The season for Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners has had two sides in that they have always played well against teams that they had to beat, but couldn´t find a way to beat the top teams like FC Bayern Munich, IBAM and Ludwigsburg. They continue to feast on the weaker teams. Last weekend they swept the season series against Giessen, but had their hands full winning a nail bitter 80-78. The 5-4 team met the weak Tennet Young hero´s from Bayreuth who have had a tough season having only a 1-8 record and have lost their last 8 games in a row after winning the season opener against Nurnberg. In the two teams first meeting, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners won 83-69 on the road where they controlled the boards. The Bavarian team as usual got a lot of support and production from their starting 5, but got only 3 points from their bench. In the return meeting, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners met a very motivated Bayreuth team that gave the home team a fierce fight, but a game has 40 minutes and in the second half the guests fell apart losing 99-79. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners upped their intensity and aggressiveness at both ends of the court and allowed only 27 points in the second half after allowing an unacceptable 30 points in the first quarter. After Frankfurt recorded it´s sixth win of the season a subdued Maxi Begue discussed the tale of two halves. “We had a terrible start at both ends of the court. We had no communication on defense in the first half. We underestimated them and figured that we would breeze by if we only watched out for Wenzl and Feneberg. We started talking more on defense in the second half and showed our game”, explained Maxi Begue. The Tennet Young Hero´s gave a good fight thanks to Nico Wenzl who produced 24 points in the first half, but was held to 2 points and 0/5 from outside in the second half which showed as Bayreuth had little extra fire power to compensate his lack of scoring. “In the first half we moved the ball well and hit shots. In the third quarter Frankfurt upped their intensity and we weren´t ready for it. We were unable to match their physical presence”, stated Tennet Young Hero guard Nico Wenzl.
Some may have been expecting Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners to rapidly dominate and run away with the contest early on since they were favorite and had a huge advantage with their length, but the Tennet Young Hero´s came to play and stuck with Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners from the get go being able to execute on offense against a club that gave up only 70 points on average. Bayreuth gave impulses inside right away as German Jonas Vogel scored twice showing that a 194cm player could execute inside. There were four lead changes at the start as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also tried to establish their inside game getting buckets from ex Cologne center Jordan Samare and 211cm big man Julian Steinfeld. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners held the lead, but couldn´t get away from Bayreuth because quick guard Nico Wenzl was hitting from all over. Frankfurt was playing transition and getting everyone involved as three point specialist Risto Vasiljevic scored as did the versatile Maxi Begue. It wasn´t only Wenzl that was executing, but the whole team was present as Vogel hit a hook shot and 18 year old 195cm small forward Lukas Pryszcz made free throws. The Tennet Young Hero´s got the lead back with a Wenzl trey 18-16. The lead changes continued to go back and forth as there were 6 in the first quarter. Vasiljevic nailed a three only to have Wenzl drop another trey giving Bayreuth the lead back at 23-21. Samare then dead locked the game at 23-23 on the pick and roll with Frederick Fischbach. But Wenzl remained aggressive and continued to have the hot hand scoring 5 unanswered points for the Bayreuth 28-23 lead. 17 year old Isaac Obanor made a lay in, but 16 year old 186cm 101 kilo power forward Dimitrios Karakasidis hit free throws as the Tenent Young Hero´s had the surprising 30-25 lead. “We had no communication on defense and allowed too many easy baskets. We didn´t force our inside game enough”, added Maxi Begue. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 71% form the field and 33% from outside and had 6 rebounds and 5 turnovers while the Tennet Young Hero´s shot 56% form the field and 50% form outside and had 7 rebounds and 2 turnovers.
