It was certainly no poor performance by BBC COBURG on the road against Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the final game of the regular season in the ProB 2nd German Basketball League. After putting on an impressive fighting display, Coburg nevertheless lost 76:73 to the strong side from Hesse – largely as a result of nuances and minimal differences in quality.
For example in the opening period, which the home side took by 18:10 and in which top talents Isaac Bonga and Richard Freudenberg were missing, although Niklas Kiel – another talent with potential for a future in the NBA – was on court. The visitors were without Yasin Turan, Matthias Fichtner and Sinan Özdil through injury. If the shots from beyond the arc by Jordan Burris, which had previously drained two threes, and Eividas Molosciakas had dropped after dancing around the hoop, BBC Coburg would at least have been on equal terms and rewarded for its plucky opening spell.
In the second quarter, Head Coach Derrick Taylor resorted to zone defense, which initially worked well, irritating the young home side and forcing it to concede turnovers, which in particular the BBC’s guard Byron Sanford capitalized on with four straight points to reduce the deficit. The club from Upper Franconia perhaps stuck too long to its change in defensive tactic and Frankfurt managed to crack it with buckets from downtown by Cosmo Grühn. All the same, BBC COBURG could have gone in at half-time trailing by a small margin, but Burris’ buzzer-beating three with plenty of contact was disallowed for a foul.
The visitors played with a lot of energy and intensity after the break. Sanford twice drove to the board after a rapid first step, then an impressive give and go between Max von der Wippel and Molosciakas and a successful half-distance jump shot from Steffen Walde put BBC COBURG ahead for the first time since the start of the game after 25 minutes (41:42). That was followed by a key scene: After another turnover against the Skyliners (Coburg made a total of 16 steals), Burris decided, despite the other side being outnumbered, to finish the fast break with a three from the corner and missed. Frankfurt then went on to produce an 11:2 run, which von der Wippel merely curbed with a hook throw at the end of the quarter.
In the final period, BBC COBURG cut the gap to one point again with a lay-up by Molosciakas and four free throws by von der Wippel (60:59). Whereas the league newcomers now made a string of poor decisions, the team of Fraport’s Head Coach Sebastian Gleim demonstrated its greater individual class and pulled away to 69:50 thanks to buckets from downtown by the British youth international Jules Akodo and Kiel, who had been almost inconspicuous up to then. Eight straight points by Burris rekindled hope among the BBC fans, who outnumbered and were more vociferous than their counterparts, but Kiel and his side managed to chalk up the Juniors’ 13th win of the season from the foul line.
That means the position going into the playdowns has not become any easier for Coburg. Since Würzburg was able to win in Schwelm, the BBC has slipped to 11th in the table.