A full slate of basketball games, wrestling meets and marksmanship competition will welcome DODDS-Europe student-athletes back from their winter break this weekend.

While many teams participated in holiday basketball tournaments and continued practicing over the intermission, the action on tap for Friday and Saturday represents the first regular-season DODDS-Europe competition since Dec. 13.

Here’s a look at some of the key matchups as the race to the European tournaments resumes.

Boys basketballNo less than five Division I teams enter the second phase of the winter season with unbeaten overall records. At least one of those squads will lose that status this weekend.

Two-time defending Division I European champion Patch will travel to Kaiserslautern on Friday to test its new-look lineup against the Raiders. The Panthers enter at 4-0, with all of those wins coming by at least 31 points. But Kaiserslautern represents Patch’s first divisional competition of the season; the routs came at the expense of Division II programs Black Forest Academy and Ansbach.

Kaiserslautern, meanwhile, boasts an identical 4-0 record buttressed by a stronger caliber of competition. The Raiders dispatched Division I rivals Vilseck and SHAPE twice each to enter the intermission unbeaten.

Wiesbaden and Vicenza rank among the division’s other undefeated teams, and both harbor well-founded championship aspirations. The Warriors, last year’s runner-up to the Panthers, host Vilseck, while promoted Division II champion Vicenza visits Sigonella. Ramstein’s unbeaten varsity will sit idle while the junior varsity takes on Division III Baumholder.

Girls basketballUnbeaten girls teams from Kaiserslautern, Wiesbaden and Vicenza distinguish those three schools as the only DODDS-Europe programs to enter January with undefeated overall basketball records. Each will be tested this weekend.

The Raiders will host Patch, which advanced to the Division I European title game last season before losing to Wiesbaden. With new coaches and largely new rotations, both Division I teams will look to further establish their playoff pedigrees as the tournament looms just six weeks away.

Vicenza has feasted on tiny opponents Florence and Marymount in its 4-0 start. The Cougars will continue their Division III swing Friday and Saturday, but should get a more substantial challenge from perennial small-school power Sigonella on the Jaguars’ home court.

The defending champ Warriors, meanwhile, play host to struggling but still-dangerous regional foe Vilseck.

WrestlingThis weekend represents the third of six regular-season Saturdays before the field is whittled down to 14 eventual weight-class European champions.

Reigning power Patch and top contender Ramstein lock up for the second consecutive meet after the Panthers got the better of the Royals on Dec. 13. AFNORTH, Black Forest Academy and Kaiserslautern join them in the Ramstein-hosted meet.

Division I entries also anchor the day’s other three scheduled meets. Wiesbaden and Lakenheath cross paths in a five-team meet at Brussels; Vilseck encounters four smaller schools at Hohenfels; and Naples travels to host Vicenza along with three other Italian squads.

Sectional qualifying meets will be held Feb. 7 and sites to be determined; the European tournament follows Feb. 13 and 14 at Wiesbaden.

MarksmanshipThe European championship rifle meet – the first of DODDS-Europe’s three winter title tournaments – is set for Jan. 31 at Patch. As it stands now, that event will be nothing less than a coronation for the home team.

The reigning dynasty has cracked 1,400 combined team points in each of its first two outings, a threshold no other DODDS-Europe outfit has crossed this winter. The Panthers will be in action along with Baumholder and Kaiserslautern at Wiesbaden. Top contenders Ansbach, Vilseck and Hohenfels will share a concurrent meet at Ansbach.

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