It is always nice to see old familiar faces of the Fraport Skyliners family return back to the Fraport arena or the BCM training facility after having given their services to the club. Many years ago one could remember Jonathan Mesghina seeing action in a ULEB cup game and then he fled to the United States to further his basketball career and did something very unusual playing for four colleges in four years with Central Wyoming(JUCO), North Dakota State(JUCO), Maine(NCAA) and last but not least the university of Montana-Billings(NCAA2) where he played at the old stomping ground of ex TV Langen sniper Marcus Hallgrimsen. Mesghina has come to start his professional basketball career with the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau and is joined by another ex Skyliner faithful with experienced basketball teacher Steven Clauss who had been an assistant twice back in the early 2000´s and with Murat Didin in the 2007-2008 season where eating the Kebab Doner became a regularity with the Turkish head coach and recently coached the NBBL team of the Fraport Skyliners. Both Clauss and Mesghina were back in the BCM and were trying to get the Hanau basketball team back into winning ways after the team started 0-5 with Ty Shaw and since the coach change are 1-1. However Hanau met a very hungry Fraport Skyliners Juniors team that had won their last four games and Clauss had to do without the usual Murat Didin Kebab Doner lunch and possibly had a lunch box lunch wrapped up for him nicely to transport that extra dosage of verbal energy, but the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau didn´t need an extra burst of energy, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors could have used the Murat Didin Kebab Doner with extra meat because they were run over by the guest 74-56. After the game, Steven Clauss had a big smile on his face as the Hanau savior has led his team to two wins in his first three games and what sweeter way then to get a big win in his old living room. “I told the guys before the game that this was once my second living room. I worked here for seven years and then came back for another three years. It was great seeing many friends as well as kids I taught before. It was good to win against friends”, stated Hanau head coach Steven Clauss. Jonathan Mesghna was also all smiles after the win and he took some time to reflect on his time in Frankfurt many years ago before his four year stay in the States. “It was good to be back. I remembered every part of this gym. I spent a year working in the Skyliners office so I saw the gym every day. I was able to practice here as well and it was good for my development”, stated Jonathan Mesghna. Frankfurt had their four game winning streak snapped, but were also without their top players Max Merz and Johannes Richter. “We didn´t have enough power at the start. We didn´t defend the way we should of giving them easy rebounds and baskets. On offense we didn´t get into our sets and often the shot clock was down. When you get down by much against a good team then it is difficult to come back. We should of played calm the way we did in the last minutes”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Lennart Okeke. Hanau is slowly coming together and despite having such a talented offensive team, they want to be also known for their defense. “Defense, defense, defense was key to the win. We gave up eight points in the first quarter and that was our foundation for the win. We let up in the end, but all in all, we played very well keeping them to 56 points”, commented ex Montana-Billings(NCAA2) guard Jonathan Meshna.
Despite being without Max Merz and Johannes Richter, the Fraport Skyliners didn´t let this unlucky misfortune put a damper in their start as they stormed out on a mini 4-0 run as Stefan Ilzhoefer scored on the fast break getting a perfect feed from Kyle Fossman and Tim Oldenburg finished with a two handed dunk. For a minute it seemed like the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau were scratching their heads in disbelief, but they quickly forgot the spurt of energy that Frankfurt had started with and increased their intensity which helped their offense get going. Hanau went out on a 13-2 run to lead 13-6. Hanau was moving the ball well and just got production from four different players. German 26 year old Joleik Schaffrath gave Frankfurt an early impression that the paint wasn´t going to be their stomping ground as he got inside easy for a reverse lay up. Mesghna also did damage inside scoring as did Cardell Mcfarland while German sharp shooter Christian von Fintel tested his 22% three point shooting percentage seeing nothing but net. Schaffrath scored again inside as American Cory Copperwood found him for an easy bucket. Hanau was defending very well and had Frankfurt reeling on offense as it took them much time before they got into their sets as the shot clock was often near the end. After Canadian Kyle Fossman put a dent into the run with a pull up jumper, it was Cooperwood who played at Wright State with current Phoenix Hagen forward Todd Brown ending the first quarter with two consecutive buckets as the Hebeisen White Wings Hanau led 17-8. “We started off playing very aggressive defense that Frankfurt didn´t come to terms with. But one can´t forget that Frankfurt had some players out and they had an average age of about 20 years old. You could see early that we had advantages in many area´s”, said injured Hanau forward Tobias Jahn. The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau were shooting 62% from the field and 20% from the field while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 29% from the field and 0% from outside. Hanau had the 9-8 rebound edge and six turnovers while Frankfurt had seven turnovers.
