Trevor Releford Powers The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig Past The Fraport Skyliners 82-81

You can never make it right for any player when it comes to just how many games a team should play per week. Euroleague teams will have 2-3 games per week, while teams playing in the other international competitions mostly 2 games. Players of these teams will complain that it´s too much and not enough recovery time, but then again teams that didn´t make the playoffs the season before will mostly not play more than one game per week, which adds up to 4 per month. NBA players at least can travel in style in private jets and live in the best hotels, but they also have the tear and wear of playing12-16 games per month. But what happens in a player´s mind when they played only 1 game in the whole month? Well the player either totally gets sick of practice or gets used to the little competition. Well this happened to the Fraport Skyliners. With the way their schedule worked this season, they had one game from the period of November 23rd to December 22nd. “It´s tough having to always practice and stay focused for just 1 game. In practice it is always the same competition”, added ex BG Goettingen forward Adam Waleskowski. The good news for the 4-6 team was that they made the most of it and played a strong game 2 weeks ago defeating the Crailsheim Merlins that surprisingly began the season on fire winning their first 5 games in a row. Even with Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson being the ultimate warrior and competitor who would play 40 minutes each game if he could, surely didn´t mind the down time for his body. It was finally time to get back on the floor against the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig who also started the season with a bang winning four of their first five games, but since were riding a bitter 4 game losing streak. The guests also had a new meeting with ex player Joe Rahon who had played with them last season and recently joined the Fraport Skyliners. It was another one of those exciting games that went down to the wire with the game tied, Frankfurt had it in their hands, but 2 misses in the last seconds cost them the win losing 82-81. After the bitter loss new Skyliner Joe Rahon who had a strong game scoring 16 points and organizing the Frankfurt game well reflected on the tough loss. “We knew that they were a good offensive team. We played good defense allowing only 27 points in the first half. But in the second half, they started to make shots, Eatherton got going and their zone hurt us. This was a heart breaker loss. It will hurt for a few days, but we will bounce back”, stated Fraport Skyliner guard Joe Rahon. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig needed a win badly after 4 loses and new player Jarius Lyles was jubilant after the win, but warned that they still can play better. “We still aren´t playing our best basketball. Our zone worked very well in the second half. But the most important aspect was that we fought, stuck together and came up with the win”, added Jarius Lyles.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber with Jarius Lyles after the 82-81 win in Frankfurt

When you haven´t seen the Fraport Skyliners play at home for a month, then the yearning to see them grows and even brings out extra fans as 5,002 people were in the Fraport arena. The Fraport Skyliners didn´t look rusty having played only 1 game in a month making 3 Braunschweig stops on defense and gave an early indication that they could dominate in the paint as Joe Rahon made a left hand lay in and ex Ludwigsburg guard Lamont Jones also scored on the penetration. Braunschweig finally got on the board going on their own mini 4-0 run as Karm Jallow scored on a hard one hand dunk and ex MBC guard Trevor Releford hit a step back jumper to dead lock the contest at 4-4. Braunschweig would take the 6-5 lead with a Jarius Lyles free throw, but Frankfurt quickly grabbed back the lead wit two Leon Kratzer shots. Braunschweig stuck to doubling dangerous scorer Lamont Jones which opened up the floor for Frankfurt to look for many offensive options and execute. After Waleskowski free throws, Austrian national player Thomas Klepeisz hit a tough off balance trey to cut the Frankfurt lead to 12-10. After another Jones double team session, Frankfurt got a trey from wide open ex Michigan State sniper Matt Mcquaid as the Fraport Skyliners led 15-11 after 10 minutes. “It was a slow start for us, but expected after a 2 week break. But we played solid defense”, stated Adam Waleskowski. The Fraport Skyliners shot 40 % from the two point range and 20% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig shot 29% from the field and 33% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 7 turnovers.

In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners took control of the game and except for a minor Braunschweig run halfway through the quarter, the home team led by double digits at the break.  Frankfurt went on a 6-2 run to begin the second quarter to extend their lead to 21-13. In the run, Leon Kratzer scored on a hook shot, Quantez Robertson scored inside with his left hand and Rahon made a runner while Releford nailed a pull up jumper. After the Frankfurt run, it was Braunschweig that reacted going on a 5-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to only 21-18. In the run ex BG Goettingen center Scott Eatherton scored all 5 points and was nursing 2 fouls. Frankfurt had lost some intensity in this phase, but it didn´t take them long to buckle down on defense again and go on their next run of 9-2 to extend their lead to 21-18. In the run, German forward Richard Freudenberg connected on a trey, Kratzer had an easy hook shot as there was little resistance from Eatherton who had 2 fouls,  and two lay ins from Jones and Robertson who had little trouble breaking into the zone and scoring. Braunschweig didn´t look good in this phase allowing many easy baskets as there was little communication on defense and no help defense either. In the last few minutes of the first half, Braunschweig did a good job getting to the free throw line, but didn´t execute as well and got 4 points from 27 year old 3 time Belgium cup winner Aleksandar Marelja. Frankfurt continued to control the paint getting two lay in´s from Rahon and one from Robertson as the Fraport Skyliners led 37-27 at half-time. “We ran our plays well on offense and continued to play solid defense. Jones did a good job attacking inside and we got Eatherton in foul trouble”, stated Adam Waleskowski. The Fraport Skyliners shot 59% from the two point range and 22% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig shot 32% from the two point range and 29% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 8 turnovers.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Adam Waleskowski in the post game interview after the loss

