Even if the opening game of the 2016 Basketball Aid international tour is 72 hours old, memories of that game for players and fans will be on their mind radar for a while as fans will relive the alley-oop put backs by Mike Morrison and amazing unending talent of 16 year old Isaac Bonga where not the sky, but space seems to be the limit and especially for Americans Mike Morrison and Quantez Robertson being on American solid and trying to find their home state flags of Florida and Ohio in the beautiful cozy state of the art Clay Kaserne gym for everyone to swoon at. However even if the tour has moved on rapidly in the last days having gone to Luxemburg where their national team battled German Pro A team Dresden Titans and on Sunday still with the Luxemburg national team on board moved to German city Hanau which is 25 kilometers east of Frankfurt, the term that still had a tiny effect was the Frankfurt Skyliners. If Luxemburg national team head coach Ken Diederich who as a player was a nine time Luxemburg all-star and four time league champion with AB Contern, had done his homework the last days, he would have found out that both head coaches that he faced with Steven Clauss of Dresden and Simon Cote of Hanau had been coaches with the Fraport Skyliners within the last 10 years. However on Sunday in game three of the 2016 Basketball Aid international tour, the name Frankfurt Skyliners wasn´t on the menu, but instead good European basketball with an always international flair and not too forgot the Basketball Aid cause always as the main focus as that was what the players were really playing for. As always Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth who was head coach of the Hanau organization four years ago was present and running around shaking hands and making sure that everything was running along smoothly and as always was pleased with another well-made production that benefited the basketball aid charity as well as bringing fans the best possible preseason basketball action as high scoring was on the menu as the Hebeisen White Wings delighted their fans with a nasty 109-66 spanking of the Luxemburg national team. “I am very happy how everything went in Hanau. It was well organized and the fans saw a good game. Hanau had a very good shooting game. For Luxemburg it was a good test for their upcoming Euro qualifying games. They played against a very physical team with Hanau and that will help them for their upcoming Euro qualifying schedule”. explained 2016 Basketball Aid international tour chairman Hans Beth.
With it being one of the hottest days of the summer in the Frankfurt region, there was no difference in Hanau either as it felt like a desert outside and when one arrived in the Main-Kinzig arena, it felt even worse, like one was locked away in a sticky sauna with the door was slammed shut in your face. It wasn´t the best conditions for the players, but every single player knew that there was a special meaning behind the game with the Basketball Aid charity as always as the main feature. Finding a player who hasn´t in some way been effected by the cancer disease would be about as difficult as guessing the real mistress count that Wilt Chamberlain had back in the day, because cancer just seems to be everywhere. Ex TBB Trier player Samy Picard who played 52 BBL games and played catch with current NBA player Chris Copeland with his former German team took a deep breath when he had to recount how cancer had effected his family. “The mother of my wife died a few years ago on cancer. It was a very difficult time for her. It is important to support basketball aid. We all love basketball and to be able to play for a good cause is excellent. I don´t know if we will ever be able to beat cancer, but we have to try it”, stressed Samy Picard. “I lost my uncle and grandmother to cancer. Playing the game is only a small part, but it is most important to help fight cancer in any way. I will always do what I can to help”, expressed Hebeisen White Wing guard Eugene Harris.
The Hebeisen White Wings had had some tough test against BBL teams like Giessen and Wurzburg where they had had some very close games and then had another game against the MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg where they were spanked in a bad way losing by 40 points. They came into the game knowing that the Luxemburg national team wasn´t of BBL caliber, but remained focused and just shot the lights out shooting 49%, controlling the boards and just playing unselfish basketball. “We went into the game with some goals and we improved our rebounding, ball movement and competing well for 40 minutes. I liked our style in the game and we know that no matter who we play, we play unselfish”, stressed ex Davidson(NCAA) guard Brian Sullivan. Ex High Point(NCAA) standout Eugene Harris was also pleased by the effort of the Hebeisen White Wings and felt despite having a blow out, the self confidence was vital for the team. “Key in this win was competing with ourselves. This was a game to get better at executing on offense and defense and getting myself in the right spots to get my teammates to be their best. This win also helped the self confidence of our new German guys”, added Eugene Harris. After losing to the Dresden Titans 48 hours ago by only 10 points, they had a more difficult time with the Hebeisen White Wings as the intensive heat cloud in the arena coupled with the opponents hot shooting did them in all night long. “We could use the excuse and say that we had a 4 hour bus drive and then had to play in this heat, but Hanau also had to play against the heat. Hanau just shot extremely well. We tried everything on defense to shake them up, but nothing worked”, expressed Luxemburg national player Samy Picard.
