Ansbach, Bitburg cruise into showdown
By MARK PATTON AND GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 22, 2013
WIESBADEN, Germany --- It will be top-seeded Ansbach facing off against the upset- minded Bitburg squad Saturday for the DODDS-Europe Division-II girls basketball title.
Both teams had no trouble with their Friday semifinal opponents, as each cruised their way into the championship game with their confidence meter high.
Saturday’s Division-II girls championship game is slated for 3 p.m. at the Clay Kaserne Fitness Center in Wiesbaden, Germany.
Ansbach 40, Hohenfels 27: After trailing early 7-3, the Cougars put on the afterburners and never looked back as they pulled away from the Tigers.
Boasting only one loss on the season, a tough loss to Division-I Heidelberg in the team’s second game, it’s not hard to see why the Cougars were billed as the team to beat in girls D-II.
Hohenfels seemingly lost confidence in its shots and appeared hesitant to pull the trigger on open looks.
The toughest challenge for the Tigers, however, was finding a way to contain Ansbach junior guard Chealsy Reaves.
By the final buzzer, they still hadn’t figured it out.
Reaves finished the day with a game high 22 points, including four shots from behind the arc.
“It was hard coming in being the No. 1 seed, everyone was gunning for us,” Reaves said. “We just kept our mind and kept on playing our games.”
Reaves could’ve easily prowled off the court with more points under her belt, but missed several open layups.
It’s a problem Reaves said her team has to work on if it hopes to capture the championship on Saturday.
“Making easy shots,” Reaves said when asked what her club needed to work on before tomorrow’s final. “Taking advantage of our lead and keep expanding it,” she added.
Senior Kiana Glenn and sophomore Shelby Atkinson led the Tigers scoring attack with 11 points each. Senior forward Caprice Lockett snagged a team high 14 boards for the Cougars.
Bitburg 52, Schweinfurt 24: The Barons cruised into Saturday’s championship game with their second rout of the day.
Bitburg erased an early 8-4 deficit with a 10-0 run spanning the first and second quarters; by halftime the Barons owned a 21-11 advantage. An end-to-end sequence featuring a three-pointer, immediate steal and breakaway layup all by senior guard Brianna Lackey pushed the lead to 20 midway through the third quarter.
The Barons were built for a playoff run all along, playing a schedule packed with strong Division I opponents like Kaiserslautern, Ramstein and Wiesbaden in a 6-7 regular season. They entered Europeans as a No. 6 seed that any higher-ranked opponent would be happy to avoid, and made good on the threat with double-digit Wednesday wins over AOSR and AFNORTH and a 49-15 Friday-morning rout of Vicenza.
“Overall, we’ve got some good girls. They hustle, they work hard,” Bitburg head coach Lin Hairstone said. “They played well, they played with heart. What more can you ask?”
“We work well as a team. It’s not just one person,” Lackey said. “We all help each other out on defense and on offense.”
Atyia Brigman scored 17 points and Lackey added 13 for the Barons. The pair of senior guards are determined to end their prep careers as champions.
“So important,” Brigman said. “It means everything.”
The 10th-seeded Razorbacks see an end to an impressive tournament run that appended a happy epilogue to a frustrating season. After managing just three regular-season wins, Schweinfurt recorded two in Wiesbaden with defeats of Aviano and defending champion SHAPE.