Eric Washington Slams The Door Shut On The Fraport Skyliners in the Fourth Quarter As The MLP Academics Heidelberg Prevail 94-82

pic credit MLP Academics Heidelberg

January 29th, 2023 will be a date that will be remembered for a long time in Fraport Skyliner country. It was the day where the Fraport Skyliners won their most important game of the season in exciting fashion coming back from 17 down against Hamburg and possibly turn their season around and Quantez Robertson became the club’s all-time leading scorer. But there wasn’t much time to reflect on the big day as the season continued 72 hours later against the MLP Academics Heidelberg. It may have been the Washington duel between the easyCredit BBL’s top scorer Eric against New York legend Isaiah from the jelly fam fame, but the game had a lot more flair then just these two extra ordinary players. It was a huge battle for the 2 teams in their quest to remain in the league. The 5-12 Fraport Skyliners continue to be up and down, but have been great in their living room having won 4 of their last 5 games while the 6-10 MLP Academics continue to grind and have played well in the last weeks having beaten Bayreuth and Wurzburg and averaged close to 100 points in the last 3 games. The Fraport Skyliners had to be wide awake on the defensive end one of their weak spots. On a untypical Wednesday night, the two team met in Frankfurt and over 200 faithful Heidelberg fans were on hand to support their team. It was one of those typical Frankfurt games this season where they were at eye level for 3 quarters, but caved in the fourth quarter allowing the guests to trample all over them. It was must win for the Fraport Skyliners as the next 3 games will be very tough to win. ‘I felt there were stretches where we played well. We came out aggressive in the second half and then everything went downhill. Our offense stalled too much. We had problems with every aspect of our game. Whenever we turned over the ball, they would punish us with easy baskets’, stressed ex Purdue center Matt Haarms. 15 minutes after the big win, there was still an incredible atmosphere in the arena as the Heidelberg fans were celebrating with players. The guests weren’t known as a solid road team, but they came together as a team when it counted most in the fourth quarter. Eric Washington (183-PG-1993, college: Miami, OH) really poured in on in crunch-time slamming the door on Frankfurt with 11 points in a row for his team including some tough three’s. ‘We had stretches in the game where we were up 4-5 points, but couldn’t close it out. I felt we shared the ball well and continued to put pressure on them. We knew that our pace would give them problems. Frankfurt is a good team, but we knew that if we would play our game and be able to execute and not turnover the ball, then we would have good chances to win’, stated ex Miami (NCAA) guard Eric Washington.

Joshua Obiesie to the rim

Eric Washington caught the Fraport Skyliners napping ta tip off getting the ball and sprinting to the hoop and scoring within 4 seconds to give Heidelberg the 2-0 advantage. But the tide then turned as the guests almost went 4 minutes without scoring as Frankfurt halted 6 possessions and scored 7 unanswered baskets. German national player Lukas Wank got going quickly scoring 5 points and 221cm giant Matt harms nailed 2 free throws. The guests got some good looks, but couldn’t connect and Frankfurt played solid defense with good communication something that would totally collapse in the fourth quarter. But Heidelberg would slowly close the gap. After Lithuanian guard Laurynas Belliauskas nailed a trey for the 10-4 lead, the guests would totally turn the game around closing out the first quarter with a brutal 14-3 run to lead 18-13 after 10 minutes. In the run they got solid support from American veteran Shy Ely with a 15 footer, a dunk from Belgium national player Vincent Kesteloot and a put back by ex New Jersey Institute of Technology (NCAA)player Tim Coleman, but the most damage was cast by ex Belgium U-20 national player Elias Lasisi who scored 8 points including 2 three pointers. ‘Elias came out aggressive on the floor. He had a good flow and beautiful lift on his shot. He made it swing. It was all net’, said Eric Washington. The Fraport Skyliners were disorganized on the defensive end and had miserable rotations. The first quarter was good. We jumped all over them. We did a good job on defense getting stops and put good pressure on their defense’, stated Eric Washington.

Shy Ely at the FT line

In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners were able to come back and regain the lead, but couldn’t hold it as the MLP Academics Heidelberg stole the lead back and led by 5 points at the break. Frankfurt didn’t waste anytime going on a quick 9-0 run to get the arena roaring from the Skyliners fans side retaking the 22-20 lead. In the run Frankfurt did a superb job sharing the ball as 4 separate guys executed. Ex Georgia (NCAA) guard JJ Frazier added a 20 footer, Matt Haarms a floater, ex Wurzburg guard Joshua Obiesie a floater and Quantez Robertson drilled home a trey. After Maxi Ugrai made a lay in to tie the game at 22-22, it was Frankfurt again that had a good phase continuing to execute well on offense going on a 9-2 run to lead 31-24. In the run the 2000 BBL cup winner got good support from Jelly Fam founder Isaiah Washington who scored twice in the paint, Robertson scored on transition and Frazier dropped a trey from the corner. This was possibly the best phase of Frankfurt in the game as they played with high intensity and took advantage of their good 1-1 qualities on offense. The game was tight, but the Fraport Skyliners clearly controlled the game, but couldn’t get away, because every turnover they produced was punished with baskets by the guests. Heidelberg got some baskets form Ely and Tim Coleman to keep Frankfurt at bay leading only 34-32. After Isaiah Washington connected on free throws, the MHP Academics Heidelberg were able to close out the first half strong going on a 11-2 run to lead. 43-38. In the run Heidelberg received solid support from Eric Washington with 2 baskets, Lasisi produced a three pointer and Coleman a lay in. Frankfurt had awful spurts on defense where they couldn’t get any stops inside as having that additional big man continues to be missing. ‘We knew that Frankfurt didn’t have the best transition defense. Even on makes, we tried to attack them. Getting stops and causing turnovers was key in run at the end. We turned our defense into offense and played our pace’, stated Eric Washington.

