In the last 10 days the Fraport Skyliners Juniors have had an abundance of meeting Bavarian clubs. Last week the Frankfurt club had to battle the TSV Oberaching Tropics twice within 72 hours. They displayed their best performance of the season winning 99-76 where they had five guys score in double figures and they cleaned up on the boards easily and coughed up the ball only 10 times. However in the return showdown in Bavaria, the TSV Oberaching Tropics were able to get revenge winning 84-68 as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were unable to take advantage of the 21 Oberaching turnovers. A new Bavarian team came to Frankfurt with FC Bayern Munich 2 who had a slow start this season, but have been playing inspired basketball in the last weeks having won four of their last six games. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors sought revenge after losing the first contest in Munich 87-51 where the Bavarian club shot very well from the parking lot and forced Frankfurt to 25 turnovers, but this time the contest wasn´t so one sided as Frankfurt was in the game from start to end, but made some little mistakes at the end and had to suffer four free throws from Jason George who iced the 78-73 victory for FC Bayern Munich 2. After the win FC Bayern Munich 2 head coach Andreas Wagner had that relieved look on his face as his team had finally won a crunch time game after losing a few too many this season. “We were streaky in the first half and didn´t play transition defense. In the second half we played better transition defense and took away their easy baskets. Key at the end was our defensive intensity and better ball movement that helped us secure the win”, stressed FC Bayern Munich 2 head coach Andreas Wagner. Frankfurt played a well rounded and spirited game, but just couldn´t make the right plays at the end.” I felt that we played a good first half. We started well and had good energy. I also felt that we had a good start to the second half, but we then lost our flow in the last five minutes. At the end we made easy mistakes that cost us the win”, stated Fraport Skyliners Juniors guard Mathew Meredith.
Both teams had their offenses rolling right out of the gate as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors got two baskets from undersized but powerful Noah Kamdem who scored twice while FC Bayern Munich 2 was carried by 17 year old German 199cm forward Michael Rataj who was active in the paint scoring twice tying the game at 4-4. Frankfurt would keep the slight 7-6 lead as German Maxi Begue who has played 4 BBL games and Jason George who has 3 played 3 BBL games traded baskets. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then cranked out a 9-2 run to get the overwhelming 16-8 advantage. In the run Frankfurt got vital baskets from Begue, German Jordan Samare who has played one BBL game and a trey from ex Wurzburg guard Philipp Hadenfeldt. Frankfurt did a good job getting transition baskets and on defense contained Munich top scorer Jason George. However not only Frankfurt had run on their mind as FC Bayern Munich 2 escaped out of their funk reeling in a 8-0 run to deadlock the game at 16-16. In the run the Bavarian team did a good job being aggressive and scoring in the paint getting baskets from 18 year old 204cm center Mohamed Sillah from Sierra Leone, 16 year old German Christian Skladanowski and Rataj. Frankfurt did keep the lead in the last minute getting baskets from Meredith and 2017 JBBL finalist Calvin Schaum. Jason George hit a buzzer beater ending the first quarter, but FC Bayern Munich trailed Frankfurt 21-18. “I thought that we defended well and did a good job on Jason George. We let up a bit at the end allowing them to come back”, stressed Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 25% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 5 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 39% from the field and 0% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors picked up their offense in the second quarter and led by as much as 11 points, but let up a bit at the end and led only 40-35 at half-time. Joshua Bonga who turned 16 four days ago got Frankfurt on the board first sneaking inside and fishing an offensive rebound and making the put back for the 23-18 Frankfurt advantage. Frankfurt kept the lead getting a big basket from 17 year German center Alexander Richardson and a tap in From Meredith who had gotten the offensive rebound for the 28-22 Frankfurt lead. But FC Bayern Munich 2 stayed in the game by Austrian guard Erol Ersek who always had an answer making a jumper and trey to shave the Frankfurt lead down to 28-25. Ersek finished the game with 24 points and carried the guests all night long. “I have known him for years. He is a good shooter and hits big shots. He has made good steps with FC Bayern Munich, but it is hard to establish one´s self on a team like that”, stressed Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then went on a huge 12-4 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 40-29. In the run it was Meredith who had the hot hand contributing 7 points. Defensive specialist Maxi Begue who has had some offensive off nights this season was spot on hitting a trey testing his 23% three point percentage and also displayed his crazy athleticism making a beautiful acrobatic lay in. FC Bayern Munich 2 had defensive lapses and continued to have difficulty getting back on transition defense while on offense bad shot selection cursed their offensive production. But Frankfurt lost some intensity in the last minutes and couldn´t keep the big lead letting up a costly 6-0 run. In the run, Munich began with a three pointer form Jason George which was strengthened by solid ball movement and Skladanowski scored inside getting the perfect back door pass from 2019 NBBL champion Luis Wolf. “Munich is a good team and fought back well. I was in the flow and sometimes everything goes in”, said Matthew Meredith. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 42% from the field and 30% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 9 turnovers while FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 41% from the field and 28% from the three point line and had 18 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors once again were able to lead by as much as 10 points quickly, but once again allowed FC Bayern Munich 2 to sneak back into the game and get the lead 59-58 after 30 minutes. Frankfurt began well stopping the Bavarian team on their first three possessions and forced two turnovers while on offense were rewarded by a transition basket by Jordan Samare and a trey from Calvin Schaum. But Frankfurt experienced another down phase not being able to mange their lead, but instead relinquished a brutal 12-0 run to FC Bayern Munich giving the guests the 47-45 lead. In the run FC Bayern Munich got big baskets from Jason George, 20 year old German Lukas Zerner, five points from Michael Rataj and another clutch trey from Erol Ersek. The guests heightened their aggressiveness on defense as Frankfurt totally lost their rhythm on offense. FC Bayern Munich shared the ball better and improved their shot selection. Frankfurt recovered from the big Munich run and got some added vital baskets from Noah Kamdem and Maxi Begue who made a thunderous dunk after being helped by the ref´s back as the loose ball bounced to him having a break away to the hoop with no Munich defenders in sight giving Frankfurt the 53-47 advantage. FC Bayern Munich fought back getting baskets from Ersek and Rataj to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 53-51. Both teams would trade baskets in the last minutes as Frankfurt was aided by a Hadenfeldt trey and Kamdem lay in while the guests got three´s from their top two players George and Ersek. Ersek then made a lay in at the buzzer for the Munich lead. “It was a back and forth game. Nobody could get away from the other. I felt that we felt good defense, but they hit tough shots. We took good shots”, said Matthew Meredith. FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 51% from the field and 43% from the parking lot and had 22 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 13 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a dog fight where FC Bayern Munich had the better nerves and in the crucial crunch-time got to the free throw line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn´t execute on the offensive end. Frankfurt got on the board first as ex TV Langen forward Leon Pullen made a terrific pass out of the double team finding Hadenfeldt for the easy bucket and 60-59 lead. As usual the dangerous and always aggressive Erol Ersek sunk another three pointer, but Kamdem struck back using his physicality inside and dead locking the contest at 62-62. Munich would take the lead three times in a row only for Frankfurt to tie the game each time. Mohamed Sillah had been contained well in the first half as he only made one basket, but in this phase he was the focus of the Munich offense scoring four consecutive baskets. He scored each time inside as Noah Kamdem wasn´t able to contain him. On Sillah´s fourth basket, FC Bayern Munich led 70-66 and they would never look back. “We did a good job on him in the first half, but we just couldn´t stop him in the second half”, stated Matthew Meredith. Begue continued to have the hot hand drilling home a three pointer to cut Munich´s lead to 70-69, but as usual it was Ersek again who once again came up with a massive three pointer for the 72-69 lead. 16 year German Sebastian Hartman who made his Pro B debut made a huge basket for the 74-69 lead. Frankfurt then got a stop and got four free throws from Hadenfeldt to cut Munich´s lead to 74-73 with 53 seconds to play. But Frankfurt was unable to get the lead back as Jason George sealed the win with four free throws while Alvin Oniya made a turnover. “We were a bit more clever at the end. I also have to give a huge compliment on our young players today with Rataj, Skladanowski and Hartmann who helped us very much”, stated Andreas Wagner. “Turnovers cost us at the end and we didn´t play as a team. We also didn´t play our plays to the end playing pick and roll and seeing what will happen”, stated Matthew Meredith. FC Bayern Munich were led by Erol Ersek with 24 points. Jason George added 21 points while Michael Rataj added 11 points and Mohamed Sillah had 10 points and 7 rebounds while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Maxi Begue with 17 points. Matthew Meredith and Philipp Hadenfeldt added 12 points a piece. FC Bayern Munich 2 shot 48% from the field and 39% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 47% from the field and 30% from outside and had 30 rebounds and 20 turnovers.