SHAPE stays unbeaten, grabs Division II boys title

By RUSTY BRYAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 24, 2008

(See an updated version of this story here.)

MANNHEIM, Germany – Good things came in threes Saturday night as the SHAPE Spartans ran down the Wiesbaden Warriors, 46-41, to cap an unbeaten season with their first European title since 2003.

Biggest of the Big Threes in SHAPE’s third straight title game was the timeliness of the Spartans’ three-ball game. The Spartans, who jumped out to a 13-4 first-quarter lead, seemed to drop a three-point dagger on the Warriors every time Wiesbaden threatened to eliminate its deficit.

Neither team was particularly good from behind the arc on Saturday. Wiesbaden sank just two of 11 tries, and SHAPE was five-of-15. But three of SHAPE’s threes, one by tourney MVP Michael Konidaris and two by Kelsey Bardell, came when Wiesbaden had cut its deficit to either five or seven points each time.

“It feels good,” said Bardell, a junior in his second season with the Spartans who went five-for-eight from the line in the fourth quarter. “I’ve never won anything like this before.”

Neither had Konidaris, who tied Bardell for game scoring honors with 17.

“I think we broke the curse,” he said, referring to SHAPE’s six-point loss to Baumholder in last year’s title game and its three-point defeat by Hanau in 2006. “We won the title and had a perfect season.”

Mike Bass added 12 points for SHAPE, which placed just three players in the scoring column.

“There was nothing unexpected tonight,” said SHAPE coach Steve Richardson. “We expected them to play hard, and they did. They have a big heart.”

Kiante Clifton led Wiesbaden with 16 points; Terrell Harper added 12.

See more photos from Saturday's tournament games here.

The SHAPE Spartans celebrate their Division II title after beating Wiesbaden 46-41 at the DODDS-Europe basketball tourney.

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