It was an extremely warm day in Frankfurt on June 2nd and there was a loud buzz coming from the BCM gym of the Fraport Skyliners, but the BBL team wasn´t there nor the Pro B team as their seasons had ended weeks ago, but instead a young boy by the name of Bonga doing basketball destruction. It wasn´t Los Angeles Laker Isaac Bonga who had made a quick flight back to his old living room for a dunk clinic, but moreover his 14 year old brother Joshua who was helping lead his team to the title. The BCM was the setting of the German U-14 championship as the Fraport Skyliners took on TS Jahn Munich and except for some problems in the third quarter overcame adversary and won the title 95-75. It wasn´t only Joshua Bonga that wooed the fans with spectacular plays and athletic drives, but also his 14 year old teammate Jamaal Phatty who was in early foul trouble, but when the club needed him most stepped up more times than once getting into the lane and finishing with ease as his body was much more developed than all kids around him and he was able to dominate whenever he wanted. After the big win Fraport Skyliners head coach Thomas Koch was pleased, but kept his emotions under control as he described why his boys could win the title. “I am overjoyed that we could win this title. We invested very much into this season and being successful. We practiced a lot as a team and played at many tournaments. Key for the win was that everyone played together in the important phases. We didn´t play so well in the third quarter, but the team then took better care of the ball. That 7-0 run at the end of the third quarter was key which sparked us to get the win”, stressed Thomas Koch.
TS Jahn had had a tough semi-final beating Art Giants Duesseldorf 72-66 in the semi´s while the Fraport Skyliners destroyed TK Hannover Basketball 75-42. The first quarter was tight for the first 5 minutes as the Fraport Skyliners received the Bonga and Phatty show as they combined for the first 10 Frankfurt points. Bonga didn´t waste much time getting aggressive and finished with ease in the paint. His body reminded one of his brother Isaac as his athleticism was his big strength. Phatty´s athleticism also stood out as he always searched for that one on one opportunity or mis match chance, but never losing eye of his teammates and potential kick out pass. TS Jahn Munich was led by their Croatian shooting star Tin Udovicit who showed some early cross over´s and scored the majority of his team´s points. Jamaal Phatty was hit early with two offensive fouls and had to hit the bench. But that didn´t faze the Fraport Skyliners as they went on a 8-1 run to extend their lead to 18-10. They got key buckets from captain Josha Zentgraf and Marvin Esser. But TS Jahn Munich found some momentum in the last minutes and cut the Frankfurt lead to 22-19 as their super allrounder Moritz Herbst scored.
In the second quarter the Fraport Skyliners took control and finally broke free going on a 18-6 run to extend their lead to 40-25. The Fraport Skyliners were led by Jamaal Phatty who was back after getting two early fouls and took matters into his own hands scoring 10 points. He scored three baskets taking advantage of his huge strength going 1-1 and using his long steps and arms to score baskets easily in the paint. His play and dominance reminded one of how Bonga flourished at the NBBL level in 2016-2017 and Len Schoorman at the NBBL level in 2018-2019. Frankfurt also got another lay in from talented point guard Joshua Bonga and two baskets from the team´s best defender against small players Finley Pruver. The Fraport Skyliners continued to control the game and execute well on offense while on defense they were able to get consistent stops. Bonga remained aggressive and scored two more times in the paint and Phatty also scored. TS Jahn Munich just didn´t have those players that had the individual class of a Bonga or Phatty except for Udovicit who scored a few baskets, but he had little support from his teammates as the Fraport Skyliners led 51-37 at the break. The Fraport Skyliners were shooting 51% from the field and 13% from outside and had 28 rebounds(13 offensive rebounds) and 12 turnovers while TS Jahn Munich shot 38% from the field and 25% from outside and had 14 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
