Chris Ensminger Doesn´t Need A Lawnmower Mowing Down The Fraport Skyliners 81-62 Into Summer Vacation
Sometimes winning on foreign soil can be as difficult for a Beko BBL team as it is for singer Chris Brown to sell cute pit bulls or ex professional baseball/football player Deion Sanders not being able to somehow weave away from from wife who jumped him in a domestic dispute as teams like the New Yorker Phantoms Braunschweig have had almost a 10 year win less drought in Frankfurt and the Fraport Skyliners seemingly being jinxed in Bamberg for many years until finally winning again in the 2010 Beko BBL playoff series. The last time that the Fraport Skyliners won in Bonn, George Bush junior was still president, Kevin Durant was still in high school, Lebron James was in his second season with the Cavaliars and Murat Didin was in Frankfurt for his first tenure leading the Bermuda triangle to success. The last win in Bonn was 87 months ago as Chris Williams poured in 27 points ad hauled down 16 rebounds in the old Hartberg gym on January 1st, 2005. Since the win, the Fraport Skyliners have lost five times in the old gym and three times in the new Telekom dome arena and with the do or die game on the line, Jimmy Mckinney was trying to bring some luck after registering his best scoring game with 28 points against the Walter Tigers Tuebingen last weekend which took him five years to best after scoring 22 points in Karlsruhe, the American was hoping to end the long losing drought in Bonn with his production, but instead the Telekom Baskets Bonn didn´t want to go into summer vacation just yet as they wore down the Fraport Skyliners winning their 8th game in a row against Frankfurt rather convincingly 81-62. Even with one minute to play and the game seemingly lost, Mckinney was still yelling commands at his teammates as if the game could still be won showing that giving up is never in his game plan or is his knowledge of past misfortune in the former German capital. “I had no idea that I had never won here, but it is always tough to play here, because the crowd helps them out a lot”, stressed St Louis native Jimmy Mckinney. Bonn head coach Michael Koch has never lost to Frankfurt at home and was also surprised about the positive record the last years. “I also had no idea that we have had their number. I do remember the two wins at home in the 2008 playoffs, but to be honest if we had been more stable during the season, we wouldn´t have had to come it come down to seeing if Frankfurt could finally win again here if we had played better during the season”, warned Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach Michael Koch. “I don´t believe that Frankfurt is jinxed here. You can´t believe in a curse anymore when you have been a Red Sox fan as long as I have”, smiled Tony Gaffney.
In a do or die game, there is always going to be a very unhappy loser at the end, but it was most vital that the Telekom Baskets win the game since missing the playoffs for a second straight season would have been more than bitter. It was a total team effort, but it was Beko BBL veteran Chris Ensminger who showed again why he is probably the best 38 professional basketball player that has ever walked the face of the earth as he led the Telekom Baskets Bonn with 23 points on 10/15 shooting and five rebounds. He showed time in and time out that ex NBA player Jermareo Davidson was dog meat making the American look more like 38 while he was strutting his Ohio basketball talent like a 28 year old mowing down the opponent with a basketball instead with a lawn mower. “I was never athletic, so even now in my old age, I can´t say that I have lost my athletcism. I am probably fitter now than when I came out of college. I just have a lot of experience taking care of my body and just try to help my team win with defense, rebounding and scoring in the low post”, added two time Beko BBL champion Chris Ensminger. Jimmy Mckinney has played against Ensminger for six seasons and knew that he was the spark that fueled his team. “Ensminger could do what he wanted to. He got his team going”, added Jimmy Mckinney. “Ensminger looked like a man among boys tonight. He did a great job keeping Frankfurt off the glass. Chris and I always talk before the game and our goal is always to be the two best big men on the court”, warned Bonn forward Tony Gaffney. “Our goal was it to get the ball inside. I told him before the game that he should take 12-15 shots and at the end it was 15 shots that he took. We followed his lead which made the team successful”, added 2007 NBA draft pick Jared Jordan. It wasn´t only Ensminger that brought success, but also some other factors. “Our game plan was to get the ball inside. We got many easy buckets and it was our best defensive game of the year. Important was that we started strong at each quarter just staying calm”, stated Telekom Baskets Bonn head coach Michael Koch.
For the Fraport Skyliners, reaching the Beko BBL playoffs four months ago was about as realistic as Jermareo Davidson playing for Phoenix Hagen next season as the team was in 17th place at Christmas.
