After starting 2023 with a big win at home against the Wizards, the Fraport Skyliners Juniors since then were riding a losing streak having lost to Koblenz and Speyer. Frankfurt wanted to get back on the winning road as the battle for home court in the playoffs had started. But getting that next win was going to be a real challenge as they welcomed the incredible 15-0 Hanau White Wings. They have been the surprise team of the season as on paper their roster doesn’t look to special but coach Marti Zamora-Mas has done a great job helping form a sound chemistry among the many role players and 2 stars Bubba Furlong and Bruno Albrecht (189-SG-2001)t. They have been close to losing a few times, but always found a way to win having won 5 games by 5 points or less. The White Wings Hanau came to Frankfurt with sky high self confidence and after a slow first half, exploded in the third quarter for 38 points paving the way for the comfortable 91-71 victory over the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. It was another normal day at the office for Bruno Albrechtt who carried his team with 22 points as the third quarter set the tone for the win. ‘We upped our intensity in the third quarter getting them out of rhythm, not allowing any easy baskets and getting to the foul line. When we have focus on defense then our shots come easier. Once we get rolling, we are too good to lose’, stressed ex Rhondorf Dragon tBruno Albrecht. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors played a strong first half, but came out in the third quarter and just stunk up their own living room in front of the watchful eyes of Quantez Robertson. After the shell shocking loss, Felix Hecker had problems dissecting the loss. ‘We had an ok first half. Both teams played good defense. But in the second half we had way too many turnovers, had no stops and couldn’t play transition’, stressed Felix Hecker.
Alvin Oniya at the FT line
The White Wings Hanau began well in the first quarter and quickly led 7-2. Hanau did a good job getting their work horse Bubba Furlong involved as he contributed 5 points and their top scorer Bruno Albrechtt also scored. After a Felix Hecker lay in on transition, 2019 NBBL winner Philipp Walz nailed a trey for the Hanau 10-4 advantage. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had little intensity on offense while Hanau let their defense spark their offense and got easy baskets. But the Fraport Skyliners Juniors finally found a rhythm and went on a rapid 9-4 run to tie the game at 13-13. German double license center Jordan Samare led the charge with 8 points via 2 three’s. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got calm on offense and executed during the run and weren’t as hectic anymore while Hanau had some good looks, but just couldn’t score consistently. In the last minute Bruno Albrechtt added a trey and 2018 JBBL winner Nolan Adekunle made a lay in as the White Wings Hanau led 16-15. Both teams shot poorly as the The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were at 33% from the field and from outside while the White Wings Hanau shot 29% from the field and 27% from outside. Hanau had the tight 11-10 rebound edge, but 6 turnovers while Frankfurt had 3 turnovers. ‘We began well, but our intensity went down. They forced us to too many turnovers’, stressed Bruno Albrechtt.
Tim Martinez to the hole
The second quarter continued to be a close race as the White Wings Hanau had the lead, but the Fraport Skyliners Juniors never gave up and kept up well with the undefeated club. The White Wings Hanau started the second quarter strong with a 7-2 run to lead 23-18. In the run two clutch three’s came from ex Ibam German Gabriel Kuku and ex Sixer Soren Urbansky nail. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had problems executing, but continued to defend with passion and aggressiveness that allowed them to stay in the game. Frankfurt coughed up the ball in their back court which led to a Kuku dunk and 26-20 Hanau lead. But The Fraport Skyliners Juniors didn’t let the guests run away with the lead, but instead struck with a 8-2 run to grab the 28-26 lead. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors defended well getting a Oniya steal and forcing some turnovers which led to easy baskets from Marco Voeller and Alvin Oniya. Superb three and D player Bennet Schubert added a trey for the lead. But The Fraport Skyliners Juniors couldn’t close out the second quarter strong losing some intensity and allowing a 6-0 run to allow the White Wings Hanau have the 32-28 advantage at half-time and they would never trail again in the game. In the run the guests let their inspiring team play, calmness and cleverness to get 2 easy buckets in the paint from Urbansky and ex Ehingen guard Tim Martinez and a lay in by Bruno Albrechtt with only a few seconds to go scoring on transition. ‘We weren’t chilling in the second quarter. It’s a long season, we practice a lot and have a short rotation. Plus our guards play heavy minutes. We just hadn’t found our game yet’, commented Bruno Albrechtt. The White Wings Hanau heightened their shooting at 37% from the field and 31% from the three point line and had 20 rebounds and 13 turnovers while The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 31% from the field and 22% from the three point line and had 19 rebounds and 8 turnovers.
