What is better than having two totally different teams face off, but having come off two huge nail bitters wins. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had began the season with a severe drought losing their first 6 games, but finally won their first game of the season at home against the Arvato College Wizards 79-75. In that game Frankfurt received some clutch crunch-time shooting from guards Philipp Hadenfeldt and Matthew Meredith which carried the team to victory. The EPG Baskets Koblenz on the other hand rebounded from a massive drubbing in Ulm and returned 72 hours later to eek out a breathtaking thriller win 82-81 in Giessen despite having to accept a 35 point explosion from ex German national player Johannes Lischka. The EPG Baskets Koblenz had 4 guys to score in double figures and were led by athletic flyer Brian Butler with 23 points and ex Speyer guard DJ Woodmore filled up the stat sheet like no other with 16 points, 10 boards and 6 dimes. Now Koblenz welcomed a very very young team with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors who have an average age of only 19 and the home team was heavily favored on paper. The contest also marked the return of 15 year huge German talent Joshua Bonga who is the younger brother of Isaac who currently plays for the Washington Wizards and began his career in Koblenz. Bonga had a tough start, but then finished with 6 points, but was unable to give any heroics as the EPG Baskets Koblenz controlled the game despite having some ups and downs in the first half showing no mercy destroying the Fraport Skyliners Juniors 88-45. After the gigantic win, EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Danny Sullivan stood at the press conference with the usual same expression and didn´t really seem impressed by the domination. “Overall we gave a good performance. We couldn´t hold our energy level in the first half and allowed Frankfurt to come back shortly before half-time. The team has to understand that we live off our energy level at both ends of the court. When the team starts to understand that we have to give gas for 40 minutes, then we will be difficult to beat”, stressed head coach Danny Rodriguez. Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija knew that he had just faced the best team in the Pro B and that his team would have needed a perfect performance to win. “All guys can score on this team and that is why they are one of the best teams in the league. They have so much experience that they just know how to play. We didn´t invest enough to be able to stay with a team like Koblenz”, stressed Miran Cumurija.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got on the board first executing their first play well as German forward Clavin Schaum nailed a trey. But that didn´t impress the home team as they rapidly sped on a 7-0 run. In the run, Koblenz got a three pointer from ex Speyer guard DJ Woodmore and as usual got German forward Brian Butler involved quickly and early as he connected on a turn around shot and then made a hard one handed dunk tip toeing around Calvin Schaum Frankfurt got a tap in from German Matthew Meredith, but Koblenz just kept pouring on the sound offense as Butler scored two more times and ex Fordham(NCAA) guard Zaire Thompson dropped a trey for the 15-5 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz offense was flowing with beautiful ball movement and just great ball movement while Frankfurt´s offense was sloppy and they couldn´t get adjusted to the aggressiveness and physicality of Koblenz´s defense. However Frankfurt may be a young team, but not one that will hang their heads in the sand. They came back going on a swift 9-1 run to cut Koblenz´s lead to only 16-14. In the run they got some big support from Schaum with two baskets and Meredith used his stellar inside game scoring first on a reverse lay up and then nailing a three pointer. Koblenz lost their offensive rhythm and had mental lapses something they have had to live with all season long. Frankfurt increased their intensity at both ends and helped better on defense. But out of nothing the EPG Baskets Koblenz erased the great Frankfurt comeback by slapping a rude 7-0 run in their face taking a 23-14 lead after 10 minutes. Koblenz got baskets from ex Leverkusen forward CJ Oldham and a runner from ex Tuebingen forward Jacon Mampuya. A big strength of the EPG Baskets Koblenz is their great ability to be able to dominate their opponents by their individual skill class something that Frankfurt couldn´t match on this night.
