WIESBADEN, Germany — The Wiesbaden Warriors girls team used scrappy defense and some clutch shooting down the stretch Friday to outlast SHAPE, handing the defending Division-II champs their first loss of the young basketball season, 31-28.
A basket by Mackenzie Jefferson with 6 minutes, 30 seconds left in the game gave Wiesbaden a 25-23 lead - its first since early in the third quarter - and sparked the Warriors to the come-from- behind victory in a game that featured six lead changes.
Despite Eugina Rhett’s 15-point performance - including a 3-pointer to draw SHAPE back within one point with 50 seconds left - Wiesbaden’s Lauren Barry iced the game for the Warriors by scoring the final six points of the contest for her team.
Barry, who missed about 12 minutes of the game when her calf tightened up, said making those final shots helped ease her pain.
Wiesbaden senior Meghan Smith, who narrowly missed a double-double with 11 points and nine rebounds, led the Warriors in both categories as she battled inside most of the game with SHAPE’s imposing senior, Deja Chappell, who scored six.
“No matter what division our opponent is in, it’s all in preparation for getting ready for Europeans,” Smith said, adding that SHAPE’s D-II status shouldn’t fool any big schools hoping for an easy win when they face the Spartans.
Phylecia Faublas, the scrappy Wiesbaden junior responsible for keeping Rhett in check for much of the contest, finished with 11 steals.
Faublas credited keeping pressure on Rhett, last year’s leading scorer in the D-II title game, as a big reason for the win.
“That was the game plan we had from the get go,” said Faublas, who also scored four points.
SHAPE coach Dotty Thompson said despite working on layups for an hour in practice, her team still missed too many of them on Friday.
“Maybe two hours next week,” Thompson quipped.
Wiesbaden boys coast
In the boys’ matchup, Wiesbaden jumped out to a 10-point lead heading into the second quarter and never looked back, as it had its way with the Spartans, 55-46.
The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, as the Warriors held a 22-point advantage heading into the final eight minutes of play, where Wiesbaden primarily used players off the bench.
“We wanted to focus on the techniques and fundamentals to make sure we get everything right,” Wiesbaden junior Kelsey Thomas said about the game.
Thomas, who led the Warriors with 15 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, said he feels the team can do better than last year and right now it’s about building chemistry and teamwork. Andrew Murray pitched in 12 points and 6-foot-7 Tyler Cordoni scored 11 and added eight boards and six blocks for the home team.
SHAPE senior Conner Manning was a bright spot for the Spartans with 21 points. P.J. Nieves scored 13 and added a team-high seven rebounds.
Both the girls and boys Warriors and Spartans teams will do battle again on Saturday in Wiesbaden in what will be the last game for the squads before the holiday lull.