The team found their groove and won games with their strong defense allowing 59 points in a ten game span before the Tuebingen game, but ran out of gas in the last two games averaging giving up 84 points. “We had no more power in the last two games. We had lost the level that we had in the big wins against Munich and Bamberg”, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Muli Katzurin. Both teams were at the same level after one quarter, but in the second quarter, the Telekom Baskets Bonn started to defend better and Frankfurt just lost their rhythm and never recovered. “This was the worst game to choose to have a bad day. They turned it up in the second quarter and we were never able to rebound. We were soft as a team on defense. They bullied us, got every loose ball and tip outs. We had beaten top teams like Bamberg and Munich, but when it came down to the last game and 40 minutes, we didn´t show up to play. Bonn just wanted it more than we did”, warned ex Phoenix Hagen forward Jacob Burtschi. “I also think that we wanted to win more. After the bitter loss in Braunschweig, we showed a lot of Mental toughness. We were focused from the start and carried it through out the game”, said ex Boston Celtic Tony Gaffney. Not having point guard Michael Thompson in the rotation for the second straight game hurt the team. “We really could of used Juice tonight. His three pointer could of helped and giving Devin Gibson some time to rest also would of helped”, expressed Skyliner Quantez Robertson.
Interesting things seen on the court before the jump ball was along conversation by young Germans Danilo Barthel and Jonas Wohlfarth-Bottermann, and a beautiful giant Marius Nolte banner that the Frankfurt fans had over the runway entrance for the players. The Fraport Skyliners were without Beko BBL rookie Michael Thompson for a second straight game and the Telekom Dome arena was sold out wanting to see which team would seal the ticket for the playoffs. The Telekom Baskets Bonn got off to the hotter start leading quickly 9-4 as they tested the Fraport Skyliners inside as Beko BBL dino Chris Ensminger scored twice over German national player Tim Ohlbrecht and Tony Gaffney showed his versatile play making like a guard and running the break and finishing with a dunk and nailing a three pointer. However it wasn´t only the Telekom Baskets Bonn that found their rhythm quickly, but also the Fraport Skyliners who retaliated with a 7-0 run to lead 11-9. Skyliner American Jacob Burtschi found Skyliner captain Marius Nolte with a no look pass for the lay up, then dropped a three pointer and Robertson fed Nolte for another lay up. Both teams then traded baskets as Robertson dunked after being fed by Nolte who returned the favor and Jared Jordan tested his 37% three point shooting with a bomb and the 15-13 lead. Then it was time for the Jermareo Davidson show as he hit four shots including twice without even hesitating and just firing like a Jessie James double, but the Telekom Baskets Bonn still had the lead after the first quarter 23-21. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 56% from the field and 60% from outside while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 67% from the field and 33% from outside. Both teams had seven rebounds a piece and Bonn two turnovers and Frankfurt three turnovers.
The turning point in the game came in the second quarter where the Telekom Baskets Bonn were able to take the first big run of the game and never looked back. After Jacob Burtschi and Jonas Wohlfarth-Botterman exchanged buckets to knot the game at 25-25, the Fraport Skyliners started to get costly turnovers and give up easy baskets letting Bonn go on a 10-2 run and get the 35-27 lead. Davidson was unable to handle an easy pass which led to a Benas Veikalis lay up and 27-25 Bonn lead and they would never relinquish the lead again. Young German Andrej Magold played some give and go with Tony Gaffney resulting in a dunk by the American. Veikalis then scored inside as no help defense was in sight and then it was Mangold again as the Koch substitution paid off as he forced a goaltending and then made an off balance shot falling to his right which had more to do with luck. Bonn then played their typical basketball style taken after the British soccer style of kick and rush as Jordan threw the ball up to the rim and Ensminger caught it and got an easy put back for the 37-28 lead. After a Robertson jumper, it was time for Bonn show time to erupt as Jordan and Gaffney connected for another ally-op giving Bonn the 39-30 lead. “My legs say that that was our 400th ally-op, but that was one of our best of the season. We just have a knack for each other and always know where the other is”, added Tony Gaffney. “I have the easy job, but Tony has the hard job getting the ball and putting it away. He is always there to get the pass. That might have been our 100th ally-op this season”, joked Jared Jordan. “Gaffney isa heck of an athlete and a tough cover. He showed how swift he can be”, warned Jacob Burtschi. Veikalis closed out the second quarter with a lay in as the Telekom Baskets Bonn led comfortably 42-30 at halftime. “We were a little over hyped in the first quarter, but coach told us that we had been playing well and just needed to calm down which we did and helped our game”, stressed Tony Gaffney. “We had problems getting back on transition. We had problems controlling the tempo and getting off the right shots”, said Skyliner point guard Michael Thompson. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 58% from the field and 43% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 45% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Bonn had the 20-13 rebound advantage and seven turnovers while Frankfurt had six turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Telekom Baskets Bonn were able to extend their lead while the Fraport Skyliners continued to fight, but couldn´t get stops or get a sufficient run on offense. The Telekom Baskets Bonn went on a quick 10-5 run to lead 52-35. Ensminger scored twice inside and Jermareo Davidson continued to struggle with the fakes and old school moves. Veikalis also showed his quickness from the baseline scoring twice as the defense continued to be lax. The Fraport Skyliners then showed some daylight jumping out on a 5-0 run to cut the Bonn lead to 52-40. Gibson who was trying to conserve his energy scored on a tough penetration drive finishing with his left hand high off the glass. Mckinney who has been known to get hot in the second half scored on a pull up jumper. Instead of increasing their run and getting more stops, the Telekom Baskets Bonn retaliated with their own 5-0 run and leading 57-40 after three quarters. Ensminger scored with his patent hook shot over Davidson and Gaffney showed again why dunking belongs to his specialties on the basketball court as he caught the Frankfurt defense once again having communication problems. “They set the tone right away in the third quarter with two offensive rebounds and the basket”, stressed Jacob Burtschi. “They played good defense. It was always an uphill battle for us. It was easier for them to defend, because their offense was working. It was tough not getting buckets and having to keep up”, said Jimmy Mckinney. The Telekom Baskets Bonn were shooting 50% from the field and 23% from the parking lot while the Fraport Sklyiners were shooting 43% from the field and 20% from the parking lot. Bonn had the 31-20 rebound edge and only eight turnovers while Frankfurt had 10 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Telekom Baskets Bonn were able to close out the game while extending their league and never allowing the Fraport Skyliners to be any kind of a threat except for three minor 5-0 runs. Gaffney started off the fourth quarter with an ally-op dunk from big man Chris Ensminger. “I don´t know where that ally-op came from, but Ensminger sees the floor so well and is a good passer for a big man”, expressed Tony Gaffney. The Fraport Skyliners then went on the first of their two 5-0 runs as Burtschi scored with a penetration lay up and Davidson hit a fade away jumper as Bonn still led 59-45. The Fraport Skyliners continued to be inconsistent on defense as they allowed the Telekom Baskets Bonn to speed out on a 11-2 run and 70-47 lead pretty much deciding the game there. Jordan started the run with a three pointer from the top of the key and then quietly Talor Battle scored three consecutive buckets as he would connect for 10 points in the last quarter. Battle was the little version of Ensminger in that he could pretty much do whatever he wanted with his 183cm scoring on the penetration three times getting bye a tired Gibson, getting a back door pass from Jordan and then scoring again. The Fraport Skyliners seemed to have one last breath of air as Davidson took the team on a 5-o run scoring on a jumper and lay in as Bonn still led 72-52. After another Battle lay in, Frankfurt went on their last 5-0 run as Robertson hit a pull up jumper and Mckinney gave the 350 plus Frankfurt fans one last hope for a comeback with a jumper as Frankfurt trailed only 72-57 with three minutes to play. However Bonn slammed the door shut on the Skyliners season with a back breaking 7-0 run to lead 79-57 as Simonas Serapinas who had been kept quiet hit a three pointer, Ensminger scored inside again and Battle finished with a reverse lay up. With a minute to go, Robertson dunked and Mckinney finished the season with a three pointer. “Our goal was to sit and play defense for 40 minutes. We have had a tendency to let down in the second half, but we played well on defense and rebounded well”, said Jared Jordan. Bonn stepped it up in the paint which set the tone for them”, added Jimmy Mckinney. “ We wanted to put Davidson, Ohlbrecht and Nolte in pick and roll situations letting Jordan pick them apart”, stressed Tony Gaffney.
The Telekom Baskets Bonn were led by Chris Ensminger with 23 points. Tony Gaffney produced 14 points and 12 rebounds. Jared Jordan contributed with 13 points and six assists. Benas Veikalis chipped in with 12 points and Talor Battle with 10 points. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jermareo Davidson with 18 points and eight rebounds. Jimmy Mckinney added 13 points and Quantez Robertson 11 points. Both teams were weak from outside shooting below 30%, but Bonn hurt Frankfurt the most on the boards with the 37-29 rebound advantage and 56-26 scoring in the paint. Bonn also did a super job not giving Frankfurt extra chances on offense kepping their turnovers down to eight. “We lost the season in the first 11 games. We had an uphill battle from the start, but what I will remember the most from this season is that we fought until the end and never gave up. I want to stay in Frankfurt”, stressed Jimmy Mckinney. For the Telekom Baskets Bonn, they have reached the Beko BBL playoffs, but now have a date with the mighty Brose Baskets Bamberg. “We started their run two years ago by losing 0-3 in the playoffs with Bonn. We won´t lay down, but we will fight. We will have to keep it close and then see what happens. It is always nice playing in Bamberg again and seeing old friends”, added Chris Ensminger.