Bruno Albrecht at the FT line
The turning point of the contest happened in the third quarter as the White Wings Hanau exploded for 38 points and never looked back. The White Wings Hanau began with a brutal 13-2 run to extend their lead to 45-30. Instrumental in the run was Hanau top scorer Bruno Albrechtt who came alive with 10 points. He contributed 5 points on free throws, a three pointer and lay in. ‘I held back a little in the first half. I took command in the second half and my teammates followed. I just do whatever the team needs’, warned Bruno Albrechtt. It didn’t help The Fraport Skyliners Juniors cause either that 3 key players with Samare, Adenkunle and Voeller were fouled out before the half way mark of the third quarter. The White Wings Hanau continued to execute like a well oiled ship and surprisingly did it without Bruno Furlong who was hit on the head early in the second quarter and never returned finishing with 5 points and 2 rebounds. After the win Furlong went to a Hanau hospital to take tests and get checked. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors then found some daylight cutting the Hanau lead down to 12 points 48-36 as they were aggressive on the offensive glass getting top ins by Schubert and Hecker and Voeller connected on a jumper. But that was all The Fraport Skyliners Juniors had on this night, because the White Wings Hanau then slammed the door shut on Frankfurt closing out the third quarter on a 22-7 run to lead 70-43. The White Wings Hanau executed incredibly well and let it rain three’s. Hanau shared the ball well as Walz nailed 2 three’s while Martinez, ex Giessen guard Sebastian Brach and Philip Hecker also nailed three’s. Frankfurt simply had too little offensive flow and options on this night. Felix Hecker did all he could scoring 5 points in the run. ‘We can all shoot. If we are all focused then our shots go in. If we take 10 open three’s with little focus, then more 10 contested three’s with much focus will go in. We slept on many plays on defense in the first half, but that didn’t happen in the second half’, warned Bruno Albrechtt. ‘We had 3 guys out with 5 fouls. We had to play more young guys. That makes it harder. Plus we knew that they get to the free throw line well. We couldn’t hinder that’, warned Felix Hecker. The White Wings Hanau shot over 50% from the field and the parking lot and had 25 rebounds and 17 turnovers while the Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 38% from the field and 22% from the parking lot and had 24 rebounds and 19 turnovers.
Marco Voeller from outside
In the fourth quarter the White Wings Hanau shifted down a few gears allowing The Fraport Skyliners Juniors to score 28 points, but still executed well on offense with 22 points thus not being in any danger of ever losing. After a Kuku bucket, The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got some solid support from Drago Crnjac who compares his game to Tyler Herro supplying 8 points with 2 three’s in 5 minutes, but the club couldn’t make any ground as they still trailed 77-51. The guests executed well, but let up a bit on defense which is normal when your leading by 20 plus points. After another Kuku basket and 80-53 Hanau lead, The Fraport Skyliners Juniors found one last hurra going on a 16-5 run to trail 85-69. In the run The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got super support from Felix Hecker with 8 points while ex Trier forward Nils Leonhart added 4 points and little used German guard Isaac Obanor added a lay in. In the last 2 minutes Hanau played some of their young kids as Simon Franke and Tom Arkan also got on the scoring sheet. The Fraport Skyliners Juniors got a pretty lay in from NBBL player Dusan Nikolic, but all in all, it was a poor second half for the Fraport Skyliners Juniors. ‘The game was over before the fourth quarter began. Our bench guys came in and they went on a run. Bubba Furlong was hit on the head and couldn’t play much. We won it for Bubba’, smiled Bruno Albrechtt. ‘I forced up a lot of shots. They put in some young guys and got sloppy. We came back a little, but not enough’, stated Felix Hecker. The White Wings Hanu were led by Bruno Albrechtt with 22 points while Gabriel Kuku and Philip Walz added 11 points apiece while The Fraport Skyliners Juniors were led by Felix Hecker with 19 points while Nils Leonhardt added 13 points. The White Wings Hanau shot 50% from the field and 46% from outside and had 34 rebounds and 23 turnovers while The Fraport Skyliners Juniors shot 43% from the field and 26% from outside and had 33 rebounds and 24 turnovers.