Not too long ago, the future and season of the Fraport Skyliners seemed like a nasty Hawaii summer washout, but sometimes all it takes is one player and a win to turn the whole tide around. After starting 0-5 and having Ulm and Bamberg next on the menu, the season of the Fraport Skyliners seemed like a bust, but then came in Will Cherry und conquered in Ulm leading the team to an amazing win. The only thing missing was a cape on his back. Even if he had had some question marks concerning his health, he seemed quite healthy and played the way a real point guard should doing the playmaking and scoring all in one. But the question was could the ex NBA player and Lebron James teammate perform the next incredible task against the potent 4-2 Brose Bamberg club? Bamberg was coming off a brutal 101-89 shoot out loss against Alba Berlin, but against Frankfurt found back to their steady defensive ways and were able to play good ball for about 32 minutes giving up a few Frankfurt runs. In crunch-time, they lost a little focus allowing the Fraport Skyliners to stage a furious late come back, but the guests were able to buckle down and escape with a narrow 77-72 victory. ‘Defense was the key to the win. Our communication was very good. We knew that Frankfurt would make their runs today. We were able to slow them down when we had to. It was a complete team effort’, stated ex Monmouth (NCAA) guard Justin Robinson. For the Fraport Skyliners, it was another typical game where they had good spurts on offense, but it was unnecessary turnovers and not getting to the free throw line that was a big thorn in their side. ‘Whenever we come back, it is always turnovers that hurt us. Everything is mental and knowledge is key. There wasn’t any communication from the players, but were working on it. We need this too happen as soon as possible. We have to be patient, but I feel like were improving. I can’t understand the big difference in fouls called. You don’t see a difference like this often’, stressed Frankfurt head coach Diego O’Campo. ‘They made it really tough on us on defense. Their wall up’s were tough, but I thought that we moved the ball well. Our bone head plays and easy misses allowed them to always get the lead again’, stressed ex NBA player Will Cherry.
In the first quarter Brose Bamberg quickly found their offensive rhythm and did a good job controlling the game and getting a lot of easy baskets and just wining the 1-1 battles easily. Ex Boston College and William & Mary players Patrick Heckman and Omar Pruitt scored identical baskets using the glass to give Bamberg the quick4-0 lead. From that point Frankfurt had to play pick up the whole game. Frankfurt got some early baskets from Len Schoormann, rookie Matt Haarms and ex WIHA Panther Rasheed Moore, but were still trailing. German Christian Sengfelder and Kenneth Ogbe did the total damage taking responsibility and hitting three’s at ease and scoring in the paint as well. Frankfurt was unable to come to terms with the Bamberg athleticism inside and Bamberg defended very well 1-1 forcing Frankfurt to tough shots. With Bamberg leading 19-12, New Skyliner Donovan Donaldson may have scored his finest basket in a Skyliner jersey as he was aggressive and finished with total authority. Ogbe who played at UTAH Valley closed out the first quarter with an offensive rebound and put back for the early 23-14 advantage, ‘We had a bad start and they made us pay. Our turnovers hurt us!, stated Will Cherry.
