It´s always a delight when the ambitious German youth programs waltz into Basketball City Mainhatten and in the last week, there had been no lack of it. Last weekend the mighty FC Bayern Munich 2 displayed their talented young players winning a tough and tight 78-73 nail bitter and this week it was Orange Academy that came to do battle with the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. Orange Academy have been developing young talents for years that have continued to move on and play for their easyCredit BBL team ratiopharm Ulm. This season they have been a delight to observe in the Pro B as they are in first place in the Pro B south. With young prospects like Polish guard Igor Milicic, athletic forward Nat Diallo and 16 year old Jacob Ensminger who´s brother Zach has made a steady transition to the Pro A and their father Chris is a BBL legend, the team always have interesting up and coming players to watch. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had their hands full coming into the game in tenth place and sporting only a 2-10 record, but their spirited and more improved game of the last few weeks carried over into the match against Orange Academy as they survived a real nail bitter winning 85-82. After two poor performances where easyCredit BBL license player Len Schoormann scored only two points in the last two games, the 18 year old German guard found his love to the ball again and stroked home 29 points in helping Frankfurt win only their third game of the season. After the 40 minute battle, Fraport Skyliners Juniors head coach Miran Cumurija was delighted about how his boys played. “We really heightened our game in the last week. There was a big change noticeable in how the team played against Munich. We really needed to win a close game. Everybody played well tonight and the team made a huge step. Everybody supported each other and the team executed the game plan”, stressed Miran Cumurija. Orange Academy gave it a massive fight for 40 minutes and last second come back and could have brought the game to overtime on the last shot, but the basketball God was on the side of the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. “I thought that we played solid offense in this game, but what hurt us the most in this game was that we didn´t play transition defense”, stressed Orange Academy guard Igor Milicic.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had a great start in the first quarter, but how it often it is in basketball games, Orange Academy was able to match Frankfurt´s run and storm back into the game and make it interesting. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors offense started to click rapidly as they broke out to a 11-4 lead. Orange Academy actually got on the board first as 212cm big man Nicholas Bretzel scored inside quickly after only 12 seconds as he showed what kind of an evening the Frankfurt defense would have as he would play havoc in the Frankfurt paint all night long. But Frankfurt then went on a 11-2 run spreading the offense nicely. They tried to get undersized German big man Noah Kamdem into a rhythm quickly and did as he scored twice while athletic German guard Maxi Begue who has heightened his offense in the last weeks also got going as he made two lay in´s including one on transition. Schoormann also contributed to the early onslaught with a transition lay in. Orange Academy was lazy on transition defense and Begue´s early aggressiveness helped spark the Frankfurt offense. Frankfurt continued to keep the offensive pressure on extending their lead to 18-8 as they practiced nice inside out basketball getting a lay in from Schoormann and one from German Jordan Samare while ex Wurzburg guard Philipp Hadenfeldt who has 5 BBL games on his resume drained a trey. But Orange Academy didn´t let up, but closed out the first quarter on a 8-4 run. German forward Nat Diallo who won the Albert Schweitzer tournament came off the bench getting a bucket and lay and then followed that with two more free throws. 17 year old German Jakob Hanzalek also added a basket while Frankfurt got added production from Schoormann who displayed his crazy athleticism with a massive two handed stuff from the baseline. “After a good start, we let up a bit on defense. Our help side wasn´t good and we didn´t communicate well”, said Len Schoormann. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 71% from the field and 50% from outside and had 9 rebounds and 5 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 33% from the field and 0% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 3 turnovers.
