Bitburg girls settle for split after handing Hanau first loss
BITBURG AB, Germany — Don’t worry if you missed the first two rounds between Division II heavyweights Bitburg and Hanau on Friday and Saturday.
Three-time defending D-II European champion Bitburg handed defending Division II conference champion Hanau its first loss, 54-48 on Friday night, and the Panthers rebounded on Saturday to claim a 57-54 overtime win.
But the two teams might meet again Feb. 21 in Mannheim in the same place they met at the end of last season — facing off for the European D-II title.
Two-time All-Europe center Nadia Parker, a 6-foot-2 junior, led her team both nights. Parker scored 31 points and pulled down 23 rebounds in Friday’s victory, then helped bring Bitburg out of a 32-24 halftime hole on Saturday to force overtime with 28 points and 15 rebounds.
“Nadia was psyched for these games,” said Bitburg coach Denny Lemmon. “She likes to play against good competition, and Hanau is very good competition.”
Hanau looked to center Courtney Smith and forward Katisha Fauntleroy, both returning All-Europeans, for a lift. Smith delivered — 14 points and 19 rebounds on Friday and 19 points and 10 rebounds on Saturday — but Fauntleroy found herself in foul trouble on Friday that took her out of much of the game.
Saturday was a different story.
“She stayed out of trouble ...,” Lemmon said of Fauntleroy, who had 18 points and 14 rebounds on Saturday, “and really played a nice game.”
There’s still a long road remaining for both teams if they want a rematch of last year’s title game, won 45-41 by Bitburg. Hanau takes an 11-1 record into next weekend’s regular-season finales Friday and Saturday at potent AFNORTH (9-3). Bitburg (9-3) will host Patch (5-6).
Aviano clinches Division III berth
AVIANO AB, Italy — The Aviano Saints defeated visiting Sigonella twice to clinch the American Schools in Italy League regular-season title and the automatic berth in the six-team girls European D-III tournament.
Natalie Smith scored 20 points, and Emeral Templeton added 13 as Aviano prevailed 67-44 on Friday night. On Saturday, Aviano slugged its way to a 40-25 victory that landed a Sigonella player in the hospital with a concussion.
“We shot 45 free throws to their 21,” said Aviano coach Laura Corder-Chavez, whose team ended the league season with a 13-1 record. “Sigonella is very well-coached. They’ll be tough in the tournament.”
The tournament, the Mediterranean Regional qualifier, gets underway in Aviano on Thursday. It will determine which other ASIL school, or Turkey entrants Incirlik and Ankara, will join Aviano in Mannheim for the Europeans. Aviano is assured of a berth because it holds the points-differential tiebreaker over Naples, which also finished with a 13-1 record.
Ansbach completes unbeaten league season
ANSBACH, Germany — The Ansbach Lady Cougars defeated Giessen 59-24 on Friday and 49-23 on Saturday to complete an 8-0 III-South league season and earn an automatic bid in the D-III tournament.
Brittney Britton led Ansbach with 18 points on Friday. She had 16 points, seven rebounds, four steals and four assists on Saturday.
Both teams advance to the III-South Regional qualifier in Hohenfels on Friday and Saturday.
Lady Bobcats finish regular season unbeaten
HIGH WYCOMBE, England — The London Central Lady Bobcats defeated visiting Menwith Hill 53-33 and 38-30 on Friday and Saturday behind All-Europe senior Nicole Lassetter to complete their unbeaten season.
Lassetter had 17 points, 12 rebounds and six assists on Friday. On Saturday, she had 12 points, 10 rebounds and five assists as the Bobcats upped their season record to 14-0 (12-0 in III-North play).
London Central doesn’t earn an automatic berth in the Europeans.
Because Iceland, Rota and Lajes join the league schools for the qualifier, III-North awards its berths solely on the basis of the tournament, which is scheduled for Alconbury on Thursday and Saturday.
Menwith Hill finished its regular season at 8-4, with all four losses coming at the hands of the Bobcats.