In the second quarter Brose Bamberg achieved their second biggest lead of the game with 14 points, but the Fraport Skyliners staged a big run only to be slapped right back with a run and trail 43-32 at half-time. The Fraport Skyliners actually began the second quarter positive surprising Bamberg with a rapid 5-0 run to cut the guests lead to 23-19. In the run, ex Purdue (NCAA) center Matt Haarms used his 221cm length to snag an offensive rebound and make the put back and ex Barcelona guard Brancou Badio nailed a three pointer. Brose Bamberg didn’t let the little burst of fire irritate them as they struck back with a explosive 10-0 to extend their lead to 33-19. In the run, it Was Kenneth Ogbe who continued to display his fine inside out game with a three pointer and lay in while diminutive guard Justin Robinson contributed 5 points with free throws and a trey. Bamberg’s self confidence rose with every new bucket while on defense their pick and role was working well, while Frankfurt had nobody that sought to take responsibility. But when the going gets tough for Frankfurt, there is one player that has proved time in and time out that he can lead a team back it’s Rasheed Moore. Moore took charge again leading Frankfurt on a swift 10-0 run and scored the first 6 points. He scored twice inside and on his second basket fell to the floor and let out a loud cry just like a satisfied lion does after feeding time. Badio also scored as did 18 year old German Alexander Richardson who finished with a hard two handed dunk as Frankfurt trailed only 35-30. But as is so often the case, Frankfurt couldn’t keep the momentum and had a quick defensive lapse allowing a trey to Justin Robinson and three free throws and suddenly the lead was double digits again 41-30. Both teams traded buckets at the end as Bamberg got production from Sengfelder and Ogbe and Frankfurt from Richardson and German national player Lukas Wank. ‘Rasheed played a hell of the game. He spearheaded the come back and gave energy. He hit big shots and helped cut into the lead. I hope that he can ride that and continue you it the rest of the season’, added Will Cherry. Frankfurt did a better job rebounding taking the lead in that department, but had 10 turnovers.
In the third quarter Brose Bamberg continued to control the game as the Fraport Skyliners just couldn’t get over the hump. Both teams found their offensive rhythm as both teams connected from down town. Bamberg got three’s from Heckmann, Dominik Lockhart and Pruitt while Frankfurt got three’s from Lukas Wank who connected twice in a row, but the guests still led 58-43. But basketball is a game of runs and when Frankfurt wants to, they can give opponents problems with their defense and did. The Bamberg offense was just very well oiled and one where Frankfurt had severe problems trying to slow down as they were always late on the made three’s. The Fraport Skyliners showed again that they are able to string together longer stretches of good basketball as they closed out the third quarter with a 13-4 run to trail Bamberg only 62-56 after 30 minutes. In the run, Frankfurt got consistent play from Rasheed Moore once again as he scored on transition and nailed a three which was still a work in progress three years ago in the Pro B, but now is a very reliable outside shooter. Badio also made a catch and pop jumper and Will Cherry made a nice ending to the quarter with a floater at the buzzer. ‘We kept our composure when they made the run we just stuck together on defense’, said Justin Robinson. ‘We were trading baskets. You can do that when your leading, but when your behind like we were, it wasn’t good’, stressed Will Cherry. Frankfurt continued to rebound the ball very well leading 28-20, but just coughed up the ball too much having 15-7 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter Brose Bamberg kept up their old ways always being able to respond well to Frankfurt runs extending their lead to 13 points. But the Frankfurt staged one last comeback coming close, but it just wasn’t enough. The Fraport Skyliners began well getting a basket from Lukas Wank to cut Bamberg’s lead to 62-58, but Bamberg then hit Frankfurt in the mouth with a brutal 11-2 run to lead 73-60. In the run, Bamberg got key three’s from Sengfelder and Heckmann. The Fraport Skyliners made one last attempt of some how turning the game around striking with a 9-2 run to cut Bamberg’s lead down to 75-72 with 7,8 seconds to play. Instrumental in the run was young German Len Schoormann who scored 8 points under the watchful eyes of German national team coach Gordon Herbert. He had had misfortune earlier with three point shooting, but in the run connected once and also added a reverse lay up and runner. Badio also added a runner, but it was all too late. Patrick Heckman added icing on the cake with free throws to seal the victory. ‘They made a good comeback. What was missing in the third quarter, they made in the fourth. They are a good team’, stressed Justin Robinson. ‘We played with good defensive intensity in the second half. We need to start with that and have it for 40 minutes. We are fighting. Our energy is never down. We want to get better and know we have the talent to’, added Rasheed Moore. Brose Bamberg were led by Omar Prewitt (201-SF-94, college: William & Mary) with 17 points. Christian Sengfelder added 14 points while Patrik Heckman scored 13 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Rasheed Moore with 21 points. Brancou Badio added 12 points and Len Schoorman and Lukas wank added 11 points a piece. Brose Bamberg shot 45% from the field and 38% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 44% from the field and 38% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 19 turnovers.