The Fraport Skyliners Juniors Buckle Down On Defense In The Second Half Silencing BBC Coburg 79-64

After a week off it was time for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors to get back to work. They had some extra time to digest their pathetic 20 point loss to the White Wings Hanau. 2023 hasn’t been good to the Frankfurt club as after starting the year with a big victory over the Wizards, they lost 3 in a row including 2 blow out loses at home against the top teams Koblenz and Hanau. They wanted to get back on track, but it didn’t get any easier with 11-5 Bavarian club BBC Coburg. The club has some experienced players, but are also stacked with young talented players from the easyCredit BBL Bamberg organization. Coburg arrived in Frankfurt having won 3 of the last 4, but last lost at home having a slip up against Ehingen. Both teams wanted to find a win again and help enhance the home court advantage for the playoffs and the Fraport Skyliners had to buckle down on defense in the second half in order to silence BBC Coburg 79-64. Frankfurt gave up only 8 points in the third quarter which sparked their offense to go on a big run to open the game and they never looked back. ‘Our plan was to control the game with our defense. We knew that they were a very good offensive team. In the second half our defense read them very well and our switches were very good. They couldn’t move the ball well and we controlled the rebound. We shot well and played free through the pick and roll and knew how to find the right guys’, stated game top scorer Nolan Adekunle (200-PF-2002). BBC Coburg never gave up fighting in the second half, but the big Frankfurt run in the third quarter hurt their self-confidence. They had many open looks, but it was just one of those nights where the ball didn’t want to fall. ‘Frankfurt had a lot of open shots. They also managed a lot of back door cuts. Our rotations weren’t good and our 1-1 defense wasn’t good either. We have showed this season that we know how to play. We have to find on track again’, warned BBC Coburg center Leon Bulic.

Jordan Samare from outside

The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without Philipp Hadenfeld and Justin Onyejiaka while BBC Coburg was without John Saigge. Both teams had problems finding their rhythm in the first few minutes as both teams got 3 consecutive stops. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors understood to use their length and physical advantage and attacked the zone as German center Alexander Richardson scored twice. BBC Coburg played solid team basketball playing small ball and sharing the ball getting baskets from Bulic, and ex top NBBL player of Paderborn Adrian Petkovic. Athletic big man Jordan Samare and ex Breitenguss guard Sven Lorber traded baskets twice, but no team could flee the other as the game was tied at 11-11. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors then showed how quickly they can take off when their three begins to heat up as they went on a 9-3 run to lead 20-14. Nolan Adekunle nailed back to back three’s and ex Hanau guard Felix Hecker also scored. But BBC Coburg took a page from Frankfurt’s book also showing they can make it rain three’s as 2019 NBBL finalist Jannis Sonnefeld scored twice and Adrian Worthy also scored to lead 22-20 after 10 minutes. ‘We began well, but showed early on that we let them come back through being sloppy. This was a trend that would continue during the game. We always gave them an open window to come back’, stressed Nolan Adekunle. Both teams shot 40% or better from the field and from outside while Frankfurt had the slight 12-10 rebound edge.

Jannis Sonnefeld at the FT line

In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors set the tone, but couldn’t keep the consistent lead allowing BBC Coburg to hang around. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors found their groove rapidly soaring out on a massive 12-1 run to lead 32-23. In the run it was the Samare and Hecker show as Samare added 7 points and Hecker 5. Hecker made a steal and made a quick TD pass ala Tom Brady for Samare for the big dunk. Samare would add another dunk and lay in while Hecker made a trey and lay in. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were very aggressive and BBC Coburg weren’t able to match Frankfurt’s intensity and forced to much on offense. But BBC Coburg didn’t let down, but just fought going on a 7-2 run to trail only 34-30. The guests did a good job getting to the free throw line and making smart decisions and were calm on their execution. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors always made a punch, but couldn’t add consecutive punches as they were punished for their mistakes. Milan Suput the son of Brose Bamberg legend Predrag Suput made a turn around shot, Tyrese Blunt hit a 20 footer, Bulic a trey and Petkovic a lay in as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors slipped into half-time with the slim 41-39 advantage. ‘We made dumb mistakes to let them stay in the game. We can’t be that unconcentrated when we have the lead. We have to learn to be more consistent’, warned Nolan Adekunle. Both teams continue to shoot over 40% from the field, while BBC Coburg’s three point shooting dipped to 33% while Frankfurt’s was at 43%. Frankfurt had the 20-16 rebound edge, but had 8 turnovers and the guests 7 turnovers.

