Head coach Simon Cote celebrated his biggest coaching success with the Opel Skyliners in 2004 winning the league title and got some valuable experience soaking up as much knowledge from Gordon Herbert early in his coaching career. After Frankfurt he was a scout with the Denver Nuggets, coached BBL team Giessen 46ers, coached in China and now has been in charge on the sidelines with the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau who he coached the last 4 years in the Pro A. After more than 10 years away, he returned back to an old stomping ground in Frankfurt facing his old team, but not in the BBL, but in the Pro B. He brought his club Hanau with a 4-3 record to Frankfurt and could have had an even better record had they not lost nail bitters against Baunach and Giessen. His foe the Fraport Skyliners Juniors had an identical 4-3 record and won last weekend in Munich against Oberhaching and won the last three road games in a row. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were looking to get back on the winning side at home having a 1-2 record while Simon Cote wanted to celebrate a successful experience against his ex team. Not only Cote had a special home coming, but also his player Benedikt Nicolay who played in the Skyliners organization from 2009-2012 playing a total of 5 BBL games and 143 Pro B games. On a cold autumn Saturday afternoon two teams met to keep their record over 500, but as the buzzer sounded after 40 minutes, the stoic face of Simon Cote told the whole story as he looked like he had just seen the basketball God turn into a basketball ghost after the disgraceful third quarter as his team relinquished 33 points which sealed the win for Frankfurt. Less than 24 hours earlier the BBL team Fraport Skyliners had done the same masterpiece, but only in the fourth quarter scoring 33 points to secure a great come from behind win. After the victory new Skyliner Junior Nigel Pruitt reflected on the win. “It was a roller coaster of a game. We were all excited because it was a derby game. We were too passive on defense in the first half, weren´t boxing out and they were more physical. In the second half we rebounded better, had better ball movement and shot better. We were also more aggressive on defense taking their stuff away. We got all involved on offense in the second half which wasn´t the case in the first half”, stressed Tennessee native Nigel Pruitt. Ebbecke White Wings Hanau forward Ryan Beisty played a solid game and was disappointed that the team couldn´t put it together for 40 minutes. ”We gave up way too many offensive rebounds and couldn´t score when they went on runs. We didn´t show the effort to want to win. We had too many defensive breakdowns”, stated Ryan Beisty.
The Ebbecke White Wings jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the first few minutes, but Frankfurt struck back making it a close game after 10 minutes. Hanau got a quick 11-2 lead as they stifled Frankfurt with their aggressive defense and on offense got three trey´s from ex Fraport Skyliner Junior guard Felix Hecker, ex Nordlingen big man Josef Eichler and Ryan Beisty. Hanau also got a lay in from ex ratiopharm guard Til Joscher Joenke. Frankfurt got a fade away jumper from Nigel Pruitt. The Ebbecke White Wings Hanau were hitting the three early while Frankfurt couldn´t find a rhythm on offense while Bruno Vrcic got off to a slow start going 0/5 from the field. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t let the quick Hanau start blind their game as they slowly started chipping away on offense and executing as they made a 14-5 run to dead lock the contest at 16-16. In the run Bruno Vrcic finally executed with a reverse lay up and big man Aaron Kayser also got into the action with back to back buckets. Frankfurt wanted to get the ex Chemnitz center more touches and shots as he had only attempted 9 in the last three games while before that he had shot 27 in three games. Pruitt also dropped a three pointer and 6 year Skyliner German Konstantin Schubert scored inside getting a shovel pass from Jazz Bains. But Hanau halted Frankfurt´s momentum as Joenke hit a trey as Frankfurt trailed 19-16 after one quarter. “Frankfurt didn´t take care of the ball well or rebound well. Frankfurt couldn´t control the defensive rebound as Hanau got second and third chances”, stressed ex Aubrun(NCAA) forward Quantez Robertson. The Ebbecke White Wings Hanau shot 47% from the field and 57% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 2 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 33% from the field and 25% from outside and had 11 rebounds and 2 turnovers.