In the third quarter TS Jahn started to chip away at the Fraport Skyliners lead and got closer to make it a very tight game, but the Phatty and Bonga show in the waning minutes helped Frankfurt get back on track again and within a very short time lead by double digits again before the buzzer sounded. The Fraport Skyliners came out of the break and got a huge three from Roman Holloway and two points from Pruver, but TS Jahn Munich answered with a three from energetic defender Daniel Fackler to cut the Frankfurt lead down to 56-42. Then came the best basketball of TS Jahn Munich in the game as they cruised on a 13-5 run to cut Frankfurt´s lead to 61-55. In the run, TS Jahn Munich got valuable production from Udovicit hitting two baskets, diminutive guard Nico Hirtl made a pretty lay up as he often had big mismatches staring in his face, but found a way to get the hoop through his hard work and will. Big man Janis Grussendorf closed out the run with two massive three´s. In the run TS Jahn Munich was doing everything better than Frankfurt. They stepped up their defense and forced the Fraport Skyliners to countless turnovers and read the plays well and snuck into the passing lanes well. On offense the Bavarian team did a super job staying more calm and executing better. TS Jahn Munich also did a better job rebounding, getting loose balls and just hustling as they had robbed Frankfurt of the momentum. But the Fraport Skyliners stayed tough and didn´t allow the guests to do any more damage, but silenced them to close out the third quarter with a lethal 9-0 run to erase the six point lead and to lead comfortably again 70-55. Sergio Grothe made a basket in the run, but the most damage was done by Phatty and Bonga. Phatty who made huge strides this season hit a huge three while Bonga who has an amazing talent already for keeping his eyes ahead and not looking down so much with his ball handling was key at both ends of the court making a steal and coast to coast drive and basket and then did it again as his defense was brilliant. He is listed as 173cm, but Sebastian Gleim feels he could become taller than his brother Isaac who is known as a very good defender.
The 9-0 Frankfurt run at the end of the third quarter somewhat deflated TS Jahn Munich as they were unable to get under 10 points in the fourth quarter. The Fraport Skyliners received early production in the fourth quarter with a Phatty lay in and Esser trey while TS Jahn Munich got key support from Grussendorf who scored two buckets cutting Frankfurt´s lead to 76-61. The Fraport Skyliners now conserved their energy and got support from guys like Pruver, but also got the usual contribution form Bonga who scored in the lane again and Phatty scored in bunches making a sweet turn around shot and then making a steal and going coast to coast for the one handed dunk. In the last year two young Frankfurt talents Elijah Clarance and Len Schoormann showcased their dunking abilities so often and with Phatty a new dunking talent has arrived as his athleticism will continue to turn heads in the next years. With the minutes winding down, bot teams inserted some players for garbage time and TS Jahn Munich got two three´s from Ben Hofbauer while Frankfurt got a trey from Holloway and another lay in from Phatty. As the buzzer sounded there was happiness and enjoyment coming form the Fraport Skyliners fans, family and friends of the young boys as their long season of hard work had paid off. New Fraport Skyliner head coach Sebastian Gleim who helped shape the Skyliners youth program in the last years was very happy for the success of the young kids. “I am really happy for the organization. Frankfurt defended well and moved the ball well. They made a push at the right time at the end of the third quarter. I came here five years to help improve this section of the youth program. I am really happy for Thomas Koch who came with me from Hamburg five years ago. His success is deserved and it is nice seeing him and the boys reach the peak of their work. Winning this title had no priority. Even if we hadn´t won today, we would still have these talents for the next years and continue to help them develop”, stressed Sebastian Gleim. Jamaal Phatty led the Fraport Skyliners with 32 points. Joshua Bonga added 24 points, 15 rebounds and 6 assists. Sergio Grothe added 10 points. TS Jahn Munich was led by Tin Udovicit with 23 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals and Alan Devries added 16 points. The Fraport Skyliners shot 50% from the field and 40% from outside and had 57 rebounds(23 offensive rebounds) and 26 turnovers. TS Jahn Munich shot 36% from the field and 31% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 19 turnovers.