Nolan Adekunle at the FT line

The turning point came in the third quarter as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors upped their defensive pressure and execution and on offense they were able to execute at a better consistent rate. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got quick energy from Nolan Adekunle to begin the third quarter getting back to back buckets from him for the 45-41 lead. Both teams then got some needed production inside as Alexander Richardson who retuned after a long injury scored twice while Sonnefeld also added 2 baskets including and old school hook shot, but Frankfurt still led 49-45. Then came the turning point of the game as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors exploded on a brutal 12-0 run to lead 61-45. In the run, Jordan Samare continued to be aggressive and owned the paint scoring 3 times while three’s from Adekunle and Hecker rounded out the run as the club showed fine inside out basketball. Blunt stopped the run with a pull up jumper as BBC Coburg were held to 8 points trailing 61-47 after 30 minutes. ‘Coach told us in the break that the game was 0-0 in the third quarter. We wanted to stay aggressive and when we had the lead build on it. We attacked well and found the open man. Our good defense led to transition baskets’, said Nolan Adekunle. ‘The third quarter has been a problem for us this season. We weren’t ready to paly from the start. They played good help side defense and their zone worked well. We had good looks, but were unlucky as our shots just didn’t fall’, stated Leon Bulic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 49% from the field and 36% from the parking lot and had 32 rebounds and 13 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 37% from the field and 22% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 12 turnovers.

Milan Suput from downtown

In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors did a fine job managing their big lead and never trailed by less than 9 points. BBC Coburg got some early baskets from Petkovic and Blunt, but they couldn’t make any ground as Frankfurt got buckets from Adekunle in form of a three pointer and 7 year man Alvin Onyia made a lay in as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors led 68-51. BBC Coburg attempted to play team basketball and refrained form 1-1 play, but their good looks continued not to reward them. BBC Coburg had one last gasp of energy surprising Frankfurt with a 10-2 run to trail 70-61. In the run the Bavarian club got a needed spark from Suput who scored 8 points. He made 3 free throws, a trey and a lay in after he made a block on Onyia and then went coast to coast for the 2 points and Bulic added a hook shot. Frankfurt was overflowing with turnovers with real bad text book mistakes which the guests took to their advantage. But that was as close as BBC Coburg would get as then came the nail on the coffin from Frankfurt. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors received back to back three’s from Onyia who tested his 20% three point % and Adekunle continued to have the hot hand as Frankfurt led 76-61. With the game decided with a minute to go, Bulic added a 20 footer and Adekunle closed out the contest with a trey. ‘Despite Coburg fighting, we never thought we could lose. Our self confidence was high. We remained cool and calm in crunch-time to help us win’, stressed Nolan Adekunle. ‘We did all we could to come back. We cut the lead down to 9 points, but then they made 2 three’s in a row and were back to where we were most of the game down by a lot of points. They were always ready for us and had an answer for everything. We couldn’t set the tone’, warned Leon Bulic. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Nolan Adekunle with 25 points. Jordan samara added 21 points and Felix Hecker 14 points while BBC Coburg were led by Leon Bulic with 14 points and 12 rebounds while Jannis Sonnefeld contributed 13 points and Milan Suput 12 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 48% from the field and 38% from outside and had 43 rebounds and 19 turnovers while BBC Coburg shot 35% from the field and 21% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 14 turnovers.


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