There have been so many years especially when the Fraport Skyliners had had success where no basketball junkie wanted the season to end. But this season had been a nasty ordeal where losing became the norm for the 2016 Fiba Europe Cup winner. It has been one of the seasons where one was happy that the season was finally over. But the Fraport Skyliners wanted to close out the season in style against medi bayreuth. The Fraport Skyliners had been playing a lot better basketball in the last weeks beating a very much improved EWE Baskets team since the arrival of new head coach Ingo Freyer and playoff candidate Hakro Merlins Crailsheim. This season against Bavarian team medi bayreuth, Frankfurt had lost 85-72 on the road where the execution rate of the three ball decided the game. The Fraport Skyliners wanted to end this dismal and forgettable season on a high note and did winning three of their last four games and their last regular season game 82-70 over medi bayreuth. When it counted most the Fraport Skyliners were able to execute at both ends of the court in the fourth quarter and never allowed the guests over the hump. ‘We fought the whole game and whenever they made runs, we were able to hold up well against it and execute. We took care of the ball well and had less of live turnovers. We took our open shots whenever we had them and didn’t hesitate. We fought for our fans and wanted to go out with a bang’, stressed Quantez Robertson. It had been a very tough season for the Bavarian team as they had no answer how to limit the hot Frankfurt shooting. ‘They shot the ball really well and we couldn’t get stops late. They also got baskets in the paint and Mclean played well. I thought that we defended well at times, but when a team shoots as well as they did, it is hard to win. We had a super up and down season. We were never able to find a niche with our group’, stressed medi bayreuth guard Marcus Thornton. ‘Frankfurt found their rhythm early and shot the ball very well the entire game. That helped their self-confidence and that carried them’, stated medi Bayreuth head coach Raoul Korner.
The first quarter was a real scoring fest as 54 points were scored and the game was dead locked at 27-27 after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners didn’t waste any time nailing back to back three’s from Rasheed Moore and Marcel Ponitka. It also didn’t take the guests long to get over their mini shock as they hit three’s from ex Marquette (NCAA) forward Sacar Anim and ex Nurnberg guard Bastian Doreth to trail 8-6. Both teams offenses were rolling as Frankfurt continued their smooth execution receiving a trey from ex NBA player Will Cherry and a lay in from Ponitka to lead 13-8. But medi Bayreuth didn’t lay down as they continued to attack and relied on the three ball getting back to back three’s from Anim and Estonian forward Janari Joesaar to capture their first lead of the game at 14-13 as it was raining three’s. Both teams continued to rattle off points as if it was nothing as there would be four more lead changes. Cherry and Quantez Robertson made baskets while ex Trier center Andreas Seiferth made a lay in and ex Boston Celtic Marcus Thornton steered 5 points for the 22-19 Bayreuth advantage. Seiferth continued to be hot making a trey and lay in for the 27-24 advantage. But the Fraport Skyliners would have the last laugh as Quantez Robertson fired home an unconventional three at the buzzer behind the BBL logo behind center court to tie the game at 27-27. ‘There was a lot of scoring as both teams left guys open. The rotating and talking wasn’t good. I knew the ball was going in with the way I was lined up in the air. Every once in a while I practice these in practice’, smiled Quantez Robertson.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners continued to execute well on offense and also shaved down the Bayreuth points to more than half of what they scored in the first quarter. The Fraport Skyliners began the second quarter on fire and took that momentum that Quantez Robertson had given them with his buzzer beater and responded with a brutal 9-0 run on consecutive three’s from Germans Len Schoorman, Lukas Wank and Ponitka to lead 36-27. Frankfurt had upped their defensive intensity forcing Bayreuth more to hurried shots which ruptured their execution rate. Bayreuth then got some rapid production with a Joesaar lay in and Allen three pointer to trail only 38-32, but Frankfurt remained consistent and also unpredictable as they didn’t only heave three’s but continued to use their height and physical