A new month has arrived with December and possibly finally better days for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. The last weeks have been very very difficult for the easyCredit BBL farm team as losing has been as frequent as it has been for the first team as the Fraport Skyliners who also were still searching for their first win. The biggest problem that the farm team Juniors have is that they lack the needed experience as the club boasts an average age of only 19 years. They have difficulty on the offensive end as multiple scorers are simply missing in the offense. On defense, they are also missing experience giving up 80 points on the floor. They didn´t have an easy opponent with the Arvato College Wizards as they arrived in Frankfurt with a 3-3 record with an explosive offense with the trio of oldie ex BBL sniper Rouven Roessler, dominating big man Eyke Prahst and new American Alexander Thompson. It is always a pleasure for any basketball fan to witness another game of Rouven Roessler who at age 40 still isn´t slowing down The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had been close the last 2 weekends losing at home to Giessen and on the road in Hanau, but this time three was a charm as they finally put together a good effort for 40 minutes against Karlsruhe winning their first game of the season 79-75. The German leaders of the team Matthew Meredith and Philipp Hadenfeldt combined for 36 points and saved their absolute best for last letting it rain three´s in crunch-time nailing 2 a piece. After the big win a relived Miran Cumurija explained what was key for Frankfurt to win their first game of the season. “We had the passion and were prepared tonight like we were against Giessen two weeks ago. The difference to the Giessen game was that we knew that we had to play well until the end. We showed that we wanted to win today. We fought, played good defense and pushed the ball well. At the end we had good looks when they were defending well. Everything worked well for us”, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumurija. The Arvato College Wizards fell to 3-4 and had their moments, but just couldn´t put together their game in certain moments of the game. “We had some health problems. I still feel like we had a stronger team. I don´t want to show any disrespect towards Frankfurt, because they are young and have a lot of talent. We gave them way too much confidence in the first half to allow them back into the game. Frankfurt took their emotion, confidence and talent and combined it with their belief to win the game. We just didn´t have enough intensity”, stressed Arvato College Wizards head coach Daniel Nelson.
The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were without point guard Alvin Onyia who had departed Frankfurt with the easyCredit BBL team Fraport Skyliners for the game in Chemnitz on Sunday. The first minutes were a brutal back and forth struggle as no team could break away as there were 5 lead changes. Frankfurt received the first bucket as ex PS Karlsruhe center Noah Kamden used his physicality to muscle down an offensive rebound and made the put back. Frankfurt had found their early go to guy as Kamden would make two more baskets with a 20 footer and 5 footer while the guests also had found their early going go to guy with 209cm Eyke Prahst who played 37 Regionaliga games the last two seasons with Karlsruhe and scored in double figures in 34 games and had 29 double doubles got 4 buckets in the early going including a trey totally for a quick 9 points and 10-8 Arvato College Wizards advantage. Karlsruhe would keep the lead letting it suddenly rain three´s as ex Rhondorf guard Aaron Schmitz who is the brother of ex BBL player Simon Schmitz scored as did three point specialist Christop Rupp who shot 42% from outside last season. Frankfurt got two valuable buckets from ex Nurnberg guard Matthew Meredith who supplied aggressiveness from the get go getting two baskets inside as his quickness always got the best of the defense, but Karlsruhe led 16-12. Frankfurt had it´s problems covering the three point line while the guests had found a nice groove on offense. The Arvato College Wizards continued to drop gigantic trey´s from 40 year Karlsruhe legend Rouven Roessler and Rupp. A big strength on this night for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors was that very often when it seemed like the Arvato College Wizards might break away got sufficient support from their young bench. 15 year old guard Joshua Bonga came up big making a rapid lay in displaying his nice fist step and then hit a trey cutting the Karlsruhe lead down to 23-19 after 10 minutes. “Prahst had a huge game last weekend. He took that confidence into this game. Frankfurt did a good job switching and tagging him. He had to take some farther away shots and some late into the shot clock”, stressed Arvato College Wizards head coach Daniel Nelson. The Arvato College Wizards shot 57% from the field and 50% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 3 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 56% from the field and 25% from outside and had 7 rebounds and 4 turnovers.
The Arvato College Wizards jumped all over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors in the first few minutes of the second quarter and it seemed like they were going to run away with the game, but Frankfurt made a rapid comeback and actually led 42-41 at half-time. The Arvato College Wizards broke out on a 6-2 run to extend their lead to 29-21 over Frankfurt. In the run the guests got vital production from Prahst who grabbed an offensive rebound and produced a put back while German Florian Rothenberg who began his career in Leverkusen and has 94 Regionalliga games on his resume made a 20 footer from the wing and Irish guard Sean Flood who played at Longwood(NCAA) from 2018-2020 made a lay in. Frankfurt got a lay in off the pick and role from 18 year old German Alexander Richardson. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn´t let that quick start get in their heads as they buckled down and surprised Karlsruhe with an annoying 14-5 run to recapture the lead 35-34. In the run Frankfurt first got back to back baskets from Noah Kamden who dropped a trey and then made a lay in. A quiet Rouven Roessler who finished with 9 points in 34 minutes hit a trey for the 32-26 lead. But Frankfurt continued to chip away at the Karlsruhe lead and had a formula of 3 things that allowed them to get the lead back. Big hustle plays from Alexander Richardson, aggressive defense which then led to transition opportunities and easy baskets. Huge in the tail part of the big 14-5 run was Richardson who shot a rare three pointer, but followed up his miss and some how got on the rim and made the tip in dunk. Soon after he showed his presence inside and made a lay in. The big man finished with 6 points and 5 boards in 19 minutes. “He played very solid and knows how to use his body. He isn´t afraid of anybody. I want to continue to watch him grow and see how he can solve problems on the court. I´m not afraid to put him. He does a good job scoring and rebounding”, warned Frankfurt head coach Miran Cumurija. The guests then got the lead back 36-35 with a Schmitz lay in, but that didn´t last long as Joshua Bonga faked one player out stepped up a few steps and iced a pull up jumper. Rupp continued to penalize Frankfurt with his trey giving Karlsruhe the 39-37 lead. However Hadenfeldt was getting warmed up for his crunch-time heroics nailing a trey and Bonga made free throws for the 42-39 advantage. Rupp closed out the second quarter with an offensive rebound and put back, but Frankfurt led 42-41 after 20 minutes. “We gave Frankfurt the confidence to come back. They played good pick and role defense mad took that confidence into their offense”, stated Arvato College Wizards head coach Daniel Nelson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 53% from the field and 31% from the parking lot and had 16 rebounds and 7 turnovers while the Arvato College Wizards shot 53% from the field and 44% from the parking lot and had 13 rebounds and 7 turnovers.
