With the regular season of the Pro B slowly winding down, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors seem to be safe in the playoffs while Giessen are battling for that last spot with teams like Oberaching and Coburg. It is always an interesting derby when Frankfurt and Giessen meet especially in the easyCredit BBL, but also in the Pro B with their farm teams. One massive delight is to still be able to see ex German national player Johannes Lischka (203-PF-1987, agency: LUMANI 10.7) who continues to play the game he loves, and every game he plays, he plays as if it is his last one. His muscling in the zone and scoring around two and sometimes three guys is something that will be missed one day when he hangs it up. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors want to reach the post season with a bang as they last lost on the road to Orange Academy 90-85 while Giessen lost a shootout at home against Erfurt needed a victory badly and were rewarded with a well deserved 82-70 win in Frankfurt. It is no secret that the Giessen farm team is carried by their big three of Lischka, Scott and Uhleman who combine for 56 of the 83 team points they make per night this season and on this night did even more damage combining for 65 of the team 82 points. Especially in crunch time a brutal 13-0 run where Lischka, Scott and Uhleman combined for 11 points did the damage. But it was also the Giessen defense that smothered Frankfurt at the end. ‘I felt like we were very focused from the start. Our big goal is to reach the playoffs. Our defense was key for the win. We were flying all around the place and helping each other out. We were vocal and always ready. When they scored, we were sure to make the next stop’, stressed Dallas native Montrael Scott. For the Fraport Skyliners Juniors it was a bitter loss, because they were in the game in crunch-time and then just let it get away. ‘I thought that we fought well for the most part and executed well. We didn’t have as many fast break points as we may have liked. We were too up and down on defense. We had good phases and bad phases’, stated ex Nurnberg Falcon Matthew Meredith.
The first quarter was even for the first few minutes, but then sloppy play by the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and good offensive execution allowed Giessen to take control of the game and lead by as much as 13 points. But Frankfurt cut down the lead and trailed only 25-19 after 10 minutes. Both teams got their offenses going right away as both teams attacked the rim and didn’t take any three’s. Meredith was as usual in attack mode scoring twice while Lischka also got on a roll rapidly scoring twice as the contest was deadlocked at 6-6. But Giessen then ran away going on a harsh 15-2 run to lead very comfortably 21-8. Giessen was poised and played intelligent inside out basketball connecting on two trey’s from Uhlemann and Scott, but also got some buckets inside as ex Frankfurt guard Maxi Begue scored back to back baskets. Frankfurt coughed up the ball too much and just made bad decisions on offense something that would plague them until the end. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn’t totally cave in as they regrouped and closed out the first quarter well going on a 11-4 run. Frankfurt was more aggressive and got two buckets from veteran Marco Voeller as well as 4 points form Bennet Schubert. He made an unorthodox line drive runner in that surprised many in the gym that it actually fell. Three and d specialist Risto Vasiljevic also scored on a runner. ‘We usually have good energy, but didn’t have it in their run. We made little mistakes on defense and just weren’t wake in certain situations’, stated Matthew Meredith. Both teams shot over 50% from the field while were combined 2/10 from outside. Giessen had the 10-7 rebound edge with the 4-2 offensive rebound edge.
In the second quarter The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos kept the lead as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were unable to get over the hump and trailed 46-40 at half-time. Giessen get off to a quick start getting baskets from Lischka and Viktor Ziring as they stopped Frankfurt’s first three possessions and led 29-19. Both team’s offenses now struck fire as both traded baskets, but Frankfurt still couldn’t make ground. Giessen got three’s from Scott, Lischka and Uhlemann as they spread the offensive love around while Frankfurt was led by Meredith who connected for 5 points and Jordan Samare made an offensive rebound and put back, but Giessen led 40-30. But like in the first quarter, the Fraport Skylinmers Juniors got a bit stronger towards the end going into the break with a 10-6 run to trail only 46-40. Especially Samare was potent in the Frankfurt run as he scored three buckets. Frankfurt did a good job powering the ball inside and letting their bigs take control. Marco Voeller also scored. Giessen got some help from German David Amaize who chipped in with two baskets. ‘We played a fake zone and would go back to man. That surprised Giessen and helped us get back into the game. When our defense works then our offense follows’, stated Matthew Meredith. Both teams continued to shoot over 50% from the field, but Giessen did more damage from outside shooting 44% while Frankfurt shot only 21%. And both teams had 16 rebounds a piece.
