Jason Cain Muscle And Anthony Smith Precision Pace The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven Past The Fraport Skyliners 76-70
For Quantez Robertson coming to play in the northern most Beko BBL city of Bremerhaven to display his mind boggling athletic arsenal has been a joy since he arrived on the scene in Germany in 2009. In his first two encounters in the Eisbaeren cage, he suffered negative experiences losing a nail biter in the regular season 76-74 and game one 78-75 of the 2010 semi final playoff series. However since then the energetic flying Cincinnati kid had left the floor in Bremerhaven as a successful Eisbaeren hunter having won game three 79-53 and the exciting game five 56-52 in 2010 where you could of told a devoted eight year old Eisbaeren fan that Lebron James was outside the Stadthalle with Rihanna and the kid would probably still have followed the ending of the thriller playoff game. Super Tez Robertson also helped contribute to the win last season as Frankfurt rolled by Bremerhaven 71-56 with a typical Dashaun Wood Derrick Rose stat line of 25, 8 and 7. Robertson seldom smiles except for his energy outbursts as he was going for his fourth win in a row in Bremerhaven, but was denied as the Eisbaeren withstood a fourth quarter Skyliner comeback and closed out the game with a 7-0 run winning 76-70 giving Frankfurt sort of a taste of their own medicine as they had let Braunschweig come back last weekend, but saw them lose it in overtime through a clutch Jimmy Mckinney performance. Eisbaeren fan favorite American Torrell Martin is close to making his comeback, but sat out one last time and remembered the Robertson athletic flair two years ago. “I remember how dynamic Tez was in that playoff series two years ago. We both always had great battles. We were always both very aggressive and he elevated my game to new heights. Frankfurt made a comeback at the end tonight2, but we were able to pull it out”, stressed Torrell Martin.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven entered the game in seventh place and were looking for their third win in a row after a huge OT win at home against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig and a scoring blow out win in Giessen last weekend, while the Fraport Skyliners were looking for their second win in a row after an exciting 81-80 OT win against the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig. Frankfurt were looking for their fourth win in a row in Bremerhaven and wanted to regain their old form on defense after they had given up an average of 80 points in the last three games while they had given up only an average of 63 points in the 11 games prior to the last three games. Eisbaeren manager Jan Rathjen was all smiles after the game and it is a wonder at times that he continues to flash that youth and stays free of white or gray on his head despite the Beko BBL getting tighter every year. “It was a very close game. We had two nice leads and both times let them come back. We lost our rhythm in the fourth quarter and you have to be careful because Frankfurt is a team that will take advantage of your mistakes. I give the team credit for winning the game at the end by six points. Every game is important for us for the playoffs. If you relax too much then you can easily lose games”, stressed Bremerhaven manager Jan Rathjen. For the Fraport Skyliners, every win is huge for getting higher up in the standings, but in the end it was the little things that cost them the game. “We battled hard as the game went back and fourth. They made the big plays and were able to slow down our transition”, said Skyliner guard Michael Thompson. Skyliner forward Jacob Burtschi was the tragic hero at the end getting a technical foul and was brief as he was the first to leave the dressing room. “This was a very bitter loss. We fought back, but had bad turnovers and Jason Cain got that big offensive rebound at the end”, stated Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi.
The game took place on a rare Wednesday as only 2390 people wanted to experience the basketball showdown between the Fraport Skyliners and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven. Frankfurt was still without ex NBA player Jermareo Davidson and Justin Gray while Bremerhaven was still resting Torrell Martin who is expected to make his return on the weekend in Ulm. The Fraport Sklyiners came out with a lot of energy something they have displayed on the road the last two months getting some timely three pointers by Jacob Burtschi to get them going early. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven also had their own three point bomber with American Anthony Smith who hit his first two three pointers to keep his club at pace with Frankfurt. Michael Thompson also connected from downtown, but Bremerhaven stayed on the heels of Frankfurt trailing only 19-15 after one quarter. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 54% from the field and 50% from outside while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 50% from the field and 50% from outside. Bremerhaven had the seven to five rebound edge, but already six turnovers while Frankfurt had only three turnovers.
The game remained tight in the first few minutes as Chris Mcnaughton and Jacob Burtschi traded baskets as the Fraport Skyliners led 21-17. However after an average first quarter offensively for Bremerhaven, they finally found their groove now going on a 11-2 run to lead 28-23. Smith continued to give the Skyliners a three point shooting contest nailing twice while quick guard Terrell Everett scored with his left hand inside and American Mike Smith made a finger tip roll in. Frankfurt was relaxing more on defense as the Eisbaeren were getting inside as easily as if they had an open cage door with fishes being flung at them. Despite a enormous dunk by Jason Cain who had no defense staring down his throat, it was St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney who dropped two three point bombs to cut the lead to 30-28. However it was the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven who continued to gain momentum on offense closing out the second quarter with a 13-2 run. Bremerhaven head coach Doug Spradley didn´t hesitate to use his bench and they produced for him. Ex BG Goettingen forward Jermaine Raffington came up huge in this run nailing an untypical three pointer, making a dunk after getting fed by a no look Everett pass and then hitting another jumper. Anthony Smith ended the run with a three pointer for the corner after retrieving a pretty kick out pass from Everett who finished with eight assists. Mckinney scored again with a lay up, but the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven led 43-30 at halftime. “We hit some open shots, but our defense was as good as in the first quarter. We gave them some easy layups. When Bremerhaven gets going on offense, then there defense automatically gets going”, stressed Skyliner sport director Kamil Novak.The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 64% from the field and 75% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 55% from the field and 44% from the three point line. Bremerhaven still led the rebounding duel 12-9, but Frankfurt had turned over the ball eight times in this quarter and had 11 turnovers while Bremerhaven had eight turnovers.