The Hebesien White Wings Hanau didn´t let up, but kept up their intensity and their offensive flow was still there as the Fraport Skyliners were still trying to recover from their weak first quarter, but Hanau didn´t let Frankfurt get into the game going on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 26-10. In the run, Hanau was able to continue their dominance in the paint as they scored four times. Cooperwood started the run with a tough turnaround shot in traffic, Schaffrath continued his unspectacular, but consistent play in the paint with a turnaround shot, Mcfarland scored inside and ex BG Goettingen guard Aron Donkor hit a mid distance jumper. Frankfurt had very little resistance inside as Hanau was getting inside and scoring as easily as German national goal keeper Manuel Neuer can be the teams extra defender in the back and coming out and clearing away balls. Frankfurt also had had some extra misfortune getting to well accustomed to touching the line in the corner forcing a turnover upon themselves three times. However basketball wouldn´t be basketball without the game of runs that the Fraport Skyliners were able to capitalize on going on a 8-0 run to cut the Hanau lead to 28-18. On the run, Frankfurt got needed production from Lennart Okeke and Nicolai Vukovic who connected on three pointers bringing a little momentum to the home team. However Frankfurt couldn´t sustain this momentum as Hanau showed just how explosive they can be when they are having a weak moment and scored in bunches as ex Nordlingen top scorer from last season Cardell Mcfarland who played with ex medi Bayreuth forward Kyle Weems at Missouri State hit a in your face three jumper against German Jamin Knothe and Cooperwood hit a jumper. Mcfarland hit free throws and Fossmann ended the second quarter with a bomb from outside, but Hanau led 35-21. “We did a good job getting the ball inside even more in the second quarter. We were able to undercover many weak spots in the game of Frankfurt in the second quarter”, stressed Tobias Jahn who played three seasons with current Phoenix Hagen forward Larry Gordon at Cal Poly Pomona(NCAA). The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau were shooting 60% from the field and 25% from the three point line while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were shooting 32% from the field and 25% from the three point line. Hanau had the 18-14 rebound advantage and 11 turnovers while Frankfurt had 15 turnovers.
In the third quarter, the Hebeisen White Wings came out of the locker room and kept up their dominance extending their lead even more winning the quarter with 25-12. Hanau was the run king of the afternoon as they went on another crushing run of 11-2 to extend their lead to 46-23 as Frankfurt continued to be able to muster very little on offense. Schaffrath continued to be a nasty thorn in the side of Frankfurt as he could do what he pleased inside as no defender was able to match his intensity or aggressiveness. He scored three buckets in the run including two inside and one on the transition as American Cardell Mcfarland got the dime. After a Tim Oldenburg mid distance jumper, Hanau went on their next devastating run of 10-2 to further up their commanding lead to 56-27 as the win was as good as sealed here. Hanau continued to play superb inside out team basketball as their offense was just in the flow. Mesghna nailed a three pointer and Cooperwood scored on the fast break. Schaffrath scored two more times inside as there was no Skyliner on this day that was able to rudely kick him out of the zone. In the last minute, Frankfurt got some added production from Fossman and Armin Musovic in form of jumpers, but Hanau led very comfortably with 60-33. “Coach Clauss told us at halftime to keep the focus up that not get overconfident. We didn´t want to let the game get tight again so we continued to let the ball flow, hit our open shots and our big man got points inside”, added Hanau guard Jonathan Mesghna. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 61% from the field and 31% from the parking lot while the Fraport Skyliners were shooting 31% from the field and 21% from the parking lot. Hanau had the overwhelming 32-17 rebound edge and 14 turnovers while Frankfurt had 17 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the game stayed even, but on account of the gigantic Hanau lead, Frankfurt was unable to make any serious ground despite a run at the start and at the end. When Frankfurt did make that run to end the game with a 12-0 run it was too little to late. Skyliner forward Tim Oldenburg started off the fourth quarter with perhaps the prettiest basket with a quick spin move that made Cory Cooperwood look like a lost farmer in Arkansas that had forgotten what field his crop was on as that was the start of a Frankfurt 9-3 run. Frankfurt played some high spirited basketball in this run getting out on the break something they hadn´t really been able to do earlier in the game. Fossman continued the run with a three pointer and then also scored on the fast break as did Oldenburg as Hanau still led 63-42. After Sebastian Kohnert and Fossman traded buckets, Hanau did their last damage of the evening going on an 8-0 run to extend their lead to 74-44 as Kohnert connected again on a jumper and Cooperwood and ex Nordlingen center Josef Eichler who played 17 Beko BBL games hit three pointers. The Fraport Skyliners ended the game in strong fashion with a 12-0 run as Hanau walked off the court with a 74-56 win. In the run everything worked for Frankfurt while Hanau might already have been thinking if they were going to get to the sports bar in time to check out the German Bundesliga game of the night at 18:30. Oldenburg led the Frankfurt 12-0 run with three buckets as he was twice served with perfect passes on a silver platter from 17 year old 2014 NBBL rookie of the year Niklas Kiel. Vukovic also dropped a pull up jumper and Jamin Knothe hit a three pointer to end the game. “We have to know that we can always play the way we did at the end even if a Merz or Richter aren´t playing. We lost today, because we weren´t ready at the start. This loss reminded me off the loss in Iserlohn, because we weren´t there mentally. Maybe we weren´t focused the way we should of seeing the opponent having the bad record. We have to learn to react when we aren´t playing well. We need to learn from these mistakes and play better next weekend”, stressed Fraport Skyliner Niklas Kiel. The Hebeisen White Wings Hanau were led by American Cory Cooperwood with 18 points, nine rebounds and four assists. Joleik Schaffrath contributed 17 points and nine rebounds while Cardell Mcfarland had 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Tim Oldenburg with 17 points while Kyle Fossman steered 12 points. Hanau shot 54% from the field and 35% from outside while Frankfurt shot 39% from the field and 28% from outside. Hanau destroyed Frankfurt on the boards 41-29, but had 19 turnovers while Frankfurt had 18 turnovers. Hanau head coach Steven Clauss likes what he has seen from his team since he has arrived and sees their direction going up up up. “We are finding our way slowly. The team is slowly finding their self confidence something they didn´t have in the first five games. Our goal is going to the playoffs. We have to take it week by week and get wins and always play a little better each week”, warned Hanau head coach Steven Clauss.