2020 was a really difficult period for everyone in the world, but also in sports, it wasn´t generous to certain clubs like the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. Basketball life could only get better for Frankfurt in 2021.They began the season with a 6 game losing streak and finally beat Karlsruhe at the beginning of December. Frankfurt which has an average age of 19 have no real experience and that has shown on the court as they only average 61 points per game and allow 80 points per game. Their opponent the Dresden Titans on the other hand came into the contest with a very solid 5-1 record, but came to Frankfurt for their first contest in 2021 last having played on November 28th. They were hit by the Corona bug as were their opponents which gave them a very long Corona break. It was a homecoming for Dresden big man Aaron Kayser who played in the Frankfurt organization last season and Georg Voigtman also returned even if he had never played for the Fraport Skyliners club, but his brother Johannes had made history bringing the team their third club title in 2016. Both teams came into the game motivated especially Frankfurt who had been blown out in their last game in Koblenz by 43 points. But the Dresden Titans showed strong nerves in crunch time getting big stops as they were able to grind out a nail bitting 67-62 victory over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors as they moved to 6-1 and Frankfurt fell to 1-8. “I have to give a huge compliment to Frankfurt. They are much improved from the first game. We made this game unnecessarily exciting in the second half. We shot very poorly and when you give up so many offensive rebounds, it is likely that it will be a tight game”, stressed Dresden Titans head coach Fabian Strauss. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors played a very spirited game, but in the end it was their inexperience and errors that cost them the game. “We played la la in the first half. We had our ups and downs on offense and defense. In the second half we came back and played with more pressure on defense and got stops. We had our chances to tie the game, but we just couldn´t do it”, stressed Fraport Skyliners Juniors guard Maxi Begue.
The Dresden Titans didn´t waste anytime jumping all over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors going on a rapid 6-0 lead. Frankfurt couldn´t handle the Titans intensity as ex Chemnitz center Georg Voigtmann scored a massive two handed dunk, ex Alba Berlin youth player Daniel Kirchner used his speed for a lay in and ex Stahnsdorf German Julius Stahl also scored in the paint as Frankfurt´s one on one defense was non existent. The first quarter would be an up and down affair for both teams as now Frankfurt responded with a 7-2 run as NBBL allstar Jordan Samare made a tip in, Len Schoorman who had played in Weissenfels the night before connected on a floater and two time ANGT player Alvin Onyia scored on a lay in, but Dresden still led 8-7. Now it was Dresden´s turn again to find some offensive daylight going on a 8-1 run to extend their lead to 16-8. Dresden upped their defensive intensity getting two steals in a row that led to easy baskets by ex Chemnitz German Arne Wendler and ex BBL player Lennart Laryaz. Ex Skyliner Aaron Kayser also made a lay in in the run. There was time for one more run as the Fraport Skyliners delivered a swift punch with a 8-2 run to cut the Dresden advantage to 18-17 after 10 minutes. In the Frankfurt run, Frankfurt got some potent three point support from ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith and ex BG Goettingen guard Philipp Hadenfeldt. Meredith also made a huge hustle play under the Dresden basket getting a loose ball and making a shovel pass to ex Rostock Noah Kamden who made the easy lay in. The Dresden Titans shot well from the field at 53%, but hadn´t made a three pointer, while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were struggling shooting 32% from the field and 33% from down town. Dresden had 11 boards and 5 turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
In the second quarter the offense was reduced in the first few minutes, but half way through the second quarter the Dresden Titans were able to break away and lead by as much as 10 points and led 37-28 at the break. There were four lead changes in the first few minutes as ex TG Hanau forward Calvin Schaum gave Frankfurt it´s first lead 19-18 with free throws. Georg Voigtmann then scored on transition for the Dresden 20-19 lead, while Jordan Samare reacted catching a Schaum airball and tapping in the ball for the 21-20 advantage. Voigtmann struck again nailing a pretty 20 footer for the 22-21 Dresden lead. This was followed by a Stahl transition basket and Max Von der Wippel free throw for the Dresden 25-21 lead. Schoormann followed up with a hard two handed dunk from the wing giving a nice head fake as he had a clear lane to the rim and Frankfurt trailed 25-23. But as quickly as Frankfurt was tight on Dresden as quick as they were trailing by 10 points as Dresden manufactured another swift run of 9-1 to extend their lead to 34-24. In the run, Dresden got valuable support from their big men as ex Coburg center Von Der Wippel who did a fantastic job using his massive body to get easy position next to the basket for a lay in and Voigtmann scored on transition while Laryaz hit a runner. Frankfurt had problems taking care of the ball while Dresden lived off Frankfurt turnovers and got easy baskets. Frankfurt got some vital buckets at the end as Matthew Meredith was aggressive getting an offensive rebound and tap in while 18 year old raw German Alexander Richardson made a lay in off the lob pass from Calvin Schaum, but the Dresden Titans led 37-28. Dresden still was shooting at a high percentage from the field at 54%, but couldn´t hit the ocean from outside at 14% while Frankfurt had their shooting woes at 33% from the field and 22% from the parking lot. Dresden controlled the boards 21-16.
