EuropeD-III boys semis
Only Spangdahlem stands between Bucs and five straight
Stars and Stripes February 18, 2023
BAUMHOLDER, Germany – The Baumholder boys basketball team got off to a 10-0 start in Division III play this season in the hopes of eventually getting a fifth straight DODEA-Europe title.
Spangdahlem spoiled the Bucs’ shot at a perfect record in divisional play on the final day of the regular season. Now the Sentinels are out to stop the title streak as well when the two meet Saturday in the tournament’s championship game.
Baumholder 63, AFNORTH 42: Caleb Piggé and Damian Jung combined for 43 points as the Bucs outscored the Lions by seven points each of the first three quarters.
Piggé, a junior forward, scored all of his points in the first three periods. He said he liked his team’s hustle, but thought it still had improvement to do as far as communication and trying to play as a team.
“Our motto is keep it zero-zero [in our heads] no matter what the score is,” he said.
Greg Makubaya added 14 points for Spangdahlem.
Emile Masse had 13 points and Ronnie Macauley and Henry Main each added 10 for the Lions, the tourney’s No. 3 seed.
Coach Derek Kujat said his only regret is that his team gave the Bucs too many second chances on offense.
“They’ve got big guys, we’ve got short guys,” he said. “It’s all about boxing out.”
Still, “there’s nothing to be ashamed of. That’s a good team. That’s a very good team. [The Lions] gave it their all.”
Macauley echoed that sentiment, saying the team has done better in his senior year than he might have expected: “It was really great to see all the freshmen and foreign players pick up the game of basketball.”
Spangdahlem 45, Sigonella 31: Robert Leggett had 16 points and the Sentinels took control with a 16-5 second quarter in the first semifinal Friday.
“We were just focused on getting to the hole and attacking the defense,” the junior forward said.
“I love the way he’s able to play inside-out for us,” coach Matthew Cirillo said.
Sigonella’s plan was to try to control the pace of play. It worked some of the time, but didn’t prevent the Sentinels from a series of scoring sprees that eventually proved too much.
“They go on runs,” Sigonella coach Jimmy Martin said. “And you’ve just got to withstand it and fight back.”
Cameron Lewis scored 12 points and Makario Drummond and Messiah Smith each added six for Spangdahlem, the tournament’s No. 2 seed.
Sigonella’s Alessandro Montero led his team with 12 points. Drake Dawson chipped in nine more.
“I’ve never once questioned their effort, their heart,” Martin said. “I’m proud of the way they played.”
“We all wanted to play for each other and not for ourselves,” Montero said.
Spangdahlem and Baumholder square off at 12:30 at Ramstein High School. AFNORTH and Sigonella play for third at 10:15 at Kaiserslautern High School.