COVID-19 has been a massive problem in the German basketball world as it has sent clubs into quarantine, cancelled teams season abruptly after they were trying to make a run in the playoffs and in general just made the season and unpredictable and not enjoyable time. It wasn´t any different for the Fraport Skyliners who had began a new winning streak in early April after a convincing win against playoff team Hakro Merlins only to see some players test positive soon after which led to a two week quarantine. Lucky for the Fraport Skyliners that they had secured themselves a spot out of the danger places at the end. The two week break didn´t help their fitness or game as they came back to play and were rusty suffering a five game losing streak where they were playing with four farm team players plus their top scorer Matt Mobley was also out. The club finally exited their losing streak and woes and struck s.Oliver Wurzburg hard on the road whipping them badly 95-66 48 hours ago as they got super performances from Skyliner lifer Quantez Robertson and ex wiha Panther forward Rasheed Moore who combined for 45 points. The 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner wanted to end the season on a positive note as they welcomed playoff team Hamburg Towers for a last regular season game clash. Many may have thought that the Frankfurt crushing defeat over s.Oliver Wurzburg may have taken all of their energy, but they arrived back into their living room wanting to close out the season on a high note and did letting it rain three´s as they nailed 15 shots from the parking lot disposing of the Hamburg Towers 96-89 giving head coach Sebastian Gleim his last win as he will coach the Hakro Merlins next season. Even if Hamburg lost the last regular season game head coach Pedro Calles was rather calm as he knew that the club still had 11 days to get ready for their showdown with Alba Berlin in the playoffs. “Congrats to Frankfurt for the win. We didn´t do a good job on pick and roll defense letting them get the shots that they wanted. We also didn´t do a good job defending in the low post giving up too many points. We will recover in time for the playoffs”. After the win Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson reflected on the huge win. “We have played well the last two games and moved the ball well. Even if we were tired a lot, we always fought no matter what. The last seven games felt like the last seven days. I felt that we rebounded the ball well and even if not everything was going right for us in the first half, we stuck together and fought to the end”. The Hamburg Towers didn´t have it easy being without their two best players Maik Kalev- Kotsar and Kameron Taylor and the organization and overall play was missing a bit from their offense. “We didn´t have the necessary energy today. Frankfurt had a very good rhythm from the start. They played with a lot of self-confidence. We made a push near the end, but it just wasn´t enough”, stressed Hamburg Towers guard Bryce Taylor.
The Fraport Skyliners continued to have a walking wounded list as Matt Mobley and Konstantin Konga were out while Len Schoormann and Michael Kessens also were out because of COVID. Both teams didn’t have their normal starting lineups. Frankfurt got the early advantage with a bucket form ex Miami (NCAA) center Kamari Murphy, but Hamburg rapidly got the lead from ex Lacrosse player Patrick Spencer who was aggressive in the open floor and scored twice on transition giving the guests the 4-3 lead. The Fraport Skyliners then got the energy spark they needed from the bench as ex Davidison (NCAA) standout Jon Axel Gudmundsson scored five quick points for the 8-4 lead. You always have to guard him closely, because he will beat you on the drive and from outside as he demonstrated with a lay in and three pointer. His energy sparked his teammates as ex FC Bayern Munich guard Bruno Vrcic who came into the game shooting 31% from outside nailed two trey’s for the 16-7 lead. Hamburg couldn’t hit the side of a barn door as they were 0/6 and could only get baskets inside. Ex University of California – Davis (NCAA) guard TJ Shorts who may be only 175cm tall, but he can get to the hoop quicker than most in the easyCredit BBL scored two baskets and ex Richmond (NCAA) forward Terry Allen made a lay in on transition as Hamburg found a little fire at the end going on a 8-4 run to cut Frankfurt’s lead to 20-15 after 10 minutes. ‘Gudmundsson got us going making tough shots. He lit that fire that helped us get going’, said Quantez Robertson.
