The Fraport Skyliners Show Heart And Stay Alive Grinding Out 86-77 Win For Tez Over the Wurzburg Baskets

In a span of only 48 hours this week, the easyCredit BBL existence of the Fraport Skyliners was put in the most precarious state as their chances of coming back next season and balling in the BBL had taken a severe nose dive south. They just didn’t have the right mindset going up against 18th placed medi Bayreuth and 16th placed Braunschweig 2 teams they had to beat but couldn’t. Now with 3 games left in the season and 2 games behind 16th placed MBC, they needed a miracle now. It didn’t get any easier as they faced inspiring playoff team Wurzburg Baskets who were in 8th place and one of the big surprises of the season. With 2 ex NAIA players Stanley Whittaker and Cameron Hunt sharing the scoring guard duties, they have proved that you can still have come from the 4th college division and make an impact in a high league. The Fraport Skyliners had a must must must win situation and came to play showing massive heart as their backs were against the wall and won the game for Tez in grind out fashion over the Wurzburg Baskets 86-77 leaving them still one loss behind 16th placed MBC. Only 2 hours before tip off Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson announced his retirement. He injured his foot and was unable to finish the season. Frankfurt showed a spirited fight and were led by the hot scoring combo of Theodore and Lewis who combined for 53 points. ‘The place was sold out and we wanted to win it for Tez. The last games weren’t easy as we had many different line ups. I didn’t feel as good in the games against Bayreuth and Braunschweig, but I felt a lot better today. Key was coming out aggressive something we didn’t do before. Our emphasis was to set the tone’, stressed Fraport Skyliner guard Jordan Theodore (182-PG-1989, college: Seton Hall). The Wurzburg Baskets played catch up all afternoon long and just couldn’t get over the hump in crunch-time. ‘It was a tough game. Frankfurt shot the ball really well. They pretty much got what they wanted. Theodore and Lewis had big games and made timely shots. We have to hope that other teams lose’, stated Stanley Whittaker who congratulated Tez on a great career and wished him all the best in retirement after the buzzer sounded.

Derek Cooke at the FT line

The first quarter was the story of 2 runs, but the Fraport Skyliners had the slim 4 point lead after 10 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners didn’t waste any time jumping all over the Wurzburg Baskets as they quickly led 11-2 and then extended the lead to 16-4. In the run it was ex Seton Hall (NCAA) great Jordan Theodore who set the tone scoring 8 points including 2 three’s. 221cm giant Matt Haarms showed early presence inside scoring twice and German national player Lukas Wank connected on a turn around shot. Frankfurt didn’t overplay, but just played their game showing calmness and fine decision making while playing with high intensity. Frankfurt also pushed the ball well and took advantage of the guests low intensity. But it didn’t take the guests long to get their offensive rhythm going as they came cruising back closing out the first quarter on a 12-4 run to trail only 20-16 after 10 minutes. In the run the guests displayed their fine three point shooting getting a big trey from German Colin Welp off the bench and further three’s from ex NAIA guard Cameron Hunt and ex Appalachian State University guard Oshowen Williams. Williams scored on the buzzer and Frankfurt did a poor job with time management allowing the guests that last opportunity with enough time on the clock. ‘We came out aggressive and hit shots and let our defense dictate our offense. It was a game of runs and did a good job staying focused’, stated Jordan Theodore.

Cameron Hunt with the floater

The second quarter was a real battle as the Fraport Skyliners kept the lead, but could never fully shake the Wurzburg Baskets leading only by 2 points at half-time. In the first few minutes the Fraport Skyliners got steady support from ex Eastern Kentucky University (NCAA) guard Marcus Lewis who contributed 5 points while Jordan Theodore also dropped a trey. But Frankfurt was unable to gain ground as they got lazy on the boards allowing ex Colorado Sate big man Nicholas Carvacho to get 2 easy baskets in the paint as there was no defensive resistance. Williams added havoc adding a three pointer and Frankfurt was staring at an unflattering 28-25 lead in front of the eyes of ex Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert. Frankfurt then attempted to play run and gun, but executed badly as they got beat twice by Williams who scored twice cutting the Frankfurt lead to 30-29. The diminutive 180cm guard began slowly missing his first few shots, but then roared back and was Wurzburg’s back bone. ‘We have a lot of trust in Oshowen. He made the right basketball plays when we needed them’, added Stanley Whittaker. Both teams continued to trade runs as Frankfurt scored 5 unanswered points as Lewis made a wild three point bank shot and Theodore scored on transition for the 35-29 advantage, but the guests struck back with a 6-0 run as Hunt made a floater and Whittaker added 4 points to tie the game at 35-35. Lewis carried Frankfurt into the locker room with a jumper and 37-35 advantage. ‘Wurzburg is on the bubble of making the playoffs and have good players. Williams is a good player and played his role well’, stated Jordan Theodore. Frankfurt shot a healthy 46% from the 2 point range and 43 from outside and had 33 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Wurzburg Baskets shot 50% from the 2 point range and 26% from outside and had 28 rebounds and 5 turnovers.