In the third quarter it looked like the Fraport Skyliners would wrap up the win early leading by as much as 17 points, but the invincible Trevor Releford would take matters into his own hands and get his team back into the game. The Fraport Skyliners got another rapid start going on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 43-29. Frankfurt continued to attack the weak zone of Braunschweig getting easy buckets from Rahon, Jones and Kratzer. Jones continued to hurt Braunschweig with his quick intelligent passes out of the double team to produce easy baskets. Braunschweig got some key three´s from Klepeisz and ex Alba Berlin guard Lucca Staiger, but Frankfurt just had too much offensive power to contain. Robertson scored inside, but Frankfurt also let the long ball fly as Freudenberg and Mcquaid connected for the Frankfurt 52-35 advantage. But then all of a sudden the Frankfurt offense was slowed down as it became Releford time. The ex Alabama(NCAA) guard got on fire  and led Braunschweig on a 16-4 run to trail only 56-51 after 30 minutes. The American scored 15 points on three three´s, 2 lay in´s and a free throw. “I took what the defense gave me and I was more aggressive. I just tried to help my team as much as possible”, stressed Trevor Releford. “Releford single-handedly got them back into the game. He was hitting shots left and right. They shot the ball and moved the ball better”, added Adam Waleskowski. “Releford is the leader of the team. He hits big big shots and held us on his back. His play shows the commitment and work ethic that he has. He never quits”, stated Jarius Lyles. The Fraport Skyliners shot 63% from the two point range and 29% from the parking lot and had 28 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig shot 36% from the two point range and 41% from the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 9 turnovers.

The fourth quarter proved to be a real dog fight as the Fraport Skyliners couldn´t shake the Basketball Lowen Braunschweig as they were forced into overtime. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig came into the fourth quarter down, but not out and kept chipping away getting to the free throw line and got a key trey from Karim Jallow. While Frankfurt held the slim lead getting good offensive production from Freudenberg with a 2 handed dunk and trey for the 65-59 Frankfurt lead, but Frankfurt also picked up their fifth team foul at the 5,07 minute mark. Braunschweig continued to play with a lot of self-confidence and rattled Frankfurt with a swift 10-2 run to regain the lead again 69-67 something they hadn´t had since the first quarter. Releford continued to be an annoying menace scoring twice in the paint while Klepeisz hit another trey and Eatherton made a lay in for the lead. Whenever Frankfurt gave a punch with a basket with a Jones three, Braunschweig quietly countered with a swifter punch as Jallow was standing all alone inside getting the bullet pass from Staiger to tie the game at 71-71. The rapid punches continued as Robertson and Releford traded basket as the game was deadlocked at 74-74 with 23 seconds to go. Frankfurt had one last attempt to win the game as Jones penetrated and his runner was blocked, but Freudenberg anticapted well where he ball was and tipped it in, but not in time as the buzzer had sounded. “We continued to trade baskets and just stuck together at the end to force overtime”, stated Jarius Lyles. “The end was so close. Both teams hit big shots. We just came up short at the end”, stressed Adam Waleskwski.

Miles Schmidt-Scheuber and Trevor Releford who dropped 28 points in the victory

Jallow began the overtime period with a lay in while Joe Rahon once again cracked the defense and scored an easy lay up to tie the game at 76-76. It was an outstanding home debut for Rahon who finished with 16 points shooting 58% from the field, had 4 rebounds, 7 assists and 2 steals. After the bitter loss he explained his mind set during the game concerning his role. “I wanted to be aggressive myself as well as be aggressive to make a play. I took what the defense gave me. I scored some easy baskets on transition and found my spots”, added Joe Rahon. Even with the game tight, the Fraport Skyliners looked to be in control with their body language and executed twice well in the paint getting buckets from Kratzer and Jones for the 81-77 advantage with 1,19 to play. Now Frankfurt seemed to be in the driver seat. But Frankfurt would never score again. Braunschweig struck back with a key three from Staiger to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 81-80 with 58 seconds to go. Braunschweig then got a stop on Jones and came back and Releford hit 2 clutch free throws for the 82-81 lead. Frankfurt had 13 seconds left to win the game. In the last seconds they had two good looks from Waleskowski and Freudenberg, but were denied. Waleskowski missed a left handed hook shot while Freudenberg missed an off balance three that was uncontested. “They made their shots at the end. Mcquaid made a good pass to Waleskowski for a shot attempt and Freudenberg had a little more time then he thought. You would think that when Waleskowski gets a left handed hook near the basket and Freudenebrg gets an open three that at least one would fall”, stressed Joe Rahon. “I had no idea how much time was left. I rushed myself. I make that shot 9/10 times. I couldn´t hit anything today”, expressed Adam waleskowski. “Staiger hit a big shot. That is what he does. He is a vocal leader on our team. We fought hard on the last play and did what we could to limit their chances of scoring”, stressed Jarius Lyles. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig were led by Trevor Releford with 28 points. Thomas Klepcisz added 12 points, Scot Eatherton had 11 points and Karim Jallow contributed 10 points and 6 rebounds while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Joe Rahon and Leon Kratzer with 16 points a piece. Quantez Robertson and Richard Freudenberg added 14 points a piece. The Basketball Lowen Braunschweig shot 39% from the field and 41% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 11 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 39% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 16 turnovers.

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