The second quarter witnessed two runs by the two clubs as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had another superb start and led by as much as 10 points only to see it subside as Orange Academy sped back to trail only by one point at the break. Like in the first quarter, Orange Academy got on the board first as 17 year old 206cm Montenegran Andrija Grbovic nailed a trey to cut the Frankfurt advantage to 22-20. Frankfurt then rushed out on a 8-2 run to extend their lead to 30-22. In the run they allowed it to rain three´s as ex TV Langen forward Leon Pullen and Len Schoormann connected and Noah Kamdem scored a left handed hook shot over Bretzel. Kamdem did a super job all night long on offense not getting taken advantage of Bretzel´s length, but doing a great job scoring. German Marius Stoll made a perfect alley-oop pass to Bretzel who slammed the ball home. Frankfurt kept the lead as they continued to feed Kamdem the ball inside and he executed at a high rate scoring twice. Two time ANGT player Alvin Onyia scored on transition and Schoormann finally found his three point shot again scoring twice. Orange Academy got a three pointer from versatile Nicholas Bretzel and also got 5 points from Igor Milicic who drilled home a trey and scored on a back door cut, but Frankfurt still led 42-32. “Being able to hit a consistent three is all mental. I made a few lay up´s and then I started to hit three´s. I wasn´t thinking about my shot. When I start to think too much is when I start to struggle”, stressed Len Schoormann. It seemed like the Fraport Skyliners Juniors would cruise into half-time with a very comfortable lead, but instead allowed Orange Academy to stage a comeback going on a 11-2 run to trail only 44-43 after 20 minutes. In the Orange Academy run, they were led by German forward Moritz Krimmer who has 8 BBL games on his resume. The German who was a pest the whole night always being in attack mode hit a three pointer and left handed hook shot while 17 year old Polish national player Jeremy Sochan hit a trey, lay in and free throw. “We had problems with 1-1 defense in this quarter. We didn´t help and rotate well. We gave them too many easy baskets”, stated Len Schoormann. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 69% from the field and 63% from the three point line and had 17 rebounds and 10 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 47% from the field and 38% from the three point line and had 11 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
The third quarter was a real dog fight as there were six lead changes and no club led by more than five points, but after 30 minutes the guests led by one point. Orange Academy had the better start in the second half going on a 10-3 run to take the52-47 advantage. In the run Orange Academy got more active in the paint and executed the pick and roll over and over as Bretzel scored three times as Frankfurt had absolutely no cure for stopping it. Energy bunny Marius Stoll did a great job always finding him in the right spot. Krimmer and 19 year old German guard Julius Ferber also scored in the paint. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t let the paint domination of Orange Academy hinder their focus and motivation as they rallied back going on a slick 8-2 run to recapture the lead 55-54. In the run, Frankfurt was carried again by Len Schoormann who hit four free throws and also made a bullet pass assist to ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith while Hadenfeldt also connected on a jumper. In the run, Frankfurt was carried by Schoormann´s aggressiveness which allowed their self-confidence to rise and they also played better pick and roll defense. Frankfurt held the lead momentarily as ex Hanau forward Calvin Schaum dropped a trey and free throws, but Orange Academy fought back getting the lead back 60-59 with a Latrell Grosskopf lay in as he waltzed to the rim as if he was on a Sunday afternoon stroll through the park. Orange Academy kept the lead 63-62 after three quarters as Grbovic hit another three pointer. “Bretzel really hurt us on the pick and roll. I feel like Noah Kamdem still did a good job on him. It wasn´t easy defending him with his length”, said Len Schoormann. “We came out with more energy. Nicholas Bretzel was key in us staying in the game with his pick and roll game”, added Igor Milicic. Orange Academy shot 47% from the field and 32% from the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 58% form the field and 46% from the parking lot and had 26 rebounds and 15 turnovers.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors did a good job staying aggressive on offense and building a nine point advantage, but Orange Academy didn´t sink their heads in the sand and staged two come backs and could have brought the game to overtime on the last shot. Once again Orange Academy got on the board first with a Nat Diallo lay in for the 65-62 lead, but Frankfurt was in run mode again scoring nine unanswered points to retake the lead at 71-65. In the run, they spread out their offense again getting two three´s from Schoormann which resulted in a 4 point play and Hadenfeldt while Samare scored in the paint. Schoormann entered the contest shooting 14% from outside and needed some kind of a boost again with his trey. He shot 4/5 from the parking lot and was all smiles after his 29 point game. “I watched a lot of video this week. I wasn´t playing good defense. I saw with the video that I wasn´t doing enough off the ball. I had to be more in love with the ball. I talked more and got more balls which resulted in my shots to fall”, stated Len Schoormann.. Frankfurt also had another good phase on defense stopping Orange Academy´s pick and roll monster Nicholas Bretzel. One couldn´t totally shut down Bretzel as he continued to attack the rim scoring with a lay in and free throw cutting Frankfurt´s lead to 71-68. Frankfurt then found some new offensive daylight going on a 6-0 run to extend their lead to 77-68. In the run, Begue hit another trey and Schoormann made a lay in and free throw. ““Len had a small low in the last games. He had to be more active with the ball. His three finally fell again and I hope it is here to stay”, warned Frankfurt head coach Miran Cumurija. It seemed like Frankfurt was going to pull away again, but basketball proved again that it will always be a game of runs as Orange Academy struck back with a 6-0 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 77-74. In the guests run, it was the seemingly one man wrecking crew of Nicholas Bretzel who made an offensive rebound and put back and then sunk another trey. However Frankfurt didn´t lay down, but continued to execute on offense getting a clutch Hadenfeldt three and Kamdem lay in for the 83-77 advantage with one minute to go. Orange Academy did make it exciting one last time getting a vital trey from Grbovic again and a Sochan lay in to cut the Frankfurt lead to 83-82. Hadenfeldt then contributed two free throws to ice the win at 85-82. “The first eight minutes were strong for us. We were able to kick out the ball more which allowed us to make the three´s”, added Len Schoormann. “Schoormann made tough shots. We didn´t think he was capable of that. That changed the game for them”, said Igor Milicic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Len Schoormann with 29 points. Noah Kamdem added 14 points while Philipp Hadenfeldt had 10 points while Orange Academy was led by Nicholas Bretzel with 23 points while Jeremy Sochan and Igor Milicic chipped in with 10 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 56% from the field and 48% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 20 turnovers while Orange Academy shot 44% from the field and 33% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 11 turnovers.