Ansbach's Brittney Britton is averaging 19.2 points a game for the Cougars this season.

Ansbach's Brittney Britton is averaging 19.2 points a game for the Cougars this season. (S&S photo)

ANSBACH, Germany — Even though she’s a major cog in Ansbach’s elevation to one of DODDS-Europe’s elite basketball teams, Cougars senior Brittney Britton isn’t in it for just the trophies.

She likes the joy of playing with her friends.

“I couldn’t ask to play with any better people,” said Britton, who was also the European Division III volleyball tournament MVP. “We’re all good friends.”

Those friends — particularly senior classmates Keke Johnson and Alison Hazen — have crafted quite a run at Ansbach.

The trio has been together for four years, punctuating their stay with a pair of European titles — one in basketball and one in volleyball — and dreams of one or two more in their last go-round together.

Joy, as much as glory, however, remains Britton’s motivation.

“It’s more fun to play when you’ve already won [a basketball championship],” said Britton, a two-time All-Europe second-teamer who’s averaging 19.2 points per game this season.

“We have the confidence to do it again.”

Not to mention the team concept which worked so well last basketball season. The Cougars went 18-2, with Britton out of the lineup because of illness in the two losses.

“There’s never a dull moment playing with these guys,” Hazen, the Lady Cougars’ stalwart in the post, said of Britton, Johnson and sophomores Alicia Contreras and Kate Alegado. “Everybody gets a chance. There’s no ball-hogging.”

Just ball-playing.

Britten’s “an excellent ball-handler, and an excellent shooter,” Ansbach coach Mick Plummer said. “She can drive and score, and she can hit the three-pointer.”

Johnson, the speedy team quarterback who averaged 10 points per game last season, said Britton’s shooting makes everyone hard to defend.

“It’s great playing with her,” she said. “When they’re pressuring her, I’m open, and when they’re pressuring me, she’s open.”

Plummer cited Britton’s “flat-out athleticism” as her greatest strength. It’s an athleticism that has allowed her to finish second the past two years only to Jill Dyer of Frankfurt International School in the 800 at the European track championships.

The 800 “has always been my event,” said Britton, who ran 2:23s to Dyer’s 2:22s the past two seasons and is hoping to turn silver into gold this May. “I’ve been running it since the sixth grade.”

On the court, her athleticism and speed manifest themselves in other ways.

“She has great timing,” Plummer said. “She makes some really great blocks. She doesn’t just come down and jump at her opponent. She waits and waits for the opponent to take the shot and then rises to block it. Psychologically, it’s really intimidating.”

Britten said the experience of winning the 2004 volleyball title jump-started the team’s basketball season.

“It does carry over,” the first-team All-Europe volleyball selection said of the momentum of success.

No one’s resting on their laurels in Ansbach, home of the three-time European Division III football champs as well as the Lady Cougars, even after all these years.

“It’s the last one,” Johnson said of the “Band of Sisters’” quest for a second basketball title. “It’s important.”

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