After being off more than a month Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were back ready to start off 2022 with a bang trying to erase their two game losing streak against Bamberg and Ludwigsburg. They met their neighbors Sudhessen who entered the game with a weak 1-8 record and were featuring a 6 game losing streak. Sudhessen’s last win was almost three months ago against Giessen. Frankfurt entered the game with a 3-5 record and fans saw a hard fought close game through two quarters, but in the third quarter Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners sped away from Sudhessen with a brutal 25-5 quarter helping them to a solid 70-58 win. After the win a content Bennet Schubert (187-SG-03) explained what was key for getting the win. ‘We didn’t move ball well in the first half. Key was our full court press that gave them problems the whole game. That allowed us to get on transition. Our goal was it not to allow easy baskets and instead let them shoot three pointers’, stressed Bennet Schubert. After losing by 30 points last weekend to top team Ludwigsburg, Sudhessen gave a spirited effort, but couldn’t be consistent for 40 minutes. ‘This was a copy of the first game against Frankfurt. We kept it close in the first half. We let up in the third quarter and then fought back. I feel that if we could have kept the game more close, we could have had a better chance. All fought hard and did their best job, but it just wasn’t enough’, stated Sudhessen head coach Mattias Doenges.
With easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners plagued since weeks with COVID cases and no games, it was a golden opportunity for 18 year old German talent Alexander Richardson to play a rare NBBL game. Frankfurt got off to a hot start leading 8-2 as their offensive execution was harmonizing and their press defense really irritated Sud Hessen’s offense. Frankfurt got keen early support Dusan Nikolic who used his aggressiveness to score twice and German Bennet Schubert dropped a trey. Frankfurt kept up the pressure leading 12-4 getting another basket from Schubert and Alexander Richardson used his giant man body getting an offensive rebound and put back against the boy’s competition of Sud Hessen who had no cure putting 2-3 guys up against the raw German. But Sud Hessen never let down attacking Frankfurt and having success when they broke the Frankfurt press. They rushed out on a 11-3 run to dead lock the game at 15-15. Sud Hessen played team basketball spreading the ball love around as top player Lucas Deetjen scored inside, talented 16 year old big man Tobias Hollback also scored inside as did American Kaleb McKenzie who made a tough off balance shot and Niklas Kitchen dropped a three pointer. Frankfurt wasn’t playing bad defense, but here and there lacked discipline in certain defensive assignments and it didn’t help their cause that Sud Hessen was hitting tough shots. Frankfurt recovered from this onslaught and closed out the first quarter with a 8-3 run to lead 23-18. Frankfurt got big baskets from the Zentgraf brothers Joscha and Leif and Richardson and Nikolic also scored.
The second quarter was very close as Sudhessen gained the lead once and Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners never led by more than 4 points. Both teams heightened up their defense not allowing too easy shots. Sudhessen at times did a pretty good job keeping Alexander Richardson away from the paint as he was only 1/5 from outside, but when he did get the ball in the paint, he usually executed even showing his hook shot. He finished with a monster 19/17 game and 13 offensive rebounds, 1 steal and 2 blocks. With no games and no real team practices, BBL coach Diego Ocampo spent some time observing Richardson. ‘It is important that he becomes a complete player. The pick and pop is ok for him, but not always the best decision. For his game it is important to score inside, play transition and get rebounds. These games are very important for him. Here he can work on looking for solutions. This is the best way for him to learn’, stressed Diego Ocampo. Leif Zentgraf contributed with a trey giving Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners the 27-24 advantage. Sudhessen had their moments and were able to execute in spurts as Mckenezie sparkled with his defensive playing making a steal and transition basket while Holbach followed with a hook shot for the 28-27 Sudhessen advantage. The game was more sloppy in the second quarter, but that can always be expected at the NBBL level. Frankfurt took advantage of some Sudhessen mistakes which led to some easy baskets as flashy Barnabas Bode scored as did Bennet Schubert making a steal and lay in for the 32-28 Frankfurt lead. Kitchen and Schubert then added free throws as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 34-30 at half-time. Both teams shot under 50%, but Frankfurt had the commanding 26-17 rebound edge and 14 turnovers while Sudhessen did a better job taking care of the ball with only 9 coughed up balls. ‘Both teams competed well. Important at this level is how well you combine intensity and decision making. The key to winning the game was controlling the rebounds’, stated Diego Ocampo.
The turning point of the game occurred in the third quarter as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners won the quarter 25-5 and led 59-35 after 30 minutes. Kitchen actually got Sudhessen on the board first with a lay in to cut Frankfurt’s lead to 34-32. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners then stormed out on a crazy 25-3 run. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were more clam on offense and executed better while their defensive press was working on all cylinders again wrecking havoc against Sudhessen. The Zentgraf brothers were instrumental in the quarter combining for 11 points as they gave massive energy. Bennet Schubert continued to supply valuable leadership and also got his passing game involved and continued to be a key rebound force behind Richardson. Alexander Richardson also continued to dominate scoring 10 points including a three pointer while cleaning up on the boards at both ends of the court. ‘We only had the 4 point lead. We wanted to attack right away when we stepped on the court. We played together and gave 100%. Our transition game was also a big help’, said Bennet Schubert.
In the fourth quarter Sudhessen came out and gave it all they had wining the quarter23-11, but most of the damage had been done by Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners in the third quarter. Sudhessen began with a lethal 8-0 run to cut the Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners lead down to only 59-44. Key in the run was Sudhessen’s sharing the ball again, but Niklas Kitchen gave extreme energy which he would do until the buzzer sounded adding 5 points in the run, Holbach made a lay in and Leander Muller free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners came out flat and lost their great intensity of the third quarter and made worse decisions on offense. Alessio Santagati who had a game to forget scored his only 2 points of the contest on a beautiful off balance shot in the paint to stop the run 61-44. After Richardson picked up another offensive rebound and made a put back for a mini 4-0 Frankfurt run, it was Sudhessen that continued to chip away going on their next run of 13-1 as Frankfurt suddenly was staring at only a 64-57 lead. Mueller who had been quiet most of the game dropped two huge three pointers, while the duo of Mckenzie and Kitchen still had big energy as if the game had just started combining for 5 points. They played with real heart trying to get over the hump with Sudhessen. But then came the big moment of team leader Bennet Schubert. He slammed the door shut on Sudhessen leading by Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners on a 6-1 run to end the game. He began with a lay up, made big rebounds and a steal. ‘Playing the trap really helps my game. I read the game well and can anticipate well. I just did my job and hustled getting rebounds’, added Bennet Schubert. Richardson added a pretty dunk and Julian Haskins ended the game with free throws. ‘We gave up a bit in the fourth quarter. We thought the game was over. I tried to hold the team together’, expressed Bennet Schubert. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were led by Bennet Schubert with 20 points and 11 rebounds and Alexander Richardson with 19 points and 17 rebounds while Sudhessen were led by Niklas Kitchen with 18 points. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 42% from the field and 21% from outside and had 53 rebounds and 27 turnovers while Sudhessen shot 30% from the field and 17% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 17 turnovers.