The NBBL season of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners has been one to forget this season. The club has fought every game, but not been rewarded in any way by the basketball God. Two weeks ago they were so close to finally celebrating their first win of the season, but instead got a dagger rammed into their heart twice as they were leading in the regulation period and overtime only to see them get hit with a buzzer beater each time. That brutal loss took time to digest and they had a long time to think about it, because the game in Ibam was postponed last weekend. But it didn’t get any easier as their next opponent was the perfect Urspring team with a record of 8-0 came to Frankfurt. Urspring may only produce 65 points per game, but defend with passion and heart and allowed only 47 points per contest. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners who entered the game with a poor 0-8 record really had their hands full, but as so often this season played really well, but as usual couldn’t finish the job. Like the game before vs Ludwigsburg, they should have won it in regulation time, but allowed Team Urspring to send it in overtime where Jorke Aavkardo (189-PG-2005) and Mateo Vidovic hit big shots to secure the win. ‘We had problems in the first half. They knew every play. We had to adjust to their zone. But as the game went on our man to man defense always got better. We depend on our defense’, stated team Urspring head coach Oliver Heptner.
Joscha Zentgraf at the FT line
The first quarter was a tight affair as no team could get away from the other. The guests got off to the quick 3-0 start as Estonian guard Jorke Aavkardo hurled a three pointer. His calmness and nice touch and execution rate would hurt Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners all night long. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got going quickly rushing out on a 6-0 run to lead 6-3. Power forward and dirty work boy Joscha Zentgraf as usual was banging inside and drew two fouls, but made only 2 shots while Dusan Nikolic and Hector Izquierdo began aggressive and scored twice on drives. But the guests reacted well and got some offensive input going as the German with the English name Jared Grey showed his offensive qualities making a dunk and three pointer for the 10-6 Urspring advantage. That little burst of offense didn’t hinder the execution of Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners getting a 7-2 run to lead 13-12 as they got a clutch three pointer from Hector Izquierdo, a lay in from Alexander Lagerman on transition, and possibly the team’s dunk of the year from Dusan Nikolic who flew through the lane like a combination of Len Schoorman and Elijah Clarence and finished with the hard 1 handed dunk. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners ccouldn’t hold the lead as Aav stepped again unleashing that pretty three point shot as Team Urspring led 15-14 after 10 minutes. Crazy stats after one quarter showed the guests shooting incredibly well as 45% from the field and 60% from outside while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were shooting a weak 28% from the field and even worse 17% from outside despite trailing only by 1 point. Frankfurt were hustling more having the 11-8 rebound lead including 8 offensive rebounds and 4 turnovers while the guests had 5 turnovers. ‘It was tough for us to get going. We had a long drive and had to play on a Friday night. But as the game kept going, the better we got into the game’, stated Jorke Aavkardo.
Brenden Velaj at the FT line
In the second quarter showed Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners totally break out and hammer Team Urspring with a 26-12 explosion and lead by 13 points at half-time. Nikolic began the second quarter with a lay in as his aggressiveness got bigger in the second quarter for the 16-15 Frankfurt lead. Team Urspring then got on the board getting back to back buckets in the paint from Aav who besides having a routine good three, also was able to use his speed to hurt Frankfurt scored as did 18 year old Albanian Brendon Velaj who came to Germany from Albania as an immigrant without his parents and has been able to produce a solid life with the combination of school and basketball thanks to the Urspring program. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners trailed 19-16, but the storm was about to hit Team Urspring. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners exploded for an incredible 19-0 run to totally paralyze Team Urspring. In the brutal run everything functioned at both ends of the court. The duo of Lagermann and Izquierdo were a 2 man wrecking crew that the guests had no answer for. Nikolic began the charge with a lay in as his 1-1 skills seem to get better with each game. Flashy and athletic Alexander Lagemann then added 6 points with 2 lay ins and free throws and Izquierdo added 7 points with 3 lay in’s and a free throw while Zentgraf also scored free throws. It was the heightened defense by Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners that pushed their offense as they tried to get on transition each team and were then mostly rewarded with easy buckets as the guests always seemed a step to slow. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were always in attack mode and the classic and potent 1-1 skills of Lagermann and Izquierdo were too much for the guests. Team Urspring closed out the second quarter getting some solid bench support from German Jermy Wontroba who followed Aav’s aggressiveness getting to the free throw line and also made an off balance shot while Mr poster dunk specialist Linus Ihle made free throws. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a dunk from Izquierdo in the last minute and a basket from Lagermann to lead 40-27 at the break. ‘Our defense was lacking man to man as there was no help. It was little details that they picked apart’, added Jorke Aavkardo. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners upped their shooting from the field to 44%, but couldn’t hit the ocean from outside shooting 13% while the guests shooting percentages also dipped to 32% from the field and 33% from outside. Frankfurt had the 23-17 rebound edge and 10-7 offensive rebound edge and 7 turnovers while Team Urspring had 10 turnovers.