JJ Frazier from outside

The MLP Academics continued to keep the lead in the third quarter and were never able to lead by more than 6 points. Wank began the third quarter as well as he did in the first quarter with a massive burst of energy and back to back three’s to dead lock the contest at 44-44. The game of runs continued as Frankfurt couldn’t hold the momentum and let Heidelberg go on a 7-0 run to get the 51-44 lead. In the run, Laqsisi contributed a 25 footer, Coleman a lay in and Ugrai hit a trey. Frankfurt would show spurts of good offense a s Frazier hit a three pointer and Wank scored a lay to cut Heidelberg’s lead down to 51-49, but would lose the energy again. Lasisi was a one man wrecking crew as the other one man wrecking crew Eric Washington was on hold often doing exquisite playmaking. Lasisi scored twice to give the guests the 55-49 lead. Frankfurt continued to produce dumb turnovers which resulted to easy Heidelberg baskets. That Beliauskas is a sniper is no secret as his time came and he struck with consecutive three’s to tie the game again at 55-55. The momentum swings continued as Heidelberg got baskets from Ely and ex Xavier center Brian Griffin for the 60-55 lead, but Frankfurt always had an answer getting a 2 hand dunk and 15 footer from Matt Haarms to cut the guests lead down to 62-61. Haarms had one of his best games this season finishing with 16 points shooting 79% from the field but wasn’t totally content with his game. ‘My shooting percentage was definatley there tonight. But what I did on offense, I undid on defense. I would of really had had a good game had I played better defense. I let my team down’, stressed Matt Haarms. Heidelberg would keep the energy up and lead of 68-65 after 30 minutes. Eric Washington continued to produce ooohs and ahhhs from the fans making a 2 handed dunk on transition and then making an acrobatic kick out pass to ex Skyliner Akeem Vargas who drilled home a trey form the corner. What did he enjoy more the pass or dunk? ‘ As a point guard I enjoy the pass more. Dunks are nice, but it is the passes that keeps the defense off balance and keeps my teammates confident making shots’, warned Eric Washington. ‘Our performance began to go down at the end. We had too many break downs and you can’t afford to have those against good teams’, stated Matt Haarms. ‘We shared ball well, but gave up too many points. We then made adjustments for the fourth quarter’, stressed Eric Washington.

Eric Washington with the 2 handed dunk

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners fought hard, but just couldn’t get over the hump. A last crushing run by the MLP Academics and Eric Washingtons stellar scoring spree slammed the door shut on the Fraport Skyliners. JJ Frazier began the fourth quarter with an in your face jumper to cut the guests lead to 68-67 but the guests just didn’t lose their energy and execution rate getting another clutch trey by Lasisi and incredible lay up by Eric Washington who’s speed was too much for Frankfurt as the guests led 73-67. Matt Haarms was clutch in the come back attempt scoring 6 points. One basket was beautiful as Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson made a volleyball pass to him as trailer for the easy basket. Heidelberg led only 76-74 as crunch-time arrived. But that was the closest that Frankfurt would ever get again as the MLP Academics had had enough and now slammed the door shut with a hard 14-2 run to lead 91-76. Instrumental in the run was the constant pounding by Eric Washington who showed just how lethal of a scorer he was scoring 8 points including back to back three’s with the latter one being a ridiculous off balance in your face jumper. ‘I took what the defense gave me and took advantage of the switch. We got good spacing and I executed. I had held back at times with my shooting earlier, but in crunch-time, I was aggressive and kept shooting. I always trust my work. My performance was nothing out of the blue’, stressed Eric Washington. The unsung hero in the drive was diminutive guard Bennt Hundt who began the run a beautiful pass to Lasisi for the trey and then made an off balance shot. ‘We knew that Washington can always get going, but we also let Lasisi get going. You can’t do that and let both get going. We decided to switch and they took advantage of it’, stated Matt Haarms. ‘We felt the momentum going up with every basket. Getting stops gave us more confidence and our fans and bench energy helped as well. This did not feel like an away game’, added Eric Washington. The MLP Academics Heidelberg were led by Elias Lasisi and Eric Washington who combined for 43 points. Tim Coleman added 12 points and Shy Ely 10 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Matt Haarms with 16 points while Lukas Wank added 15 points and Lauryas Beliauskas produced 14 points. The MLP Academics Heidelberg shot 53% from the field and 38% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the MLP Academics shot 49% from the field and 37% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 13 turnovers.


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