Marco Voeller and Philipp Hadenfeld moonlighting as coaches!!!
It was May 6 and usually around this time, Pro B playdown teams have already been on summer vacation for weeks, but on account of Covid cases, the season was prolonged as the last game day of the Playdown schedule games were still to be played. The Pro B North playdowns had a real exciting do or die game in Bernau as young team Dragons Rhondorf were battling to remain in the Pro B and needed a win badly. While more than 500 kilometers away in Frankfurt, there was another Pro B playdown game, but it was meaningless as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors and Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos had already had been saved and were playing for pride. For fans seeing a warrior like Johanes Lischka is always worth it while on the Frankfurt side seeing all the young bucks one more time in the season was also a delight. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors controlled the first half, but got weaker in the second half allowing the Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos to gain confidence and a better rhythm and getting the come from behind 84-82 win. After the loss Skyliner Junior guard Matthew Meredith seemed perplexed as of how they gave away the game. ‘We had a good first half, but the second half was back and forth. They came back got the lead and then we would get the lead again until they got it at the end and won. Positive today was putting our big men Samare and Richardson into good position to score off the mismatches’, stressed Matthew Meredith. It was one of those games where Giessen could go into summer vacation with a big smile on their faces. ‘We came out slow giving up 31 points. But we improved our defense allowing only 19 points in the second quarter. We continued to pick up our game from there. We knew it would be a super hard fought game. I’m super proud of the guys. This is the best group of young Germans that I have had as teammates in Germany. They played hard and wanted to be good’, stressed Giessen guard Montrael Scott.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors showed their total offensive arsenal in the first quarter jumping all over the Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos leading 15-4 after only a few minutes. Frankfurt did a super job getting their bigs Jordan Samare and Alexander Richardson involved as they combined for 8 points while ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith supplied 5 points and ex Ehingen forward Nils Leonhardt had a lay in. The way Frankfurt was playing in the first few minutes was as if they were on a leisurely Sunday stroll in the park. The ball movement was great, their transition game was working and on defense, they were anticipating well and getting into passing lanes forcing turnovers. Giessen couldn’t muster any real offense as they were playing with many young Germans and a few extra NBBL (U-19) players except for ex German national player Johannes Lischka who got two buckets using his massive strength to his advantage. Frankfurt kept on the pressure on offense and continued to get good execution from their bench. Three and D player Risto Vasiljevic hit a trey and little used athletic wing player Isaac Obanor scored twice inside including a beautiful lay in from the corner by getting by two players and then making a fancy reverse lay up. ‘We always see him making shots like that in practice. He especially likes to do it with his left hand’, stated Matthew Meredith. Giessen executed better on offense, but couldn’t keep pace with Frankfurt because of Frankfurt’s great start. Giessen got two baskets from young German Tristan Goebel, but still trailed 31-19 after 10 minutes. Frankfurt was shooting hot at 72% from the field and 60% from outside while Giessen was doing everything inside being at 52% from the field. Frankfurt also had the rebound and turnover advantage. ‘Everything worked for us. We hit shots and were in rhythm. We really wanted to win’, said Matthew Meredith.