Dusan Nikolic with the lay in
Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were able to keep the steady lead, but weren’t executing as well anymore like back in the second quarter, but still led by 10 points after 3 quarters. Lagermann made a super hustle play getting the rebound off his own miss and giving Frankfurt the first points of the second half and 42-17 advantage. Team Urspring couldn’t convert on their first 3 possessions, but then added a spark of energy getting 5 unasnwered points as Aav hit another trey and Ihle made a thunderous two handed dunk as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 42-32. Both teams would produce their own little runs as now Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners got a three pointer from Nikolic and another hustle play by Lagermann as he was present on the offensive glass getting the rebound and put back for the 47-32 lead. But Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were unable to keep this lead or extend it as Team Urspring were more confident and were executing better on offense. The guests countered with a lightening 5-0 run to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 47-38 as AAv made one free throw, Velaj made a put back and Vidovic drilled home a trey as Urspring trailed only 47-38. The guests inserted a zone and press that annoyed Frankfurt that didn’t allow Frankfurt to execute as much with their 1-1 play and disallowed easy points while on offense were calm and played their sets getting success. The Urspring defense forced Frankfurt to 7 turnovers in the quarter. Aav and Nikolic gave their team some added support down the stretch with baskets, but Team Urspring couldn’t really make any ground as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 54-44. ‘We came back being stronger mentally. We worked harder and showed more pride and played better as a team. We attacked more and our press also helped’, added Jorke Aavkardo. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to shoot well from the field at 43% while their three point shooting was nonexistent and Team Urspring shot 32% from the field and 35% from outside. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners still had the rebound advantage at 34-27 and 14-11 offensive edge and had 14 turnovers and 13 turnovers.
Justin Gray with the jumper
In the fourth quarter Team Urspring heightened their game another notch scoring 24 points foiling Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners attempt to gain their first win forcing the game into OT. Vidovic began the fourth quarter with a clutch three as he was continuing to get warmed up for his heroic OT run as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners led 54-47. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners continued to execute well on offense keeping some space between them and Team Urspring going on a 7-2 run to lead 61-49. Point guard Barnabas Bode made a lay in, Lagermann a crushing 2 handed dunk coming form the base line and Nikolic a lay in getting through the defense again. Ihle and Lagermann then traded buckets as Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners was still standing strong and it looked like they may finally pull out their first win of the season. But then came the crushing turning point of the game. In a short span of about 30 seconds Team Urspring totally punished Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners going on a 7-0 run as steals by Ihle and Velaj led to 2 Velah baskets and Aav dropped a trey and suddenly Frankfurt led only 64-60. Nikolic made a massive lay in under pressure and it looked like Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners could still pull it out in crunch-time, but Team Urspring just had the better nerves. The guests kept chipping away and executed as Aav made a lay in to cut the lead to 66-62. Frankfurt superb role player Marvin Esser made a huge lay in to lead 68-62, but Frankfurt just couldn’t hold down the fort. Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners allowed a crushing 6-0 run. Ihle came up with a big block and Grey made a dunk and AAV a three to tie the game at 68-68. ‘We are a good defensive team and that 7-0 run just showed the kind of team that we are. Our game starts on defense. If we stick to our defensive principles then that translates over to our offense’, warned Jorke Aavkardo.
Linus Ihle dunk
In the overtime period both teams were at eye level in the first few minutes, but Team Urspring then closed out the game strong with a run to clinch the win. Vidovic and Lagermann offered a back and forth battle as Vidovic displayed his fine inside out qualities with a catch and pop three and lay in while Lagermann continued to be aggressive and showing he is that go to guy with 2 clutch three pointers to dead lock the game at 73-73. But Team Urspring then closed out the game with a swift blow with a 11-2 run. Vidovic and and Aav combined for 5 points as Team Urspring led 78-73. Team Urspring still had that needed burst of energy on defense forcing Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners to a tough shot which Finley Pruver missed and then a turnover. Izqierdo did make a bucket after seemingly the 5th offensive rebound to trail 80-75 with 32 seconds to play, but the guests closed out the game with Philipp Schneck free throws and a powerful Ihle dunk. ‘We looked for Mateo Vidovic. He was very active and aggressive in the Ot. We pressed and remained aggressive. My shot kept falling and I felt very comfortable. I couldn’t have done it without my teammates’, stressed Jorke Aavkardo. Team Urspring was led by Jorke Aavkardo with 31 points. Mateo Vidovic added 16 points and Linus Ihle had 11 points, 6 rebounds, 6 steals and 3 blocks while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners were led by Alexander Lagermann with 25 points and Dusan Nikolic added 22 points and Hector Izquierdo had 17 points. Team Urspring shot 40% from the field and 42% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 14 turnovers while Eintracht Frankfurt-Fraport Skyliners shot 43% from the field and 18% from outside and had 52 rebounds and 27 turnovers.