In the second quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had a good start, but once again couldn´t defend consistently and allowed Nico Wenzl to wheel and deal and continue to hit shots leading at the break by only 1 point. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began with a 11-4 run to retake the lead at 36-35. They began to force the inside game and had success. 17 year old ex U-16 German national player Christian Feneberg began the quarter with a trey giving the guests the 33-25 advantage. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners then began to up their aggressiveness on offense getting a three from ex TG Hanau forward Calvin Schaum and free throws from Maxi Begue. They then got big man Julian Steinfeld involved as Obanor gave a perfect lob pass for the easy basket and Schaum then delivered the perfect alley-oop pass for the Steinfeld dunk. Begue then scored in the paint giving Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners the 36-35 lead. Besides getting their inside game going again, Frankfurt sneaked in some press defense and overall were just playing smarter and better team basketball. Wenzl had been on the bench a few minutes, but was inserted and right away took over achieving 5 points for the 40-36 Bayreuth lead. The German guard who has one BBL game on his resume halted the Frankfurt momentum and demonstrated how strong he is mentally as he was that game changer that Bayreuth needed. After 18 year old 198cm forward Benjamin Hoehmann made a lay in, Frankfurt received some production from Fischbach with 3 points, but Bayreuth still led 42-41. Wenzl was so focused and on his game that one could sense that he didn´t want to give up the lead again as he drained a three pointer and Feneberg followed with a floater and 47-43 lead. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners never gave up and knew exactly where their strength was as they continued to feed Steinfeld the ball inside and he came through with a tip in and dunk for the 49-47 Frankfurt lead. Feneberg countered with a trey and 50-49 Bayreuth lead, but Vasiljevic stole the lead back for Frankfurt with free throws. There would be two more lead changes as there were 7 in all in the second quarter as Pryszcz and Fischbach traded free throws as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led only 53-52 at halftime. “Wenzl is a good guard that hit shots. You can´t underestimate him. He gave us 24 points in the first half, but in the second half we did a better job on him as he scored only 2 points”, stressed Maxi Begue. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 66% form the field and 29% from the three point line and had 18 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Tennet Young hero´s shot 49% form the field and 54% from the three point line and had 14 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
The turning point of the contest occurred in the third quarter as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got going quickly getting the lead into double digits and never looked back. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began with a quick 11-3 run to extend their lead to 64-55. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners did a good job attacking inside and taking advantage of the mis matches. Begue began with a hook shot, Vasiljevic scored in the paint, Steinfeld hit free throws, Fischbach made a steal and lay in on the coast to coast sprint and Schaum connected on a trey. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners finally was putting it together consistently at both ends of the court. Especially on defense, they upped their intensity which led to easy baskets on offense. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play the Tenent Young Hero´s very tough continuing to defend well and banging the ball inside. Steinfeld who at age 18 is playing his first NBBL season after living 2 years in the States has made a good transition back to Germany and came up big with a block and scored 3 times as Frankfurt led comfortably 74-60. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had control of the game with good ball movement and decision making and were defending Wenzl tougher as he couldn´t make any more shots while Feneberg had to take up more responsibility. Down the stretch of the third quarter, the Tennet Young Hero´s got some clutch three´s from 16 year old Florian Kaempf who´s grandfather is the well known German coach Georg Kaempf and 18 year old Lukas Pryszcz to keep them in striking distance, but Vasiljevic closed out the third frame with an offensive rebound and put back for the 79-66 Frankfurt lead. “We began to play more inside as they had no height to defend us. We also took advantage of the many mismatches”, added Maxie Begue. “We lost energy. Their posting up hurt us as well. Their big men are good passers and had the ability to make the kick out passes to the shooters”, stressed Nico Wenzl.. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 64% from the field and 30% from the parking lot and had 30 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Tenent Young hero´s shot 42% form the field and 46% from the parking lot and had 21 rebounds and 9 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play their game and execute while the Tennet Young Hero´s were unable to overcome the big deficit and have the energy needed to stage a successful comeback. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners started with a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 87-68. Frankfurt was sharing the ball around well and continuing to get everyone involved as Isaac Obanor showed his extreme athleticism scoring in the paint and then made free throws on the next possession. Frankfurt continued to annoy and take advantage of their physicality feeding Steinfeld inside who finished with a two handed dunk and 16 year old Pierre Bathoum also got aggressive inside making a dunk. Wenzl got Bayreuth´s first points of the fourth quarter with free throws at the 6.16 mark and he would never score again in the game. Pryszcz gave the Tenent Young hero´s their first field goal of the last frame at the 5,34 minute mark to trail 87-70. Both teams closed out the game with good offensive execution, but Bayreuth had to big of a deficit to make any kind of a turn around. Samare scored back to back buckets to help his stats while NBBL rookie Amir Dorn played tough with his 190cm´s getting an offensive rebound and put back and making a runner. Bayreuth got a basket from Kaempf and two from Hoehmann. After 40 minutes, Begue reflected on the last 10 minutes. “We shot well and had another run. We played like we did in the third quarter and finished the game well”, stated Maxi Begue. “We fought well the whole game, but were tired at the end. It was tough having to come back with a smaller rotation”, stressed Nico Wenzl. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners had 6 players score in double figures with Julian Steinfeld registering 18 points and 13 boards. Maxi Begue added 15 points, 8 rebounds and 4 assists while Risto Vasiljevic added 14 points and Frederik Fischbach had 13 points. The Tennet Young Hero´s were led by Nico Wenzl with 26 points. Christian Feneberg added 13 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists while Benjamin Hoehmann added 11 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 58% from the field and 19% from outside and had 46 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Tenent Young Hero´s shot 41% from the field and 40% from outside and had 27 rebounds and 12 turnovers.