A great motto is always Things can only get better. For the older folk, the 1985 smash hit Things can only get better from UK singer Howard Jones is a song that Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners could take into the new year as their 0-7 record didn’t exactly demonstrate excellence. But one can’t forget that they had many tough loses where they played well for 30 minutes, but couldn’t finish it in the fourth and never gave up playing hard every game. Even if Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg only had a dismal 2-5 record, their play was definitely misleading as they were underachieving. The team is filled with much talent and players with more than 40 Pro B experience this season. The question was when would the Ludwigsburg bubble finally burst and a long winning streak be born? On a very mild early January afternoon in Frankfurt, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners finally wanted to erase the big goose egg and start 2023 with a bang, but instead it was Porsche BBA that made the largest noise coming back twice and firing 2 buzzer beaters that totally shocked Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners 87-84 in overtime. It was a total crazy game and one that Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg coach Khee Rhee will remember for a long time. ‘We didn’t play very well. I always tell my young players no matter how bad it looks, nothing won’t change unless you work hard to change it. We hit 2 lucky shots at the end. Those shots came from focus and luck. You work for the luck. Our guys did a great job’, stressed head coach Khee Rhee. The ending to the game totally reflects the tough season that Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners have had. They have fought all season long, but this season the basketball God has totally neglected the team. Sometimes that is simply how the cookie crumbles. It just has been one of those seasons where nothing has gone right.
Mock Icke at the FT line
Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners came out roaring playing with high intensity as it’s 2 key players Joscha Zentgraf and Dusan Nikolic scored. They showed early especially Nikolic that they would be living by their super individual class rather than putting up helpless three’s on this afternoon. But the guests got going as well as the two hero’s at the end Sebastian Schwachhofer (200-PF-2005) and Luca Steubel connected for the early 5-4 lead. But then came the first run of the contest as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners went on a huge 14-3 run to lead 18-8. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got massive production from Zentgraf who scored 3 buckets and was a big force on the offensive glass. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners also got huge support from the bench from Finley Pruever who scored on transition and Sergio Grothe fished an offensive rebound off the glass and made the put back. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners played with higher intensity that Ludwigsburg couldn’t match and continued to attack the rim with force neglecting the three’s. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners kept the lead, but Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg got 4 points from big man Mock Icke and huge German talent Abdulhay Komurkara made a lay in as he demonstrated his incredible speed. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to execute well getting valuable production from Bench player Marvin Esser and from Zentgraf who was on fire in the first quarter. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led comfortably 23-14 after 10 minutes. ‘We didn’t defend or rebound well. That was a major problem in other phases of the game. Nikolic show his individual class which was impressive. He bulldozered through us with ease’, stated Khee Rhee.
Joscha Zentgraf at the FT line
Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to control the game despite Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg getting a burst of major energy from athletic Esli Edigin and still led 40-33 at the break. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners began well scoring 4 unanswered points as Zentgraf made free throws and Barnabas Bode made a beautiful lay in dazzling everyone with his spin move. On defense Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners held their high intensity forcing Ludwigsburg to 4 straight turnovers. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg remained calm and used more patience on offense not hurrying or forcing things and went on a 10-0 run to trail Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners only 27-24. Edigin supplied instant scoring support with back to back three’s while Stuebel snuck inside for an offensive rebound and put back and Ognjen Veljkovic made a turn around shot at the shot clock buzzer. Nikolic had been forcing a bit too much in the first few minutes, but driving isn’t any different than shooting in that if it isn’t working keep trying. Nikolic remained aggressive scoring twice with the swift drive and once on transition as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 34-26. Veljkovic made a huge trey to cut Frankfurt’s lead down to 34-29, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners remained strong going into the break with further vital support from their bench as German Marvin Esser scored 2 buckets and Finley Pruever made a beautiful floater for the 40-33 advantage after 20 minutes. ‘We played faster and got good production from Esli Edigin. He still has much development time ahead of him, but if you look at him now and last August it is like day and night’, stated Khee Rhee.