In the third quarter, The Fraport Skyliners continued to attack the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven lead, but every time they were cutting the lead down, Bremerhaven responded with a big shot. The Fraport Skyliners started hot with an 8-2 run to cut down the Bremerhaven lead to 45-38. Mcnaughton started off the quarter with a lay in and then Robertson made a banging dunk. German national player Tim Ohlbrecht got an offensive rebound and put back plus and one while Robertson showed his athletic trot again scoring inside and getting an and one. However the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven figured two can play at that game banging a 7-0 run into the faces of the Skyliners to lead big again 52-38. Mike Smith snuck inside getting an easy lay up on an inbounds pass from Everett, Anthony Smith connected again from the corner and Miami native Zach Peacock hit two free throws. Runs continued to be the name of the third quarter as the Fraport Sklyiners continued never to give up but match the intensity of their opponent going on an important 10-0 run to trail Bremerhaven only 52-48. Thompson started the run with a three pointer seeing no one open going to his left an releasing a three pointer. Then it was Mckinney taking something out of the Pascal Roller handbook of basketball going on the fast break and connecting on a pull up jumper from the three point line something that Roller will probably be able to do in his sleep for the rest of his life. Bremerhaven then hurt Frankfurt inside getting production from their big en Cain and Mcnaughton as a Davidson really was missing inside. Ohlbrecht finished the third quarter with a tip in and the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven led 56-50. “We started off a bit slow. It was a quarter of runs. We didn´t always execute as well as we could as Frankfurt did”, stated Torrell Martin. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 57% from the field and 58% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 49% from the field and 40% from the parking lot. Bremerhaven still had the rebound edge 20-17 and both teams had 13 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven had the lead, but the Fraport Skyliners continued to chip away at the Eisbaeren lead and as the OT period against Braunschweig last weekend belonged to Jimmy Mckinney, the fourth quarter belonged to Devin Gibson as he scored all 11 of his points and looked like a seasoned veteran once again as he had done in Wurzburg and at home against Giessen last month. Gibson scored twice in the first minutes once on a coast to coast fast break an dthen on a set play where he spun around an Eisbaer and finished with a lay up as Frankfurt trailed only 60-54. Alex Gordon and Smith then got to the free throw line and Burtschi connected for a three pointer as Bremerhaven still led 64-57. One phrase that the Fraport Skyliners believe in this season has been “we believe”. With crunch time slowly approaching the Eisbaeren cage cooking and Bremerhaven always dangerous at home, it was Frankfurt that buckled up on defense and on offense cruised out on a 9-2 run to dead lock the game at 66-66. “They put more pressure on us and capitalized on our turnovers”, stressed Torrell Martin. Ohlbrecht scored inside while Gibson made a steal and went coast to coast for the lay up and then made the most strange hoop of the night as his attempted ally-op pass to Ohlbrecht swished into the hoop. Little seen German national player Johannes Herber then made a lay up. Peacock them made a mid distance jumper as Bremerhaven led 68-66. Gibson then sprouting with about as much self confidence as Eli Manning has now as a two time Super Bowl winner hit a jumper tying the game at 68-68. Peacock then had an air ball and Gibson went coast to coast again giving Frankfurt the 70-69 advantage. Peacock then made one of two free throws as Frankfurt still led 70-69. Robertson then had an airball and Anthony Smith hit two free throws as Bremerhaven regained the lead 71-70 and would never look back again. Mckinney then missed a jumper and Cain had the big offensive rebound. “Cain made the big play. I told him that he doesn´t always have to score, but be aggressive and make the plays. It is the same with me, everybody thinks all I do is score, but I like to do it all”, warned Torrell Martin. Anthony Smith then hit two more free throws and Jacob Burtschi was hit with a technical foul which ultimately sealed the win for Bremerhaven. “I was being fouled and I looked over to the ref and told him that and I was hit with technical”, said Jacob Burtschi. “Burtschi had been warned earlier about flopping”, commented Torrell Martin. Alex Gordon ended the game with two free throws as the Fraport Skyliners were so close, but had no cigar at the end. 2Things didn´t go our way at the end. We tried to get good shots, but they didn´t fall. They attacked the hoop and got to the free throw line”, added Michael Thompson.
The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were led by Anthony Smith with 25 points. “I told him before the game to step it up and don’t be afraid to shoot”, added Torrell Martin. Mike Smith chipped in with 12 points and five rebounds. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jimmy Mckinney with 16 points. German national player Tim Ohlbrecht had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Devin Gibson had 12 points. Jacob Burtschi had 11 points and Michael Thompson had 10 points. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven had a hot shooting night with 51% from the field and 50% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were solid form the field at 53%, but let up a bit from outside at 37%. Bremerhaven ruled the boards 27-22 and the points in the paint 32-26 and second chance points 13-6. Frankfurt had problems controlling Cain and Mcnaughton down low, but there biggest strength continues to be there never give up attitude and defense is getting back on par. “We fought hard and played good half court defense and were able to slow them down”, warned Michael Thompson. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven continue to have their goal, the Beko BBL playoffs and will be looking for their fourth win in a row in Ulm this weekend. “The offensive boards were big tonight and limiting their easy baskets. Our big men played very well. Chris Mcnaughton is one of the best centers in the league. He continues to fight for position even when he doesn´t get it right away”, stressed Torrell Martin. The Fraport Skyliners host FC Bayern Munich February 18th at 20:00.