In the second quarter Giessen was able to find better to their game limiting Frankfurt to less points and also having a better execution rate on offense. German Tim Schneider began with a three pointer, but Frankfurt came roaring back going on a 7-2 run to up their lead to 38-24. Frankfurt continued to look for Alex Richardson who was a brute against the young Giesen big guys making a transition lay in and offensive rebound and put back, while Samare showed again why he is a modern big man hitting a trey. Lischka came back scoring two baskets in a row while Frankfurt got further production inside by Samare and Richardson with lay ins as Frankfurt led 42-30. Frankfurt was displaying fine team basketball as everyone got their touches and also got easy baskets. But Giessen stayed on Frankfurt’s door step keeping pace and cutting down their lead a bit before the break. They got two key baskets from scoring machine Montrael Scott who played the last two seasons in Schwelm and two baskets from NBBL player Finn Doentgens. Frankfurt was able to keep the 50-42 advantage at the break with points from Richardson and Meredith. Both teams had problems from outside shooting a combined 6/25, but from the field were better than 50%. Frankfurt had the slight 17-16 rebound edge. ‘We kept executing pretty well on offense, but lost some intensity on defense allowing more easy baskets’, expressed Matthew Meredith.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors lost more focus and allowed the guests to shortly take their first lead only to lose it again. Frankfurt began well getting a trey form Vasiljevic, but then prompt gave up a Giessen 7-0 run to lead 55-49. In the run, Giessen continued to get clutch game from Johannes Lischka who scored twice as well as a three pointer from German Sebastian Brach (190-G-2002). Frankfurt wanted to get away again and got a mini 5-0 run to lead 58-49 as Alvin Onyia tested his 24% three point percentage scoring and Leonhardt made a pretty back door cut and scored off the Meredith pass. Frankfurt’s defense just wasn’t there anymore as they couldn’t get a double figure lead anymore. Frankfurt then allowed a bitter 12-0 run as some open three’s from Brach and Scott as well as a lay in from 19 year old 216cm center Philipp Keile and free throws from Scott and Schnieder gave Giessen their first lead of the contest 61-60. But Frankfurt rebounded well from their lapse on defense closing out the third quarter with a 8-2 run to regain the lead 69-62. When Frankfurt wants to, they can be a real menace on offense. They have the weapons and used them as Samare nailed another three pointer, Meredith hit a jumper, Obanor a reverse lay up and Richardson a dunk off a perfect lob pass from Meredith. ‘We lost rhythm. Lischka does a good job playing on contact. He really has a good touch. You can try to take some of his moves for your own game’, added Matthew Meredith. ‘It was our last game and we just continued fighting’, said Montrael Scott. Both teams shot over 50% from the field and over 30% from outside while Giessen had taken control of the boards 25-22 and had the 7 to 3 offensive rebound edge.
Montrael Scott at the FT line
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had the lead, but couldn’t put away Giessen properly, but instead allowed them to hang around and bite them in the butt in crunch time. Giessen just continued to chip away at the Frankfurt lead and began with an annoying 8-3 run to trail only 72-70. Lischka was aggressive scoring 6 points with 4 on free throws. Giessen also got a lay in from David Amaize. Frankfurt then got a lay in from Alexander Richardson for the 74-70 advantage. Frankfurt kept the lead briefly Meredith proved he could take responsibility and executed scoring twice giving Frankfurt the 79-74 lead with two minutes to go. It was the last game of the season and Giessen head coach Patrick Unger was bold and sat Lischka and Scott and allowed the kids to take control. And how they did as they put on a show for Lischka and Scott closing out the game in OMG style scoring 10 unanswered points to win the game as Frankfurt scored no more points. Sebastian Brach was the hero scoring 7 points. He began with a lay in which was followed by a vital trey from Tim Schneider to dead lock the game at 79-79. A Meredith miss led to a three by Brach for the 82-79 lead. Brach then followed with an aggressive drive from the baseline and bucket for the 84-79 lead to decide the game. Richardson followed with an and one lay in at the buzzer, but it was too little too late. ‘It was fun to watch the young guys play well. They really showed that they wanted to win. I always told them to play hard and have fun’, warned Montrael Scott. ‘We lost rhythm and our desire at the end. We weren’t disciplined on defense giving up three’s and a lay up’, stated Matthew Meredith. The Depant Giessen 46ers Rackelos were led by Johanes Lischka with 20 points while Sebastian Brach and Montrael Scott added 15 points apiece. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Alexander Richardson with 24 points while Matthew Meredith added 18 points and Jordan Samare 14 points. Giessen shot 48% form the field and 28% from outside and had 37 rebounds and 12 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 49% from the field and 26% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 12 turnovers.