 record and needed to win while hoping that Giessen or FC Bayern Munich could win against the ScanPlus Baskets or the wiha Panthers Schwenningen giving them home court advantage for the playoffs. Usually after a win or loss the Frankfurt players stretch in one corner, but after the big 74-69 win over BBC Coburg, there were many players crowded around a lab top at center court seeing the last seconds in Elchlingen. After the Scanplus Baskets had lost a one point heart breaker to Giessen, it was clear that Frankfurt had received home court advantage for the first round of the playoffs. Frankfurt also got help from FC Bayern Munich who also won with one point at Schwenningen. After the win German Konstantin Schubert reflected on the victory. “We survived the Coburg runs and comebacks and also added our own runs. We were able to hold up against their runs and make the deciding points when we needed them. We did a good job sticking to the game plan and getting Armin Trtovac and Aaron Kayser the ball in the paint. Our turnovers continue to be a problem for us”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. Not having the right focus and energy cost BBC Coburg the last three loses and tonight it was their defense that couldn´t make the big plays down the stretch. “We went back to bad habits in this game. We got beat too much 1-1 and our help side wasn´t good. We did a good job not fouling, but we need to have more intensity on defense and keep teams out of the paint. We have to fight a little bit harder”, stressed ex Uni Baskets Paderborn guard Chase Adams.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without German Richard Freudenberg and Swedish shooting star Elijah Clarance. Both teams found their offensive rhythm quickly as they traded leads back and forth. BBC Coburg guard from France Kevin Franceschi got going quickly nailing two pull up jumpers and also dropping a trey as he was quickly 3/3 from the field. Frankfurt moved the ball around well in the early going getting a three from ex USC Freiburg forward Cosmo Gruehn, and a left handed lay in from ex Bremerhaven guard Garai Zeeb. With BBC Coburg up 11-7, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors stormed out on a lethal 14-0 run to take the commanding 21-11 lead. Frankfurt began pounding the ball inside and got two baskets from Trtovac and a Lay in from Kayser on the pick and roll after getting the perfect feed from Garai Zeeb. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors also let the long ball thrive as Zeeb connected as did 16 year old 2018 JBBL MVP Len Schoormann. Schoorman scored again using his quick first step scoring with an easy lay in. After a Franceschi lay in, it was Kayser that closed out the scoring in the first quarter with a lay in getting the nice pass from Maxi Begue. “We did a good job getting Armin and Aaron involved and taking advantage of our size inside forcing their big man to their third foul early”, added Konstantin Schubert. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 53% from the field and 50% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 3 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 29% from the field and 13% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
The second quarter remained tight as BBC Coburg started with a run to get to one point of Frankfurt, but the home team was able to keep the lead going into the break. BBC Coburg started with a bang hitting Frankfurt with a 6-0 run to cut Frankfurt lead to 23-21. BBC Coburg did like Frankfurt did in the first getting their big man Max Von Der Wippel involved as he made an offensive rebound and put back and connected on a 20 footer while ex Baunach guard Steffen Walde hit a jumper. BBC Coburg had a good rhythm on offense, but couldn´t handle the German inside duo of Trtovac and Kayser who would combine for 35 points almost half of the clubs points. Trtovac scored twice and Kayser got another easy bucket in the paint as Frankfurt led 31-25. Both clubs also displayed fine shooting as Zeeb nailed two three´s, while the guests got three´s from Chase Adams who played the last three seasons in the Pro A with Paderborn and Hanau playing 90 contests and scoring in double figures 56 times and German Yassin Turan who is in his sixth season with the club as Frankfurt led 37-33. Adams dropped another trey while Aaron Kayser continued to find his spots and make easy buckets scoring twice. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the slim 41-36 advantage at the break. “We had a bad phase in the second quarter where we shot too many three´s and took too many quick shots instead of concentrating on getting the big men the ball inside”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. The Fraport Skyliners shot 51% from the field and 38% from the three point line and grabbed 20 rebounds while getting 8 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 35% from the field and 19% from the three point line and grabbed 11 rebounds and had 7 turnovers.
