Yanni Wetzell was double happy after Alba Berlin´s win and also San Diego States win
The up and down play of the Fraport Skyliners was something they definitely couldn’t experience as the fight to stay in the league got more intense with every passing weekend. After a thrilling home win against Fiba Europe Cup Niners Chemnitz, every one in Skyliner country was hoping for the next miracle win in Hamburg, but instead the team stunk up the second half something they have done so often this season. The 2004 BBL champion was looking for a turnaround against Alba Berlin back in their living room, but that was more than a tough task, but a brutal task. Alba Berlin came into the game in Frankfurt riding an excellent 22-2 record and were sporting a 5 game winning streak in the easyCredit BBL having last beat Brose Bamberg and FC Bayern Munich a few weeks earlier. The Fraport Skyliners were seeking revenge for the 99-74 loss at the start of 2023, but had little chance against the defending BBL champion as they fell into a hole early and were never able to escape in the 40 minutes. Frankfurt showed spurts of solid offense, but mostly on account of well executed 1-1 plays, but on defense had no remedy for the individual class of Alba Berlin. ‘We weren’t aggressive enough from the start. Alba Berlin took good care of the ball and took all the shots and made them. We gave up too many second chances and open looks’, stressed Fraport Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson. For Alba Berlin it looked like a calm stroll through the park as despite missing key players like Luke Sikma, Jalen Smith, Marcus Eriksson and Tamar Blatt, they still were able to play their game and defend with passion and get consistent support from the bench. ‘We played well as a team with the next guy mentality. All played well no matter who played. We functioned like a well oiled machine which is the same as always’, stressed Alba Berlin guard Jaleen Smith who received a DNP being rested.
Derek Cooke at the FT line
Alba Berlin jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners in the first quarter leading by 8 points after 10 minutes and would never look back. Alba Berlin had their A game from the get go taking the rapid 7-0 lead. Ex Bamberg forward Louis Olinde got Alba Berlin going hitting a trey and lay in while ex Columbia University (NCAA) guard Maodo Lo caught Frankfurt napping down low as he snuck inside for the offensive rebound and put back. Alba Berlin excelled on the 1-1 play using mis matches and just out smarting Frankfurt while the home team were aggressive on the boards with extra chances, but their execution was lack luster. Alba Berlin played their game and showed how well oiled their ship was early on. Ex Auburn (NCAA) guard Quantez Robertson finally got Frankfurt on the board first after 4 missed opportunities scoring on a left handed lay at the 6,45 minute mark in on transition after making a steal. Alba Berlin continued to show consistency and Frankfurt not as the guests went on a 8-2 run to extend their advantage to 15-4. In the run Alba Berlin let it rain three’s as Olinde connected and 2018 NBBL champion Malte De Low also scored. Ex Bilbao big man Ben Lammers added a lay in. The Fraport Skyliners couldn’t muster much offense as ex Iona (NCAA) guard Isaiah Washington hit a lay in and and ex Wurzburg guard Joshua Obiesie hit a step back three as Alba Berlin led 17-9 after 10 minutes. ‘We played hard and executed well, but just couldn’t get our shots to fall. We rebounded well on the offensive glass’, said Quantez Robertson. Both teams shot at 50% from the 2 point range, but the difference was Alba Berlin’s better three point percentage as Frankfurt shot only 10% and the guests 12-9 rebound edge.
Jonas Mattisseck from downtown
The Fraport Skyliners stepped up their play in the first half of the second quarter trailing by only 3 points, but then let up as Alba Berlin went on a run to have a double digit lead again. The Fraport Skyliners came out focused in the first minutes going on a smooth 11-6 run to trail only 23-20. In the run Frankfurt got good playmaking from Isaiah Washington who found ex Wyoming) big man Derek Cooke with the shovel pass and lay in. Washington also connected on a trey and Cooke on a hard one handed dunk on transition. Lithuanian big man Einaras Tubutis also added a three pointer. Frankfurt heightened their intensity at both ends and turned up the aggressiveness and got on transition. But the Fraport Skyliners were unable to hold their game at a high level as they allowed a 10-3 run to trail 33-23. In the run Alba Berlin displayed their keen inside out game getting 2 three’s from 2018 NBBL champion Jonas Mattiseck and Olinde and getting 2 mid distance shots from ex San Diego State University (NCAA) big man Yannick Wetzell (206-C-1996, college: SDSU). Frankfurt could only muster an off balance shot by Washington their best 1-1 player. Frankfurt’s biggest problem was their weak 1-1 defense and allowing too many open shots to the guests. Down the stretch the Fraport Skyliners were able to find their rhythm again on offense, but were unable to get over the hump as Alba Berlin continued to execute at ease. Wetzell continued to be a menace making a three pointer and jumper while German national player Johannes Thiemann scored inside on a nice move and LO made free throws. Cooke continued to be lethal inside as he scored twice, but Alba Berlin had the comfortable 42-33 advantage at half-time. ‘They got a lot of inside scoring which allowed to open up the floor and get their outside shooters going’, commented Quantez Robertson. Both teams continued to shoot well from close range at 60%, but the three point shooting separated the teams as Alba Berlin shot 42% and Frankfurt 23% and they had the 18-14 rebound edge.
