It is hard to believe how fast time flies and it has been almost two years since the last game that Muli Katzurin coached with the Fraport Skyliners and after two seasons with little success, he saved his best for last helping save the 2004 BBL champion from having to move down a level with a 77-72 do or die win against Ludwigsburg where that seasons most lethal weapon Zach Peacock scored 20 points. In his first season the club just missed making the playoffs with a last game loss in Bonn as his defensive approach to the game and style helped the team gain some huge home wins against FC Bayern Munich and Bamberg back to back holding them combined to an average of 58 points. His second season was a season to forget as the club got used to losing and almost had to settle to beg the league for a wildcard had they lost against Ludwigsburg. The whole two year tenure seemed like a misunderstanding as he had been traded during the summer of 2011 with then Skyliner head coach Gordon Herbert to Alba Berlin. Katzurin definitely had an amazing resume having coached the national team of Israel, won a polish title and led top Czech team CEZ Basketball Nymburk to 8 titles in four years with the league and cup wins. He may of already been noticed by manager Gunnar Wobke in the summer of 2008 where he and CEZ Basketball Nymburk played an exhibition game against Frankfurt. He was the total opposite of another Israel head coach Pini Gershon who could be called the Bobby Knight of Europe who even gets carried away in pre season as he threatened to stop an exhibition game between Frankfurt and top Euroleague club Olympiacos Pireus in 2006 in the training facility in Frankfurt. Off the court and outside the locker room Katurin is a quiet gentleman who reminds one of Star Wars character Obi Wan Kenobi sneaking around arena´s the same way the Star Wars figure was looking to turn off the force field of the Death Star. After leaving Frankfurt he took a year off and this season coached Bnei Hertzeliyya (Winner League) before moving to the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven (Germany-BBL) in February coming in as a sort of fireman to help save a sinking ship. Since his arrival the club has played a lot better and have a 3-4 record. Katzurin returned back to Frankfurt since almost two years ready to battle his old team and ex players like Quantaz Robertson, Jacob Burtschi and the German big three of Barthel, Voigtmann and Klein, but had a long 6 hour bus ride to Bremerhaven most likely having many Jacob Burtschi three pointers in his head trying to figure out why his team couldn´t make better adjustments as the Fraport Skyliners rolled by Bremerhaven 88-79 courtesy of 10 Burtschi three pointers. Burtschi had taken extra shooting with Gordon Herbert son Daniel on Wednesday and was two short of the BBL record of Huel Beechum which he set back in 1998. Burtschi didn´t need an ocean, but had a second Lake Burtschi on the court in Frankfurt which is also present in his home town Chickasha was making shots at ease as if he was shooting into a lake at close range, was happy to play against his old coach Muli Katzurin again and grind out the win at the end. “I have never hit this many three pointers. It must be close to my birthday, but that is still a few months away. I had a regular meal before and nothing special. The basket got bigger and bigger the more I hit. It was like throwing into Lake Burtschi back home. Lake Burtschi is a man made Lake where you can fish. My great uncle helped make it, but passed away so they named it after him. It was nice seeing Muli again. He really has made the team better since his arrival. I know that he wasn´t happy with this result. He likes grind out games, but it was high scoring something he doesn´t like. It was an up and down game where we controlled the first half and they made a run at the end of the third and start of the fourth. We took care of business in the last three minutes”, stressed Oklahoma native Jacob Burtschi. Burtschi stole the show from Bremerhaven forward Moses Ehambe who shot over 40% from outside wherever he played from 2005-2012 and many have called him the best shooter in the world finished with 17 points and tipped his hat from one shooter to the next. “What the heck did Burtschi do tonight? When it rains it pours. I know what it feels like when you throw a rock into an ocean and that was the kind of night he had. We could of keyed in more on him”, stressed ex ORU(NCAA) forward Moses Ehambe. TV Langen forward Martinis Woody had a fist row seast and saw the damage Burtschi did wasn´t surprised. “He hit nothing the last game and was due for a big game. The hole was like an ocean for him. When you start to feel it, it is hard to stop you. The way he felt and was throwing he had that unstoppable feeling that everything would go in”, added South Carolina native Martinis Woody. “Burtschi had good looks early and then had the flood gates on. He made open shots and later contested shots and shots beyond NBA range and he just let us pay”, expressed ex Giessen 46er guard Lorenzo Williams.