In the third quarter it looked like the Dresden Titans would shut the door tight on the Fraport Skyliners as they extended their lead to as much as 17 points, but a late Frankfurt run which was helped by Maxi Begue´s aggressive defense helped Frankfurt get back into the game. Dresden got some early buckets from Laryaz and Stahl to give Dresden the 45-33 advantage. Frankfurt had some defensive break downs as there was little communication and the switching wasn´t working which led to easy Dresden scores. Begue then made a huge play on defense making a steal under the Dresden basket and making a lay in. This didn´t infect the Frankfurt team defense yet as Dresden was able to execute on offense well going on a 10-4 run to extend their lead to 54-37. Dresden was having no luck with their outside shooting so they always continued to rely on their guard quickness as Bryan Niessen who has been with Dresden since 2013 scored as did Laryaz and Wendler. Frankfurt couldn´t contain the Dresden transition and on offense couldn´t execute. Begue then made a monster block denying a Dresden player on transition. “Making a block like that has to do with your attitude. I had lost the ball so I came back and just tried to reach him. I was happy that I did and was rewarded with a block”, stressed Maxi Begue. This block was the start of a 12-2 quarter ending run by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to trail only 56-49 after three quarters. In the run, Frankfurt was aided by the heightened Frankfurt defense which led to Dresden turnovers. On offense Frankfurt received massive support from Jordan Samare who was a beast on the offensive glass and scored 9 points in the run. He also nailed a quarter ending buzzer beater and Kamden helped in the run with a left handed hook shot. “Anybody that knows me knows that defense is my strength. I knew coming in that I would be covering Laryaz one of their best players. I upped my pressure in the third quarter, but it wasn´t just me but was a team effort”, stressed Maxi Begue. “Begue is a very interesting player. If he wants to make the next step he will have to do more on offense. But he is without a doubt one of the best defenders in the league”, added Dresden Titans head coach Fabian Strauss. Dresden continued to shoot at a high rate from the field at 53%, but only shot 10% from outside while Frankfurt was at 37% from the field and 14% from outside. Dresden still had rebound edge at 30-26, but had 17 turnovers while Frankfurt coughed up the ball 15 times.
The fourth quarter was a real dog fight as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to cut the Dresden lead down to 4, but were never to get over the hump despite having their chances. Frankfurt made some big defensive stops, but just couldn´t execute on offense. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors began the fourth quarter with vengeance stopping Dresden´s first 5 possessions, but couldn´t get more than 3 points with a Samare lay in and Schoormann free throw. German Daniel Kirchner then dampened the great Frankfurt defensive beginning with a real deep trey giving Dresden the 59-52 lead. Kirchner was one of many great Dresden role players who ended the night with 12 points, 6 rebounds and 6 dimes. “On the stat sheet he was everywhere, but I still saw mistakes. He was a bit impatient passing the ball and that is a reason why he isn´t at a higher level. But he did make a lot of huge plays and hit that big three. He has a lot of potential”, stressed Fabian Strauss. Schoormann then responded with a lay in coast to coast to cut Dresden´s lead down to 59-54. Kirchner then made free throws which was followed by another Schoormann lay in to cut Dresden´s lead to 61-56. Frankfurt then made huge stops, but couldn´t capitalize on offense. Kamden and Schoormann missed two tough lay ins. With time running down, Dresden was able to keep a comfortable 5-6 point lead getting free throws from Voigtmann and Kirchner. Kamden and Schoormann would score garbage points, but it all wasn´t enough. “At the end, we just had more experience, that was it”, added Fabian Strauss. “We just weren´t consequent enough to finish off the plays. If you give 99% then that 1% will be the ball rolling off the rim. In some situations we just lacked the needed communication and execution”, stated Maxi Begue. The Dresden Titans were led by Georg Voigtmann with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Daniel Kirchner added 12 points and Lennard Laryaz had 10 points while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Jordan Samare with 19 points while Len Schoormann produced 13 points. The Dresden Titans shot 42% form the field and 9% from outside and had 45 rebounds and 24 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 35% from the field and 11% from outside and had 40 rebounds and 18 turnovers.