Lukas Wank from outside
Alba Berlin really opened up the contest in the third quarter as they were able to lead by as much as 20 points from which the Fraport Skyliners had no response to. Alba Berlin had no fooling around to do in Frankfurt, but were there for a business event and came out focused like always going on a 10-2 run to lead 52-35. They began the run out smarting the Fraport Skyliners with a sneaky inbounds pass from big man to big man as Johannes Thiemann found Lammers for the throw down. Thiemann also showed his quickness dancing by Matt Haarms with ease and also got to the free throw line as did Israeli Yovell Zoosman and Maodo Lo made an off balance shot. The Fraport Skyliners were unable to generate good shots as their ball movement was weak which led to stagnation and on defense were unable to slow down the strong individual class of the Alba players as it was a few levels above what Frankfurt had to offer. Every so often the Fraport Skyliners would show shades of solid offense as ex Purdue (NCAA) giant Matt Haarms connected on a 10 footer and Tubutis scored inside, but then would disappear again as a whole for minutes allowing Alba Berlin to get their lead up. Alba Berlin wiped away that Frankfurt mini run and quietly produced a 10-3 run to extend their lead to 62-42. In the run Alba Berlin got stellar support from their bunch as underrated German guard Jonas Mattisek nailed two three’s including one from somewhere behind the Main river in Hochst. Wetzell continued to do a good job finding his spots and scored again on a lay in. Tubutis and 2022 Portland Trailblazers draft pick Gabriele Procida dropped treys as the Fraport Skyliners trailed 65-45. ‘We got more stops and Frankfurt had more turnovers. We shared the ball very well. Our individual quality was very big. Frankfurt played with a slim rotation’, stated Jaleen Smith. ‘We couldn’t get stops. They continued to get offensive rebounds and make open shots’, said Quantez Robertson.
Johannes Thiemann at the FT line
In the fourth quarter Alba Berlin did what the Fraport Skyliners have been seeking to do all season long and that is to finish out the game well. The Fraport Skyliners fought well, but just couldn’t get over the hump as one too many Harlem Globetrotter plays didn’t help them get any closer. The Fraport Skyliners began well going on a 8-3 run to cut Alba Berlin’s lead down to 68-53. The guard play of Frankfurt sparkled as Washington scored twice and JJ Frazier made a 10 footer. But whenever Alba Berlin needed a bucket, they always had an answer and especially their special individual qualities shone as the quick and agile Thiemann did whatever he liked in the paint area scoring twice to give the guests the 75-55 advantage. The Fraport Skyliners then conducted a run again, but time was running out. As they had a 6-1 run, the buzzer sounded ending the game. Frazier and Haarms added buckets to round out the scoring. But there were too many times in the game when Frankfurt down by 20 tried the risky play instead of the secure play which led to turnovers or missed shots. ‘Frankfurt had nothing to lose. You try things out and hope they work’, stated Jaleen Smith. ‘A big play could have changed the momentum. We wanted to get the team hyped up and get the fans going’, added Quantez Robertson. Times continue to be tough for Frankfurt as they now only have 1 win more than Bayreuth from 18th place as the Bavarian team won. There are 8 games left. Could Jordan Theodore be the answer who has been rumored to be possibly joining the team soon. ‘Jordan would be another floor general. He can set the tone and make plays. We have to fight every game road or home no matter what. We have to figure out to win for 40 minutes and not only show it in spurts’, stressed Quantez Robertson. ‘Theodore would add a veteran presence. He has a lot of experience and the team has young guys and could really need him’, stressed Jaleen Smith. Alba Berlin was led by Yannick Wetzell with 16 points while Johannes Thiemann added 12 points and Louis Olinde had 11 points while the Fraport Skyliners were led by Derek Cooke and Isaiah Washington with 13 points a piece. Alba Berlin shot 49% from the field and 36% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners shot 46% from the field and 19% form outside and had 29 rebounds and 12 turnovers.
Tags : YANNICK WETZELL, ALBA BERLIN, GERMAN BASKETBALL