In the third quarter the Fraport Skyliners Juniors played their best defense allowing only 13 points and always held the lead despite the Arvato College Wizards were always threatening, but Frankfurt´s offense mostly was able to find a good answer in their execution success. Frankfurt began very well getting 2 quick steals while Hadenfeldt sped by two defenders and made the easy basket for the 44-41 advantage. Frankfurt was for once not playing catch up, but setting the tone and keeping their lead over Karlsruhe. Meredith continued to get easy baskets on transition and always pushed the ball on transition. The guests got important baskets from Roessler who played five seasons in the BBL and 134 games and 145 Pro A games and Rupp, but still trailed 48-47 and just couldn´t get over the hump. Frankfurt continued to get vital production from their bench as German/Turk Cem Akbayir who began his career in Offenbach and only plays when Frankfurt is missing bodies scored 5 huge points to keep the slim 53-50 lead. In this phase, Joshua Bonga made a huge play on defense chasing a Karlsruhe player on transition and making a monster block. The block brought back memories to when his brother Isaac was playing in the NBBL in the 2016-2017 season when he also shone with big monster blocks. “I like Joshua a lot. He is always prepared and never gives up. He gives everything. The best thing about him is that he is isn´t afraid of anything. He just loves to play”, added Miran Cumurija. Frankfurt was playing with a lot of heart and just fighting to keep the lead. They did a good job forcing Karlsruhe to bad shots and often rushing their shots. Frankfurt kept the lead down the stretch getting 2 baskets form Kamden at the end holding the 59-54 lead after 30 minutes. “We did a good job defending and kept the lead. It is easier to always be leading then playing catch up”, stressed Fraport Skyliners head coach Miran Cumiurija. “They found added confidence with their switching defense and their bench made big shots. Their defense gave their offense confidence”, stressed Arvato College Wizards head coach Daniel Nelson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 51% from the field and 36% from the three point line and had 28 rebounds and 13 turnovers while the Arvato College Wizards shot 45% from the field and 35% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 11 turnovers.
The fourth quarter was a real dog fight in the first 5-6 minutes, but then it was the Hadenfeldt and Meredith show that let it rain three´s to power Frankfurt to the win. The Arvato College Wizards came out strong going on a rapid 9-1 run to gain back the lead again at 62-61. The guests played more aggressive on offense and got Eyke Prahst the ball more and he delivered scoring two baskets inside while using the mismatches each time and using his physicality to get easy baskets. Flood and Rupp also also added baskets in the run. Karlsruhe were more calm on offense and just played smart taking the best possible shots. Frankfurt just came out rusty and were stagnant on offense. As usual basketball is a game of runs and Frankfurt saved their best for last on offense going on a 8-2 run to somewhat break away from the guests to lead 68-62. In the run, Frankfurt got a 5 footer from Maxi Begue who had a quiet day in the scoring department netting only that basket. Hadenfeldt continued to be a one man wrecking crew hitting consecutive three´s. Karlsruhe stayed with Frankfurt getting two buckets from Thompson, but now it was Meredith´s time to excel nailing two three´s to keep Frankfurt comfortably ahead 76-69. Thompson continued to step up making an easy Frankfurt win turn into a nail bitter. Thompson scored 7 points in a row and suddenly the Arvato College Wizards trailed only 77-75 with 26 seconds to play. But Hadenfeldt slammed the door shut for the win with two free throws for the 79-75 victory. “Hadenfeldten played well the whole game. I told him before the game that we needed more from him today. Meredith did a good job at the end not over pacing, but letting the game come to him”, stressed head coach Miran Cumurija. “We knew that Hadenfeldt could shoot. They played good pick and role which took the attention off him. Meredith also played very well. He is an excellent player that any team would want to have”, warned head coach Daniel Nelson. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Noah Kamden with 21 points while Philipp Hadenfeldt added 20 points and Matthew Meredith scored 16 poiunts while the Arvato College Wizards were led by Christoph Rupp with 19 points while Eyke Prahst added 18 points and 11 boards and Alexander Thompson had 14 points. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 515 form the field and 38% from the parking lot and had 40 rebounds and 20 turnovers while the Arvato College Wizards shot 42% from the field and 28% from the parking lot and had 28 rebounds and 13 turnovers.