In the second quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz dominated for the most part leading by as much as 18 points, but then lost focus in the last few minutes allowing the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to cut their deficit under 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors actually had a good start going on a quick 4-0 run getting baskets from ex Wurzburg guard Philipp Hadenfeld and a lay in from 18 year old German Alexander Richardson while getting 4 consecutive stops to trail only 23-18. But once again a little burst of energy and baskets didn´t faze the EPG Baskets Koblenz as they then exploded for a lethal 15-3 run to totally open the contest and take the overwhelming 38-21 lead. In the run the EPG Baskets Koblenz got some serious production from Virginia native DJ Woodmore who took matters into his own hands scoring 9 unanswered points. The club also got a clutch three pointer from ex Schwenningen center Edin Alispahic who had a super efficient game finishing with 9 points and 6 boards in 8 minutes off the bench. The EPG Baskets Koblenz once again used their individual class from DJ Woodmore to break open the game while Frankfurt was unable to match the physicality of Koblenz. But like in the first quarter, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t want to crawl back into the locker room at the break down by 20 and clawed back together going on a 9-1 run to cut the Koblenz lead down to 39-30. In the run, Frankfurt got a trey from 15 year old German Joshua Bonga and got vital support from German big man Jordan Samare who dominated inside the paint getting two lay in´s and then finishing off the second quarter with a pretty alley op dunk getting the nice pass from ex TV Langen forward Leon Pullen. It was no surprise that Frankfurt coach Miran Cumurija had to answer his thoughts about the young German gem Bonga who was back home in Koblenz. “Of course I wish him to reach the highest level with the NBA like his brother Isaac. He is a super guy who is always working hard and just wants to play. He shows each day that he isn´t afraid of anybody”, added Miran Cumurija. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed once again that they are always good for a surprise while the EPG Baskets Koblenz were up and down.
In the third quarter the EPG Baskets Koblenz shifted up from second gear to fifth gear winning the quarter 28-5 and thus deciding the game after 30 minutes. The EPG Baskets Koblenz really buckled down on the defensive end upping their aggressiveness and physicality and didn´t allow the first Frankfurt field goal until the 3,19 minute mark. Butler scored the first points for Koblenz with a free throw and then was followed by a trey by DJ Woodmore for the 43-30 lead. It is always a pleasure to observe DJ Woodmore stand somewhere and just release that three pointer with so much confidence just as if he is in a relationship with the basket. He just knows that nothing will fail with his special relationship with the basket. Koblenz continued to defend with passion and expertise causing Frankfurt turnovers while also increasing their three point execution as CJ Oldham and Dutch forward Chad Wellian connected for the 51-31 advantage. The EPG Baskets Koblenz also showed their presence inside as they used their immense physicality getting baskets from Butler and Alispahic for the 55-31 advantage. Koblenz was also doing a great job getting extra possessions with increased offensive rebounds. Frankfurt finally received it´s first field goal of the third quarter from Alex Richardson to cut down the huge Koblenz lead to 55-33. Frankfurt had no rhythm on offense and just continued to cough up the ball while the EPG Baskets Koblenz continued to be super consistent and closed out the quarter with a 12-2 run to lead 67-35 after 30 minutes. In the run, the home team continued to share the ball so unselfishly as Butler made a massive two handed dunk, sniper Jean Louis Marley nailed a trey, Woodmore made a steal and lay in and Alispahic made free throws. “We kept the pressure on as Frankfurt lost it´s soul and had no more energy”, stressed EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach Danny Rodriguez. “We weren´t in the game and hung our heads. Koblenz was more prepared then we were and wanted it more”, added Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Miran Cumurija.
In the fourth quarter, the EPG Baskets Koblenz had the massive 28 point lead and just closed out the game well winning the quarter 21-10. The EPG Baskets Koblenz began the fourth quarter well producing 4 stops on Frankfurt and got two baskets from German Noah Westerhaus and a trey from Chad Wellian for the 72-35 lead. Frankfurt got their first field goal of the fourth quarter from Cem Akbayir who dropped a trey. Koblenz wasn´t as forceful on offense, but still got baskets when they needed to from German Henning Schaake and another trey from Jean Louis Marley to extend their lead to 77-41.The EPG Baskets Koblenz did agreat job on the defensive end allowing only 15 points in the second half. “We switched a lot in the first half and played better on the pick and role in the second half. We also rotated better and had better communication”, added EPG Baskets Koblenz forward CJ Oldham. With the contest more than decided EPG Baskets Koblenz head coach allowed some of his young German kids to come in with ex Giessen guard Lukas Meyer and ex Alba Berlin center Joshua Luebken. Both didn´t disappoint as Luebkem executed two pretty hook shots as he took some of that Brian Butler inside presence to his game muscling close to the basket and scoring while Meyer made a pull up jumper and free throw. “We played well together and played fast. We had our ups and downs in the first half, but did a good job controlling the game in the second half”, said German Henning Schaake. All 12 EPG Baskets Koblenz players recorded points. The club was led by DJ Woodmore with 18 points and Brian Butler added 15 points while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Jordan samara with 8 points and 7 rebounds and Calvin Schaum and Matthew Meredith chipped in with 7 points a piece. The EPG Baskets Koblenz shot 43% from the field and 32% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 32% from the field and 26% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 29 turnovers.