Aviano guard Miller scores 50 in Div. III semifinal
MANNHEIM, Germany — Heidelberg’s boys and Ramstein’s girls have a chance to keep their title streaks going in the DODDS European basketball tournaments.
But the real story of Friday’s games was Aviano guard Dustin Miller.
Miller, a junior, scored a tournament-record 50 points while leading Aviano into Friday night’s Division III title game with a 69-61 victory over Ansbach.
Miller, who was 10-for-17 from three-point range, helped Aviano to break away from a 25-25 halftime tie by hitting four straight three-pointers (5-for-6 in the third quarter). He shot 18-for-21 from the free-throw line, 13-for-14 after halftime.
“I was feeling it today,” Miller said.
He scored 30 and 24 in pool-play victories Thursday, but had no indication of what was to happen Friday.
“I was tired before the game,” he said. “I didn’t get much sleep last night.”
It showed, but only briefly. Miller missed his first three shots, then hit 11 of 17 from the floor the rest of the way.
“Once I get into the game, I don’t think about anything,” Miller said. “I just shoot.”
The victory put Aviano into Friday night’s late title game against Naples, a team which defeated Aviano three times during the season. The game was not over by the deadline for this edition.
Naples dethroned two-time defending champion Bamberg 72-55 in Friday’s other Division II boys semifinal.
Montez Jinks and Aniel Pablico scored 22 points apiece for Naples, which held Bamberg to two points in the third quarter.
The defending Division III girls champion bowed out Friday, too, but not without a fight.
London Central star Nicole Lassetter scored 39 points, eight during a 14-point fourth quarter that erased a 37-31 Baumholder lead and eight in overtime of a 55-53 victory.
It was the third straight 30-point outing for Lassetter.
Baumholder got 19 points from Tiffany Brown and 18 from Jessica Madison.
At presstime Friday night, Lassetter and her Bobcats were trying to hand the Ansbach Cougars their first loss of the season to a D-III team in the title matchup.
Ansbach coasted into the title game with a 45-37 victory over Rota.
Hanau’s top-seeded boys and girls continued their bid for a sweep of both titles. Both claimed pool crowns and moved into Friday’s late semifinals.
Hanau’s boys defeated AFNORTH 53-25 for their third victory without a loss. They were to play Patch in one semifinal Friday; defending champion SHAPE played Mannheim in the other.
Hanau’s girls also enjoyed their third straight decisive victory, 51-25 over SHAPE, and moved on to a semifinal date Friday night against Vilseck. Three-time defending champion Bitburg won the other pool and was to face AFNORTH in the semis.
Friday night’s winners will play for the Division II title on Saturday.
Heidelberg’s boys left no doubt they were serious about an unprecedented fifth straight European championship with a 72-44 rout of Lakenheath in Friday’s semifinal. The Lions will play the Kaiserslautern-Ramstein winner on Saturday for the title.
Ramstein’s three-time defending champion girls were equally emphatic, blasting Heidelberg 49-30.
“We wanted to come out fast,” said point guard Krissy Grosselin, a junior who’ll be playing in her third straight title game on Saturday. “We didn’t want them to even think they had a chance.”