In the second quarter the fans saw a game of runs as the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau were able to break away and this time keep the Fraport Skyliners Juniors at bay. Just like in the first quarter the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau started firing away right away going on a 7-1 run to extend their lead to 26-17. In the run German guard Jonathan Mesghna hit a jumper and Ryan Beisty nailed a trey and a lay in showing that in no way is he a one dimensional offensive player. The guests poured on their defense and forced Frankfurt to two turnovers which Hanau took advantage of. Frankfurt´s perimeter defense wasn´t working. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors demonstrated that they could match the Hanau long range shooters getting back to back trey´s from Vrcic and German captain Cosmo Gruehn as suddenly the Hanau lead was only 26-23. Then it was time again for the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau to escape on a run netting 5 points as Mesghna hit another trey and Beisty made a tip in showing that he can be aggressive on the offensive paint as Frankfurt trailed 33-23. Then it was time for Frankfurt to go on a run again as Pruitt took it into his own hands scoring 6 points cutting the Hanau lead to 33-29. In the last minutes Hanau got two baskets from Beisty and ex Skyliner Benedikt Nicolay who played 5 BBL games with Frankurt. Frankfurt got a lay in from Schubert as Pruitt displayed his fine playmaking skills which doesn´t always get noticed, but trailed 39-32 at the break. “Frankfurt had no communication on the pick and roll and there was no help. Hanau got easy baskets inside. Frankfurt continued not to take good care of the ball and secure defensive rebounds”, stressed Quantez Robertson. The Ebbecke White Wings Hanau shot 44% from the field and 35% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 3 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 32% from the field and 27% from the three point line and had 24 rebounds and 6 turnovers.
The turning point of the game came in the third quarter as the Fraport Skyliners Juniors exploded for 33 points while holding Hanau to 9 points. Eichler began the third quarter with a lay in, but then it was almost all Fraport Skyliners Juniors. They exploded for an amazing 33-7 run to extend their lead to 65-48. In the run, they got some serious scoring in bunches from 17 year old Len Schoormann who dropped two trey´s and continued to be a reliable shooter and also produced two lay ins. Frankfurt finally got production from other faces besides a Pruitt and Vrcic who only scored once in the third quarter. Gruehn contributed a trey, Jordan Samare scored twice in the paint and Jaz Bains was also reborn. After a tough first half, he finally found a groove on offense. He scored twice and would finish with 17 points on 5/11 shooting and would continue to execute in the fourth quarter. “Jaz is my import brother. He plays with a lot of confidence. I told him to remain aggressive. He calmed down and took easier shots. He is a special player that will always continue to keep attacking”, stated Nigel Pruitt. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were executing and everything was working while for the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau, they couldn´t hit the ocean. After 30 minutes Frankfurt led 65-48. “Schoormann was a big part of the success in the third quarter. He took responsibility at both ends of the court. With a two man show everybody zones out, but when you play team ball, it gets a lot easier and it prevails”, stated Nigel Pruitt. ““We let them get going in the third quarter. We couldn´t get anything going on offense. We had no energy and just didn´t step up”, stressed ex Regis(NCAA) forward Ryan Beisty. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 44% from the field and 33% from the parking lot and had 37 rebounds and 8 turnovers while the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau shot 39% from the field and 28% from the parking lot and had 23 rebounds and 5 turnovers.
In the fourth quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors were able to keep the lead despite the Ebbecke White Wings playing better and cutting down the Frankfurt lead to 10 and 9 points on two occasions, but they couldn´t get over the hump and steal back the lead. Jaz Bains got Frankfurt on the board first in the fourth quarter finding his spots on the way to hole tip toeing like a Kemba Walker for the basket. Vrcic added a free throw as Frankfurt had the very comfortable 68-48 advantage. But the Ebbecke White Wings didn´t want to sneak home unnoticed with a blow out loss in their baggage and came together and went own a 15-5 run to cut the Frankfurt advantage to only 73-63. Hanau did a good job sharing the ball as many players contributed to the come back. Calfornia native and rookie Preston Beverly scored with a tap in while ex Spanish ACB player Miguel Servera who was held to only 4 points on 2/10 shooting scored inside as did Eichler. Hanau did a super job getting to the free throw line as Joenke, Eichler and Beisty produced free throws. After scoring 33 points in the third quarter, Frankfurt let up a bit not executing on offense and losing their defensive aggressive. Hanau got easy points at the free throw line and inside. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors did a good job stopping the Hanau momentum and executing in key moments to up their lead again as Jaz Bains scored 5 points giving Frankfurt the 78-63 advantage. Hanau made one more push led by Joenke who scored 7 points cutting the Frankfurt lead to 83-74 with 1,29 minutes to play. But Hanau would not score again as Frankfurt went on a 6-0 run to close out the game with points all from Len Schoormann. “It was back and forth in the fourth quarter. Hanau is a tough team and we knew that it wouldn´t be a cake walk. We hit the big shots when we needed them, but we have to learn to close out games better”, warned Nigel Pruitt. “We had to be smarter to be able to stop their tendencies. We couldn´t lock them down”, stressed Ryan Beisty. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Len Schoormann and Bruno Vrcic with 18 points a piece. Nigel Pruitt and Jaz Bains added 17 points a piece. The Ebbecke White Wings Hanau were led by Till Joscha Joenke with 24 points. Ryan Beisty added 12 points and Josef Eichler added 11 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 45% from the field and 37% from outside and had 46 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Ebbecke White Wings Hanau shot 40% from the field and 26% from outside and had 35 rebounds and 9 turnovers.