Both teams stepped up their defensein the third quarter, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to get the lead back momentarily only to lose it again and trail 60-58 after 30 minutes. Frankfurt had a good start going on a smooth 5-0 run as Meredith began dropping a trey and ex TG Hanau forward Calvin Schaum made a pretty runner to trail Giessen only 46-45. But Giessen stopped the run as Lischka scored inside getting the perfect shovel pass from Montrael Scott. The chemistry between Scott and LIschka is breathtaking. ‘I have been watching him for years. It is all about reading the defense correctly. On pick and roll, if I get stopped then he is open. We just have great chemistry’, warned Montrael Scott. Tim Uhlemann then made a three pointer keeping Frankfurt at bay as Giessen still led 51-47. But Frankfurt then found some daylight and cruised on out on a 7-0 run to capture the lead back at 54-51. The run was started by a perfect Hadenfeldt pass who finished with 8 to Nils Leonhardt. Then followed a three pointer by Voeller and then the nicest play of the night as Hadenfeldt dished out another dime feeding Jordan Samare on transition for the perfect alley-oop two handed stuff. ‘That was a beautiful alley-oop. You can’t do it any better than that’, added Matthew Meredith. Frankfurt picked up their energy on defense and made some big plays leading to easy points. But Frankfurt was unable to keep their momentum as Giessen closed out the third quarter with a 9-4 run. In the run, Giessen received good support from Montrael Scott who did a great job picking his spots and making two nice jumpers while Uhlemann was aggressive on the boards making a and put back and young German Sebastian Brach took advantage of the Frankfurt five team fouls got to the free throw line three times but made only three. ‘We got lazy on defense. We had a slow start. It was hard controlling Meredith tonight. We wanted to take his three away and let him drive’, stated Montrael Scott.
For the first few minutes of the fourth quarter, it was a fierce dog fight, but then came the brutal blow as Giessen went on a 17-5 run to end the game. Uhlemann continued to keep Giessen ahead with a pair of free throws and another three pointer, but Meredith continued to try to be their savior making a trey and a floater to tie the game 65-65. Then came the turning point of the game as Giessen escaped on a neck breaking 13-0 run to lead 78-65. In the run, Johannes Lischka began scoring three of four baskets. He scored all three baskets in the paint including finishing with a hard dunk. As always point guard Montrael Scott was there to supply the perfect passes. Scott also made a jumper while Uhlemann hit a trey and Brach also connected. ‘I understand the game and play at my pace. I just try to pick my spots as best I can. I also have great teammates that make my job easy’, said Montrael Scott. ‘Lischka is so tough to stop. He has a good mid range game. He has been showing for years that he can do it. But honestly I don’t feel that he was so much the problem, but it was more Scott and Uhlemann’, warned Matthew Meredith. Hadenfeldt then stopped the gigantic run with a three pointer. But it was too little to late. Scott added some cosmetic flavor for his stat line with a pull up jumper and free throws. Calvin Schaum closed out the game with a lay in. ‘We were focused at the end in executing our defense. We gave up 103 points a few days ago. We knew that we couldn’t defend like that again’, warned Montrael Scott. ‘I don’t really think that we played bad in the end. They just made some shots and we didn’t’, said Matthew Meredith. The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos were led by Tim Uhlemann with 25 points and 14 rebounds. Montrael Scott added 20 points and 8 assists and Johannes Lischka scored 20 points while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Matthew Meredith with 20 points while Marco Voeller and Jordan samara added 12 points apiece. Giessen shot 48% from t6he field and 41% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 46% from the field and 25% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 16 turnovers.