The Luxemburg national team was without star Tom Schumacher who was at home waiting for the birth of a child while Rueben Spoden of Hanau was still nursing an injury, but is expected back ready at the start of the season. There wasn´t total domination by the Hebeisen White Wings from the get go, but rather the usual feeling out of both teams as the game was tight in the early going. It was the work horse Kuize Pinkins who got going early establishing good position and just getting easy buckets as he scored twice giving the Hebesien White Wings the early 6-4 advantage. This in turn kept sparking the Hanau offense as they continued to get easy baskets inside and on transition as Harris scored on transition and Pinkins made an offensive rebound and easy put back for the12-6 Hanau lead. German Tili Joscha Joenke was also very important in the early going doing an excellent job at the point pushing the ball forward whenever possible and organizing the Hanau offense well and just getting them rolling. After a Dean Gindt lay up who has won three Luxemburg league titles, Hanau started to switch up their offense and started hitting from downtown as Harris and Sullivan hit back to back trey´s for the 18-10 Hanau advantage. Samy Picard ceased this sudden Hanau offensive onslaught with two big buckets inside, but Hanau put the ultimate dagger in the comeback heart of Luxemburg burying two further back to back three´s from Sullivan and Christian Von Fintel. After one quarter, the Hebeisen White Wings had the comfortable 26-14 lead. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 53% from the field and 50% from outside while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 40% from the field and 20% from outside. Hanau had the 12-5 rebound edge, but three turnovers while Luxemburg only had two turnovers.
In the second quarter the Hebeisen White Wings continued to execute at ease and continued their hot shooting from the parking lot. The two Hanau Americans Sullivan and Harris were sprouting with immense zeal and self-confidence and just wanted the ball at all times and were successful as Sullivan hit a jumper and then nailed a three followed by a Harris trey which extended the Hanau lead to 36-19. Luxemburg didn´t have any massive offensive threats down low so they relied on their shooting which was mediocre or here and there sneaking inside as 23 year old Alex Laurent did showing why he won the 2016 Luxemburg allstar slam dunk contest with a hard dunk. However the Hebeisen White Wings always had an answer and just continued to shoot shoot shoot and hit hit hit as ex Kirchheim Knight Jordan Wild hit twice and Joenke and Sullivan again and before Luxemburg head coach Ken Diederich could wipe his brow for the 25th time getting rid of the nasty sweat, Hanau was leading 48-26. Luxemburg closed out the second quarter with a mini 4-0 run as Laurent hit four free throws. At halftime the Hebeisen White Wings were leading 48-30. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 44% from the field and 50% from the three point line while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 43% from the field and 22% from the three point line. Hanau had the 21-12 rebound edge and both clubs had seven turnovers a piece.
