Naples handed Region IV rival Aviano the most crushing defeat in its history Saturday, routing the host Saints 54-15 in the first mercy-rule defeat in nearly four decades of Aviano basketball.
“They just outplayed us,” said Ken McNeely, Saints head coach since the program’s founding in 1974. “That’s the biggest loss we ever had.”
An early Wildcats lead quickly escalated, reaching 18 points after eight minutes and 29 points at halftime. The game was called after a 14-4 Naples run to open the third quarter.
The lopsided outcome was shocking based on this season’s evidence as well as the lack of historical precedent. The two-game weekend set was supposed to be a highlight of the regular season’s stretch run, as Aviano entered with a gleaming 8-0 record and figured to give the defending Division II champion Wildcats a worthy challenge.
That happened to an extent Friday, as an effective Aviano defense shut down Naples scorer DJ Stockman. Wildcat teammate Isaiah Wesby picked up the scoring burden, pouring in 15 of his game-high 17 in the second half to fuel a 56-45 Naples win.
“Today is good, but we have to be prepared for tomorrow,” Naples head coach Craig Lord said after Friday’s victory.
He certainly got his wish. Aaron Smith and Stockman scored 13 apiece and Wesby and Joseph Pitts added 10 each as Naples emphatically completed the sweep Saturday. Aviano’s Elijah Smith offered his team’s only resistance to the onslaught, scoring all but one of his team’s 15 points as the Saints converted just seven of 32 attempts from the field.
Naples draws struggling Marymount next weekend to finish its regular season, while Aviano can redeem itself against another Region IV contender in 9-1 Vicenza.
Ramstein 61/70, Baumholder 35-44:The Division I Royals overwhelmed the Division III Bucs at home and away.
Friday’s visit to Baumholder saw the home team sprint to a shocking 12-4 first-quarter lead before the Royals’ depth took hold. A wire-to-wire win followed Saturday at Ramstein.
Baumholder freshman point guard Joseph Gouty continued his strong debut season with a team-high 14 Friday and a game-high 24 a day later.
Drew Tevebaugh was the high man for Ramstein on both occasions, scoring 16 and 20 points, respectively. Ten Royals packed Saturday’s scoring column.
The Royals face a quick turnaround with a Tuesday visit to Heidelberg for a rematch of last year’s Division I championship game. Baumholder’s gauntlet of Division I juggernauts continues against Wiesbaden next weekend.
Patch 65, Heidelberg 47: The Panthers continued their effort to supplant the Lions atop the Division I pack with their second head-to-head triumph of the week.
Just three days after a 74-55 win, Patch proved too much for the defending Division I champions to handle Friday. The dynamic backcourt of John Robinson and Brendan Jones poured in 21 points apiece, nearly outscoring the visiting Lions themselves.
Patch’s record improves to 9-1 overall. Jason Caldwell scored 18 to lead Heidelberg.
Schweinfurt 53, Hohenfels 52: The Razorbacks’ breakout season continued Friday by the narrowest of margins.
LaJuarren Burks scored 21 points and Christian Carrillo added 15 as Schweinfurt built a 14-2 first-quarter lead and clung to victory over its star-crossed Region III rival.
The 10-1 Razorbacks haven’t lost a game since Dec. 8 and will take an eight-game winning streak into Feb. 15 and 16 regular season-ending doubleheader against Patch.
Freshman Kordell Craft scored 20 in a losing effort for the young Tigers, who continued a season long habit of heartbreaking defeats against just one victory.
AOSR 55/63, Sigonella 35/20: The host Falcons earned the first wins of their season with regional routs Friday and Saturday.
Justin Tuimavana scored 25 combined points and Santiago Martinez added 22 on the weekend as AOSR made good on its first games against a team with a losing record. The 2-6 Falcons faced Region IV frontrunners Naples, Aviano and Vicenza to start its season.
Vicenza 74/62, Marymount 37/27:The Cougars cruised to their ninth win of the season with a weekend home-court sweep.
Terell Gandy scored 23 points in each game to lead Vicenza, which has rattled off five straight wins after suffering its only defeat of the season Jan. 18. The Cougars wrap up their regular season next weekend with two home games against Aviano.
AFNORTH 50/40, SHAPE 35/27:The Lions extended their winning streak to five games with a home-and-home sweep of its Region I and Division II opponent.
Densier Carnes scored 13 points in each game to lead AFNORTH, an expected contender for the European Division II title. The Lions visit Division III Menwith Hill to close its regular season next weekend.
SHAPE’s Conner Manning led all scorers with 18 on Friday and added 10 on Saturday.