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Aviano hosts latest divisional gathering

By GREGORY BROOME | STARS AND STRIPES Published: January 18, 2018

Division II takes its turn in the DODEA-Europe basketball spotlight this weekend as four teams gather for a two-day set of games at Aviano.

The event is a downsized approximation of next month’s European tournament, and follows similar meetups of Division I and III squads earlier in the season. Vicenza hosted an early-season Division I fest Dec. 8-9 featuring Naples, Stuttgart and Vilseck; Division III squads Alconbury, Ansbach and Sigonella gathered in Brussels last weekend. Now DODEA-Europe’s middle division enjoys similar treatment as AFNORTH, American Overseas School of Rome and Rota visit northern Italy for the occasion.

Nearly half of the division’s teams will be on hand in Aviano, including both divisional title contenders and teams hoping to play their way into that status ahead of the postseason.

The girls field features mostly the latter. With reigning champion Black Forest Academy fielding another strong roster this season, the weekend offers the squads present in Aviano the opportunity to separate themselves from the middle of the pack and emerge as a viable contender to the Falcons.

The boys divisional landscape looks similar. Defending champion BFA was rocked by roster turnover in the offseason but continues to play at a championship level. The host Saints lurk as a potential upstart championship contender and would further burnish that impression with a strong effort this weekend.

Action tips off Friday at 1 p.m. with the Rota girls playing AOSR, followed by boys. Aviano and AFNORTH follow. On Saturday, Rota faces Aviano and AOSR battles AFNORTH.

This weekend’s Division II meet is one of two planned for this regular season. AOSR hosts Italian rivals Aviano and Marymount along with German visitor Spangdahlem on Feb. 2-3.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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