Sebastian Schwachofer to the rim
The third quarter was dreadful for both teams in terms of execution as there was little. It was literally a turnover party as both teams coughed up the ball at a high rate. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg stepped up their defense raising it’s intensity a few levels stopping 5 possessions and were rewarded with 7 points on offense. Phyisical Luis Nonfon began with a lay in as he perfected the give and go with Luca Steubel and then Sebastian Schwachhofer scored twice inside to dead lock the game at 40-40. The guests would get 2 more stops until Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners finally scored it’s first hoop of the second half as Hector Izquierdo scored with a trey for the 43-40 lead. The game would remain tight as Komurkara hit a trey to tie the game at 45-45. Nikolic remained aggressive and executed with his drive that was almost impossible to defend, but Leonardo Kratzer tied the game with free throws at 47-47. But Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg would get their first lead of the game as diminutive guard Travis Davis who is 170cm who reminded one of Nate Robinson made a huge trey and closed out the third quarter with the perfect lob pass for Nonfon who made the easy basket for the 52-48 advantage. ‘We had more intensity on defense and rebounded better. I remember coming into the gym and seeing some people laugh at Davis’s not in a negative way but in the sense that he was so small in comparison to the big men. People underestimate him. His size is positive in that he is very quick, but has deficits on defense because of his size’, added Khee Rhee.
Dusan Nikolic from downtown
The fourth quarter remained a close battle in the first 5 minutes, but Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners then got a way a bit leading by 7 points, but couldn’t close the door shut for the victory. Hector Izquierdo had a massive fourth quarter at both ends of the court. He began quickly connecting on 4 free throws to tie the game at 52-52. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to execute going on a 6-2 run to lead 58-54. Nikolic continued to be aggressive and have the hot hand scoring with a lay in and off balance shot. The guests continued to battle and got some big three’s from Komurkara and Steubel to gain the 64-63 advantage. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to have strong nerves knowing they had lost so many games in crunch-time this season hit Ludwigsburg with a 10-3 run to lead 73-67. Izquierdo was huge in this phase getting rebounds, steals, blocks and scored 7 points with 2 lay in’s and 3 free throws. But the guests just wouldn’t go away making 2 huge buckets with less than a minute to go. Veljkovic made the perfect inbounds pass for the alley-oop to Nonfon and Schwachhofer made a reverse lay up with 22 seconds to play. Zentgraf made a free throw for the 74-71 advantage and little time to play. ‘We gave up too much and Nikolic remained really strong. We were too passive in the pick and roll defense’, stressed Khee Rhee. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg had little time, but Stuebel made the crazy off balance bank shot to propel his team into overtime. ‘I didn’t want to make the bank shot. I had little time and had a hand in my face. I had to let it go. I had a good feeling for 2 seconds, but I didn’t celebrate because I knew that we still had to play overtime’, commented Luca Stuebel (189-PG-2004).
Luca Steubel to the hole
The game remained tight in overtime as no team could escape the other. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a quick basket by Marvin Esser, but the lead didn’t remain long as Veljkovic made free throws. Pruever then made an off balance shot for the 78-76 advantage, but Steuble with his buzzer beater fresh on his mind continued to have the hot hand making a trey and lay in and 81-78 Ludwigsburg lead. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to play with so much heart as they were still searching for that first win as Julian Haskins made an off balance shot and Nikolic once again foiled the Ludwigsburg defense with a lay in and 82-81 Frankfurt advantage. Stuebel continued to get the ball and produce making a free throw and lay in for the 84-82 lead. With less than 30 seconds to go, Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners elected to take the safe 2 and allowed Nikolic to do his magic and make another typical lay in to tie the game at 84-84. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg had 4,8 seconds remaining. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners did a good job on defense denying the entry, but the inbounds pass somehow found Schwachhofer deep behind the three point line and he just heaved up a hail mary that saw nothing but net. ‘We had one play, but nobody was open. I got open. I knew I had only 1,9 seconds so I had to shoot it. I felt very confident taking the shot’, stressed Sebastian Schwachhofer. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg was led by Luca Stuebel with 21 points. Sebastian Schwachhofer added 16 points while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were led by Dusan Nikolic. Hector Izquierdo added 17 points and Joscha Zentgraf 15 points. Porsche BBA Ludwigsburg shot 47% form the field and 42% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 30 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 50% form the field and 14% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 25 turnovers.