The contest remained a game of runs as in the third quarter saw the Fraport Skyliners begin strong being able to lead by double digits, but allowed BBC Coburg to come back and cut their lead down to 4 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got off to a quick start going on a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 48-36. Frankfurt upped their defense achieving 7 stops and did a good job taking advantage of the weak Coburg 1-1 defense getting easy lay ins from Gruehn and Schoormann and got another trey from Zeeb. The German who got his first BBL experience with Bremerhaven hasn´t always played Pro B in the last weeks on account of conflict in his schedule with the easyCredit BBL team where he has a double license. Frankfurt was fortunate that Zeeb was on board, because other import guard Dennis Mavin had a poor shooting night putting up the big goose egg with 0 points. Zeeb took some of that needed input that Frankfurt couldn´t get from Mavin. The game remained a game of runs as now BBC Coburg struck back with a brutal 16-4 run to dead lock the game at 52-52. In the run the Bavarian team got much needed input from Baltimore native Chase Adams who produced 11 points being aggressive and getting to the free throw line 4 times. Adams who once hit Hanau for 29 points in the Pro A and also pounded Baunach with 27 points became more aggressive and was able to lead the team in the come back. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors closed out the third half with a 4-0 run as Schoormann made a free throw and Trtovac scored again for the 56-52 lead after 30 minutes. “Guys like Adams and Franceschi are great 1-1 players and can always get hot. We knew they could get hot at any time especially when they showed it in the first game”, stressed Konstantin Schubert. “It continued to be a game of runs. We showed better execution in this quarter and got to the free throw line”, added Chase Adams. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 45% from the field and 32% from the parking lot and got 32 rebounds and had 15 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 34% from the field and 25% from the parking lot and got 26 rebounds and had 12 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors kept a comfortable lead, but it was clear that BBC Coburg would make one more run and they did, but some key missed free throws and an offensive foul cost them the game. BBC Coburg got on the board first with as ex Ehingen forward Christoph Wolf who showcased a runner as Frankfurt led only 56-54. But one thing that the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have displayed all season long is that they can go on quick runs especially when their trey´s are dropping. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to launch a 9-0 run to smoothly extend their lead to 65-54. In the run, Frankfurt countered their snipers from down town as Begue and Gruehn hit and then they mixed it up giving the ball to Trtovac who got another easy basket inside and a free throw. BBC Coburg had some energy left and raced out on a 14-4 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 69-68. “We got nervous with their changing of zone to man. We need to be more calm in those situations, but that is normal for a young team”, added Konstantin Schubert. “ We showed fighting qualities. I always preach consistent energy. If you drop it, teams pounce on it. When you lack focus and energy, teams take advantage of it”, stressed Chase Adams. BBC Coburg got valuable production from German Dino Dizdarevic who played 27 BBL games with Gotha last season. He nailed a trey and executed on a pull up jumper. The Cobrug press and their switching from zone to man caught Frankfurt off guard breaking their rhythm. Adams connected for a trey to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 69-66. BBC Coburg did a good job stepping up the defensive pressure causing Frankfurt to cough up the ball more. They continued to pressure Frankfurt and German big man Max Von Der Wippel got the free throw line three times, but shot only 3/6. Overall the team shot well from the free throw line at 21/25 for 84%, but when they needed free throws the most, they couldn´t capitalize. With 1.17 to play Schoormann scored on an aggressive lay in for the 71-68 lead. Chase Adams then produced an offensive foul which sealed the win for Frankfurt. Trtovac made two more free throws closing out the 74-69 win. “The game changer was the offensive foul from Adams on Pons. When that happened I knew we had won”, said Konstantin Schubert. “We missed free throws and we didn´t expect my offensive foul. You have to live with it and keep playing. It was a real bummer”, stressed Chase Adams. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Armin Trtovac with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Garai Zeeb added 16 points and Aaron Kayser produced 14 points while Len Schoormann added 10 points. BBC Coburg was led by Chase Adams with 21 points. Kevin Franceschi with 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 49% from the field and 36% from outside and had 42 rebounds and 21 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 32% from the field and 24% from outside while getting 35 rebounds and coughing up the ball 14 times.