Marcus Lewis with the runner

The Fraport Skyliners were in control of the game in the third quarter and withstood a few punches by the Wurzburg Baskets to lead 61-54 after 30 minutes. The Fraport Skyliners began well going on a 8-3 run to extend their lead to 45-38. Lewis only had a few good games out of his 19 including dumping 26 against Ludwigsburg this season, but he saved his best for his last home game as his consistency remained on display as he dropped another trey as did Lukas Wank. But Wurzburg got key play from their 2 top guards Cameron Hunt and Stanley Whittaker who kept their team in the game. Whenever Frankfurt tried to get away they had an answer. Two three’s by Whittaker and Hunt cut Frankfurt’s lead to 45-41 and 46-43 and after another Theodore three, Hunt did it again getting a lay in to cut Frankfurt’s lead to 51-48. Frankfurt once again had a positive spurt and tried to get away going on a 8-2 run to lead 59-50. In the run the 2000 BBL cup champion got good support from Marcus Lewis with a clutch step back three as well as Haarms free throws and a tap in by young German Justin Onyejiaka and free throws from Theodore. The Frankfurt offense was executing at a good rate and as usual shots just weren’t falling regularly for the guests. Wurzburg did finish the third quarter with some hope getting free throws from Hunt and a lay in by ex UC Irvine forward Collin Welp. ‘I wanted to get guys more involved in the third. I was a little slow, but I put on the back pack and was more aggressive and attacked as their pick and roll defense wasn’t working well’, stated Jordan Theodore. ‘They did a good job getting offensive rebounds and making three’s. We couldn’t get stops or make shots’, said Stanley Whittaker. Frankfurt continued to shoot solid over 40% and controlled the boards 33-28 while the guests only had 5 turnovers while Frankfurt had 8 turnovers.

Stanley Whittaker at the FT line

The Fraport Skyliners showed real heart in the fourth quarter as despite getting punched first, they never let down, but actually were able to punch back and control the game until the end. The Wurzburg Baskets showed how big their playoff ambition is beginning the last 10 minutes going on a 9-2 run shocking Frankfurt cutting their lead down to 64-63. In the run the guests stifled Frankfurt with three three’s as Hunt scored twice and Williams added one. Frankfurt did a horrible job not covering the line better and just allowing the Bavarian squad too much room. The tide seemed to have turned in favor of the Wurzburg Baskets as the momentum had shifted in their direction, But Frankfurt never quit. Skyliner legend Quantez Robertson was cheering from the bench and they just couldn’t let him down. Frankfurt must of thought if Wurzburg can let it rain three’s, then we can really let it rain three’s and that is what they did. Frankfurt stormed back going on a 15-7 run to lead 79-70 as Theodore hit back to back three’s and Lewis nailed 3 in a row. ‘Lewis has had an up and down season, but he showed he can play. He is also a hell of a defender. He did a good job on Whittaker. When his shots start to fall, he is hard to stop’, warned Jordan Theodore. Frankfurt wasn’t out of the clear yet as Wurzburg made one more push scoring 5 unanswered points as Williams dropped another trey and Whittaker made a runner cutting Frankfurt’s lead to 79-75 with plenty of time to play with 2,47. But The Fraport Skyliners had seen enough and closed the book shut ending the game with a lethal 7-2 run. Theodore made a runner and Derek Cooke a hard dunk for the 83-75 lead. Frankfurt’s defense was as tough as nails getting stops and a huge block by Cooke on Welp. Theodore added 3 free throws to put the exclamation mark on the win. ‘We stayed focused and knew that they would punch back. We contained their guards and rebounded well’, added Jordan Theodore. ‘We couldn’t get over the hump. We battled back, but they always had an answer. They played Frankfurt basketball’, added Stanley Whittaker. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jordan Theodore with 28 points while Marcus Lewis added 25 points while the Wurzburg Baskets were led by Cameron Hunt with 23 points. Oshowan Willams added 17 points and Stanley Whittaker 15 points.The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 50% from outside and had 41 rebounds and 10 turnovers while the Wurzburg Baskets shot 38% from the field and 28% from outside and had 36 rebounds and 5 turnovers.


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