After having a dismal showing on Tuesday where under 3000 patrons saw a spectacular 2 overtime win, fans sold out the Fraport Arena as 5,000 people were on hand opting to skip Let´s Dance on TV and spend a Friday night at the basketball game. The Fraport Skyliners had Danilo Barthel back in action after missing two months. Many current Giessen 46ers also were on hand to watch Myles Hesson who had played with Giessen last season with guys like TJ Dileo, Cameroun Wells, Eric Palm, Jonathan Malou or Achmadschah Zazai.The Eisbaeren got out on a hot start as they led 5-0 as Lorenzo Williams dropped a three pointer as ex Dayton(NCAA) center Devin Searcy ended the pick and roll with Williams with a lay in. However Jacob Burtschi didn´t waste any time as he found his range and Lake Burtschi early nailing consecutive three pointers as Frankfurt took the 7-5 advantage. The first quarter would have seven lead changes and Burtschi and the other “every basket is like an ocean” Moses Ehambe exchanged buckets as Burtschi nailed consecutive three pointers three and four and Ehambe hit a jumper and trey, but Frankfurt still led 13-12. Bremerhaven regained the lead 14-13 with a mini 4-0 run as Searcy ended the fast break with a dunk after getting fed by Myles Hesson and ex Boston College forward Jake O´Brien scored inside. The leads kept changing as quickly as Quantez Robertson can go coast to coast as Johannes Voigtmann scored inside and Ehambe remained hot making a jumper for the Bremerhaven 16-15 lead as his pregame hot salt bath did wonders. However just when you thought nobody could top the 12 first quarter points of Burtschi, it was Brooklyn native Sean Armand that came out of nowhere making a close game into a bigger lead for Frankfurt scoring 8 consecutive points with two three pointers. Hesson closed out the first quarter with a free throw, but Frankfurt led 23-17. “The scoring of Frankfurt didn´t surprise me as they came out firing after their 2 overtime loss. We all know that Burtschi can shoot. He got early looks and got hot”, stressed Rialto, California native Andrew Bock. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 62% from the field and 60% from outside while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were shooting 58% from the field and 67% from outside. Frankfurt had the 6-4 rebound edge and both teams had three turnovers a piece.
There was a span in the second quarter where the Fraport Skyliners led by 11 points, but could never totally shake off Bremerhaven as they fought back, and trailed 46-39 at halftime. Bremerhaven started the second quarter with a quick 6-2 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 25-23 as O´Brien scored inside, ex NBA player Deandre Liggins snuck by the Frankfurt transition defense going coast to coast for a lay in and 221cm giant Nick Schneiders hit a jumper. Mike Morrison made a massive two handed dunk off an Armand feed. The Bremerhaven run didn´t seem to annoy the Frankfurt rhythm as they heightened their game with a 11-2 run to extend their lead to 36-25. Frankfurt continued to sharpen their three point percentage as Konstantin Klein, Justin Cobbs and Sean Armand drilled fr0m outside and Voigtmann scored off a broken play inside. Frankfurt was doing a good job clogging the lane and Bremerhaven had little movement on offense which resulted in low percentage shots. Bremerhaven didn´t allow Frankfurt to totally break away, but continued to chip away at the Frankfurt lead and went on a 12-5 run to cut the Frankfurt lead to 41-37. Bremerhaven had no clue how to stop Burtschi as he continued to plug away from outside, but it was ex Ulm forward Hesson that was a big factor in this run and comeback. Hesson hit a three pointer and captivating circus shot as he grabbed a lob pass from Liggins and somehow finished between three Skyliners in the lane. Searcy contributed to the run with a lay in. Frankfurt closed out the second quarter with a 5-2 run as it was Burtschi again hitting another timely three pointer and then scoring inside tipping in his own miss on the second chance. “Bremerhaven picked it up in the middle part of the quarter while Burtschi buried a three at the end. Bremerhaven did a good job cutting inside and getting some and ones. Bremerhaven tried to key in on Armand and Burtschi, but they kept hitting shots”, added ex Pacific(NCAA) point guard Andrew Bock. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 53% from the field and 58% from the three point line while Bremerhaven was shooting 56% from the field and 43% from the three point line. Frankfurt had the 14-12 rebound edge and five turnovers while Bremerhaven had six turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners led by as much as 18 points, but once again were unable to close out the quarter strong letting Bremerhaven back into the game and only trailed by 11 points after 30 minutes. In the first few minutes, both teams traded buckets as Voigtmann scored twice inside and Searcy made free throws and Hesson made a runner as Frankfurt led 50-43. Frankfurt then continued the three point party going on a 9-3 run to extend their lead to 62-48 as Burtschi connected on two three pointers and Canadian national player Aaron Doornekamp dropped a three pointer. After a Hesson runner in traffic, it was Burtschi again connecting on a three pointer as Bremerhaven trailed 68-50. Bremerhaven closed out the third quarter strong going on a 8-2 run to trail Frankfurt only 70-59. A positive aspect on this night was that Breemrhaven didn´t have many lengthy lulls in their offense. In the run, it was Ehambe and Hesson that supplied the fire power. “We did get back in the game at the end, but weren´t tough on defense and Burtschi kept hurting us”, stressed Bremerhaven forward Myles Hesson. “We came out with a lot of energy and Burtschi continued to be hot”, added Justin Cobbs. “We had many mental errors. We knew that they were shooting hot, but didn´t key in on them. They made us pay with their shooting”, added ex Rice(NCAA) guard Lorenzo Williams. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 51% from the field and 53% from the parking lot while Bremerhaven was shooting 57% from the field and 55% from the parking lot. Frankfurt had the 21-18 rebound edge. Frankfurt had nine turnovers and Bremerhaven had 11 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter, the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven made a huge run to regain the lead, but then it was Justin Cobbs again who took command leading the Fraport Skyliners to another crunch time victory. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven continued their run which they had started at the end of the third quarter going on a 16-4 run to recapture the lead 75-74 as the Fraport arena got very quiet. Bremerhaven got production from many different heads, but most production came from Moses Ehambe who was in the shadow of the amazing Burtschi show, but amassed seven points in the run drilling a three pointer, hitting a catch and pop shot and sneaking inside and finishing off the quick Williams back door pass. Hesson got the few Bremerhaven fans present going when he rammed home a tip in dunk, Liggins hit a three pointer and giant Schneiders scored inside. “We started to play better defense and got out on their shooters better. Burtschi hurt us early, but we slowed him down during this run”, stressed Lorenzo Williams. “We got too comfortable something we do a lot this season. We have to learn to close out games and step on their necks”, commented ex California(NCAA) point guard Justin Cobbs. “In this run we were being aggressive at both ends of the court something we should have been the whole game”, warned Myles Hesson. With Bremerhaven up 75-74 the only thing missing was that red blinking bat phone for Justin Cobbs to answer and then knowing its time to take care of business. Cobbs didn´t need a phone, but knew it was crunch time, his time to go out and take care of business and win the game. He led Frankfurt on a 14-2 run to regain the lead 88-77 where Bremerhaven were unable to recover from. In the run it was Cobbs who finished himself in the lane and twice played playmaker finding Robertson for the open three pointer and then waited a split second for the cutting Voigtmann to be in perfect position and found him for the easy bucket via the bounce pass. Burtschi added free throws as well. With Cobbs having supplied the spark, it was Morrison who made the arena explode with a massive two handed dunk and Super Tez Roberston put an exclamation point on the win with a step back jumper as Frankfurt led 87-77 with 20 seconds to play sealing the win for Frankfurt. “I just try to do everything for the team if its scoring, rebounding or finding my teammates. We like to move the ball and get the best shot. Burtschi was hot tonight and I got Joe Voigtmann the ball at the end”, stressed Justin Cobbs. “We knew that Cobbs is good. He sees the floor well and can score. We fell asleep on some plays and were unable to execute in key situations”, said Lorenzo Williams. “Cobbs is a stud and we talk about this every week. He was sick against Artland, but tonight he did a great job getting to the cup again. He played in the Pac 12 and just has a high basketball IQ and that is why he can make those passes at the end”, added Jacob Burtschi. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jacob Burtschi with 36 points. Sean Armand added 11 points and Johannes Voigtmann contributed 10 points. The Eisbaeren Bremerhaven were led by Myles Hesson with 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists. Moses Ehambe added 17 points. Devin Searcy chipped in with 14 points and nine rebounds and Lorenzo Williams had 10 points and nine assists. The Fraport Skyliners shot 48% from the field and 47% from outside while the Eisbaeren Bremerhaven shot 59% from the field and 62% from outside. Both teams had 27 rebounds a piece. Frankfurt had 12 turnovers and Bremerhaven had 16 turnovers.