advantages getting key dunks from Mclean and rookie Matt Haarms to lead 44-34. Mclean wanted to go out not only on top with a win, but also with a good personal game and did with 13 points on 5/6 shooting including making numerous dunks. ‘When he dunks, it does take a lot out of him for the next plays. But when he gets that fire in his eyes and he hedges out aggressively then he is able to finish well’, stated Quantez Robertson. Bastian Doreth connected on a trey and Mclean closed out the first half with a typical lay in as the Fraport Skyliners led 48-39 at the break. ‘We did a good job moving the ball and finding guys and making the right plays. We took time and executed and found the mis matches in the post’, added Quantez Robertson.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners got sloppy on offense scoring only 12 points and still played pretty good defense to keep the lead. Medi Bayreuth came into the second half rejuvenated and struck Frankfurt with a nasty 9-2 run to cut the lead down to 50-48. In the run the guests got vintage support from ex Richmond (NCAA) forward Terry Allen with 5 points while Seiferth continued to get touches in the paint producing a easy lay in and Joesaar also scored on the back door cut as Allen dished out the dime. Medi Bayreuth was playing smart inside out basketball while Frankfurt was falling back into old habits with coughing up the ball and being sloppy. But instead of falling apart like in so many other games this season, they were able to withstand the blow and struck right back executing better again as Mclean scored in the paint, Robertson nailed a deep three and Moore scored on the fast break to lead 57-51. Frankfurt was playing with a higher intensity and got back to old good habits playing transition. But Bayreuth also never stopped fighting and got a key bucket by Seiferth and beautiful trey by Thornton to cut the Frankfurt lead to 57-56. Wank converted on a clutch three pointer to close out the third quarter leading 60-56. ‘We knew that they would make a run, but we remained aggressive on defense and made key shots down the stretch’, said Quantez Robertson. ‘We had lapses on defense. We can’t have lapses like that when they are shooting so well. We were unable to limit their runs’, stressed Marcus Thornton.
In the fourth quarter the precision shooting of the Fraport Skyliners returned and they also upped their defensive stops which didn’t allow the guests to get over the hump again. Anim got the Bayreuth hearts going again with a 20 footer pull up to keep Bayreuth close trailing 62-58. But Frankfurt wasn’t going to allow any more big runs as 2017 JBBL finalist Len Schoormann put a little dagger in the Bayreuth hearts with back to back three pointers upping Frankfurt’s lead to 68-58. But Bayreuth was never out of the game always coming back supplying their own little punch as Anim remained aggressive scoring inside and Thornton dropped another big three as Bayreuth trailed only 68-63. Both teams were executing and the only difference was that the guests weren’t able to make any real ground as Frankfurt kept scoring. Frankfurt got buckets from Moore with a runner and a Cherry lay in as Frankfurt remained on top leading 74-65. Medi Bayreuth had the next answer as Allen dropped another trey and Seiferth made a 25 footer, but Frankfurt still led 76-70. But that was the last punch that medi Bayreuth would have as the Fraport Skyliners then served up the knock out punch closing out the contest with a 6-0 run. In the run, Frankfurt got support from Ponitka with a lay in, a Mclead dunk and Wank free throws. ‘We stayed aggressive on defense and continued to play hard and stayed together’, warned Quantez Robertson. We couldn’t get stops and their guards did a good job getting to the hoop or kicking it out’, stated Marcus Thornton. ‘We never found ourselves after the Fiba windows. But despite all the turbulences that we had, there were three positives. One we remained in the BBL, two we never gave up and three having the amazing fan support’, stressed Raoul Korner. The Fraport Skyliners had six players in double figures and were led by Marcel Ponitka with 14 points. Jamel McLean (202-C-1988, college: Xavier) added 13 points and Len Schoormann 12 points while medi Bayreuth was led by Andreas Seiferth with 17 points while Marcus Thornton added 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 51% from the field and 50% from outside and had 27 rebounds and 13 turnovers while medi Bayreuth shot 42% from the field and 41% from outside and had 38 rebounds and 19 turnovers.