The Hebeisen continued to dominate the game in the third quarter as they continued to shoot out the lights while the Luxemburg national team mixed up their defensive formations with different zone´s as well as man to man, but they couldn´t put a rattle into the sound Hanau offense. Hanau didn´t waste any time jumping out on a quick 7-2 run as Joenke nailed another three pointer while Pinkins showed his unique inside out game scoring inside where he really makes it look like he is on a stroll in a park and then nailed a three pointer as the Hebeisen White Wings led 56-32. The three pointer is something Pinks wants to develop further this season as he came in as a rookie last season having shot 39% as a senior at USF, but only 20% last season with Hanau. Luxemburg got another dunk from Laurent who was the most consistent player for them, but Hanau had production from every player as the success of the American guard combo of Sullivan and Harris seemed to rub off on German Von Fintel as he scored in bunches with a trey and lay in to extend the Hanau lead to 63-38. Luxemburg then got a rare 5-0 run as Picard buried a trey and Bob Melcher who plays for Amicale Steinsil since 2010 scored inside as Hanau suffered a defensive breakdown cutting the Hanau lead to 63-43. Sullivan had already lite up the Main-Kinzig arena in the first half and didn´t hear any Sulliiiiiiiiiiiiii chants yet as he did in the Belk arena at Davidson the last years whenever he demonstrated his shooting art, but the Hanau fans might catch on in the next games, but the Ohio native showed also a strong separation between knowing when to score and when to display his playmaking abilities. On back to back plays, Sullivan showed his explosiveness as an offensive player as he first found ex Essen forward Paul Albrecht with a bullet pass inside and then caught Von Fintel back door for the reverse lay up and then stroked home another three pointer giving Hanau the huge 70-43 lead. “Luxemburg played much zone so we drove and kicked and that opened me up much more for shots which got me in rhythm. I think that my shooting and playmaking feed off each other. I am not a one dimensional player. My goal is always to get my team the best shot”, warned Brian Sullivan. Teammate Eugene Harris is happy that he has Sullivan in the back court with him. “Sullivan can really shoot the heck out of the ball and it is vital that he can spread the floor. He also is a very good defender”, stressed Eugene Harris. Hanau continued to supply the pressure pffensively as Sullivan connected for another trey and ex Nordlingen big man Josef Eicher scored inside and also made free throws. Harris also made a beautiful step back three from the corner that a Steph Curry couldn´t have done better. After three quarter, the Hebeisen Whi+te Wings had the commanding 85-57 advantage. The Hebeisen White Wings were shooting 51% from the field and 48% from the parking lot while the Luxemburg national team was shooting 47% from the field and 33% from the parking lot. Hanau had the overwhelming 33-16 rebound edge, but 11 turnovers while Luxemburg had nine turnovers.
The Hebeisen White Wings had their best defensive quarter in the fourth keeping Luxemburg to nine points, but the question for the fans was how many point would Hanau get at the end? The Hebeisen White Wings seemed to want to get that 100 points quickly as they cruised out on a massive 12-2 run as they got three consecutive three´s from Harris, Albrecht and ex Tuebingen German Julian Albus, Eichler also scored using some baby steps to confuse his defender. After 22 year old 200cm forward Yann Wolf made an off balance jumper, Hanau went on a 7-0 run to eclipse the 100 point mark. Pinkins started the run with an unbelievable off balance shot from the corner with an angle that only NBA legend Larry Bird could of made in the day, but the Hanau forward saw nothing but net an d then Von Fintel nailed a three and Albrecht hit free throws as the Hebeisen White Wings led 104-61. With a few minutes remaining, Luxemburg got some production from Pit Koster and a three from Gindt while Hanau got a fascinating shot clock buzzer beater from Von Fintel as he nailed the three over Delgado and he ended the game with free throws. The Hebeisen White Wings continue to prepare for the regular season while Luxemburg now will compete in the 2016 Euro qualifying tournament. “”We start with three road games, so it will be tough. We will have to sell ourselves as best as we can. I think we will have the best chance against Hungary. We have nothing to lose and seemingly no pressure, but there is always that pressure not to lose by 30 or 40 points”, stated Luxemburg national player Samy Picard. The Hebeisen White Wings were led by Brian Sullivan and Christian Von Fintel who scored 22 points a piece. Kruize Pinks chipped in with 15 points and nine rebounds and Eugen Harris added 14 points and 10 assists. Josef Eichler contributed 10 points. The Luxemburg national team was led by Alex Laurent with 14 points. Samy Picard and Bob Melcher added 11 points a piece. The Hebeisen White Wings shot 49% from the field and 45% from outside while Luxemburg shot 43% from the field and 27% from outside. Hanau had the massive 47-23 rebound advantage and both teams had 13 turnovers a piece. The 2016 Basketball Aid Tour resumes on Tuesday in Mainz as the Giessen 46ers meet Pro A team Gotha.