The Fraport Skyliners led by as much as 14 points in the second quarter, but allowed the Hamburg Towers on a run in the second half of the quarter allowing them to creep back into the game and trail only by seven points at the break. Both teams found their scoring touch early as Hamburg got key help from German 22 year old Osario Rich with a lay in on transition that Frankfurt didn´t combat well at all and got further baskets inside as their three´s didn´t fall from Allen and ex Coastal Carolina College (NCAA) forward Zac Cuthbertson. Frankfurt received a three pointer from ex wiha Panthers forward Rasheed Moore who was all alone in the corner and Murphy took advantage of a mismatch netting a hook shot as Frankfurt had the slim 25-21 lead. The Fraport Skyliners then took control of the game again cruising out on a 18-7 run to extend their lead to 43-28. In the run Frankfurt continued to get impressive support from Bruno Vrcic who contributed 8 points with a three and five free throws. Gudmundsson also remained very aggressive hitting a trey and a lay in. He never hesitates when he is outside. If he sees he has room, he fires away right away something the world has seen with ex Davidson(NCAA) legend Steph Curry for more than 10 years. Robertson also got a bucket making a great play on a Vrcic airball and reading exactly where it would land and making the easy basket. “I didn´t know that would be an airball when he released it. I just played the shot and was at the right place at the right time. After the play, I told him great pass”, smiled Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt was moving the ball well and not allowing Hamburg to get into their plays as they continued to be cold from outside. Ex Northwestern(NCAA) player Pat Spencer had made the team´s first three at the 5,55 mark. But basketball wouldn´t be basketball without it being a game of runs as the Hamburg Towers didn´t allow the game to slip away going into half-time with a 11-3 run to trail only 46-39. In the run, it was ex Fraport Skyliner center Johannes Richter who made his break through in 2015 in an international game against Danish team Baaken Bears scored six points inside giving Hamburg some more confidence and momentum going into the third quarter. “We weren´t aggressive in their run and didn´t execute. They put more defensive pressure on us and couldn´t get open shots”, stated Quantez Robertson.
Quantez Robertson from down town
Both clubs went on runs, but at the end of the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners still had a double digit lead. The Hamburg Towers took that momentum from their second quarter ending run and went on a commanding 12-6 run to cut Frankfurt´s advantage down to 54-51. In the run the Hamburg Towers were led by TJ Shorts who last season as a rookie played with BK Ventspils scored 8 points. Shorts game lives with the drive and mid range as he is shooting only 26% from outside as he excelled from those areas. “Shorts is really quick in the open court. He is quick on the pick and roll and can get to the rim well. His teammates fed off his energy”, added Quantez Robertson. Rich also scored as did ex Alba Berlin guard Bryce Taylor. Frankfurt had no remedy how to stop Shorts and got a bit sloppy on offense coughing up the ball and taking hurried shots. After a Frankfurt time out, the players came out inspired and shot back with a 12-2 run to extend their lead to 66-53. In the run Frankfurt connected very well from outside as Quantez Robertson hit back to back three´s. He has shot the ball really well in three of the last five games against Ludwigsburg, Bonn and Wurzburg and it wasn´t any different against Hamburg as he finished shooting 60% from the parking lot. Gudmundsson also continued his hot outside shooting with a trey and shot 57% from outside. Frankfurt closed out the third quarter strong getting five more points from Gudmundsson and a jumper from Rasheed Moore while Hamburg got consistent production from Terry Allen who had five points including a tip in dunk, but Frankfurt led 73-62 after three quarters. “We remained aggressive and attacked the rim well. We made the easy plays and hit three´s. Moore, Vrcic and Gudmundsson all hit big shots”, said Quantez Robertson. “Shorts is a guy that can create for himself and others. He is at his best when he can play his style”, stressed Bryce Taylor.
The Fraport Skyliners continued to have control of the game in the fourth quarter leading by as much as 15 points, but a late surge by the Hamburg Towers where they cut Frankfurt´s lead down to four points wasn´t enough as Frankfurt could close out the game with supreme shooting. Hamburg found some instant energy off the bat getting a Rich lay in and trey from Allen to cut Frankfurt´s advantage down to 73-67, but Frankfurt then erupted out on a 12-3 run to take the 85-70 lead as their hot shooting was too much for Hamburg. In the run they got clutch three´s from Vrcic and Moore and free throws from Robertson and Murphy. Hamburg also had extreme difficulty stopping the Frankfurt drive as their one on one defense was nonexistent. Hamburg wasn´t able to find an offensive rhythm as they had two turnovers during the run. The Hamburg made one late run going on a 14-3 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead down to 88-84. In the run, Hamburg did everything inside as it seemed like they were too shy or afraid to attempt any more three´s. Shorts and Rich scored on lay ins while Cuthbertson lifted Hamburg with 7 points including a three pointer. Young 20 year old German Justus Hollatz also made a massive two handed dunk with Quantez Robertson on his back door. “I saw a couple highlight videos of Hollatz. He is a young athletic player thar attacks the rim well. If he keeps it up, he will be going places”, warned Quantez Robertson. Frankfurt didn´t allow Hamburg to do anymore damage closing on the game strong with hot shooting getting three´s from Moore and Robertson and a jumper from Gudmundsson. “We weren´t comfortable with our lead. We stayed aggressive and made sure that we took open shots and didn´t overpass”, stressed Quantez Robertson. “Frankfurt is a solid defensive team and did a good job running guys off the three point line. We have to do a better job creating better shots for our shooters”, warned Bryce Taylor. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jon Axel Gudmundsson with 24 points. Rasheed Moore produced 19 points and Bruno Vrcic and Quantez Robertson added 18 points a piece while the Hamburg Towers were led by TJ Shorts and Tery Allen with 17 points a piece while Zac Cuthbertson had 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 52% from the field and 54% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Hamburg Towers shot 51% from the field and 26% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 6 turnovers