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Xavier TaylorBasketball


Last week: Taylor, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, scored a total of 63 points and snared 30 rebounds in the Cougars’ 69-53 and 93-77 victories at Marymount International School of Rome on Friday and Saturday. The sweep, which upped Vicenza’s winning streak to eight games, set up a make-or-break game for the conference title at Naples on Saturday.

“Xavier has become the leader for our team this year,” Vicenza coach Key Doland wrote Monday in an e-mail.

“As the only player returning from last year’s team, he has helped with preparing our team, which consists mostly of freshmen and sophomores, to compete.”

Taylor’s weekend totals left him with season averages of 21 points and 14 rebounds per game, according to Doland. He has scored 30 points or more in three of Vicenza’s 10 games this season, with his 36-point outing Saturday his best of the season.

Christina ThapvongsaMarksmanship


Last week: Thapvongsa, a 15-year-old sophomore, dethroned Würzburg’s defending European co-champions Brenna Goodman and Carly Sipes by firing a 280 out of 300 in Saturday’s European Rifle Championships. Thapvongsa also helped Hohenfels end Würzburg’s streak of seven straight European team titles.

“Saturday, she went to the firing line with one thing in mind, to do her best,” her coach Bruce Andrews, wrote Monday in an e-mail. “She knows that a good shooter cannot go to the firing line with the idea that ‘I have to beat so-and-so.’ ”

Thapvongsa averaged 277 points per match and had a 284 high for the season. Not bad for a team co-captain who needed coaxing to give it a shot. Andrews said he saw she had some potential but that almost was not enough: “It took some convincing to get her to come out for the rifle team,” he said.

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff


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