MANNHEIM, Germany – Bitburg’s Brianna Lackey and Michelle Menschel took charge of things Friday night at the Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Area, site of next week’s European basketball championship games.Lackey and Menschell combined for 29 points to outscore the Mannheim Lady Bison all by themselves in a 44-26 Region II victory on Friday.Lackey accounted for 15 points, five rebounds and five steals, and Menschel tallied 14 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lift the Lady Barons to just their second victory of the season. Brandy Oliver added nine points for Bitburg (2-10 overall and 2-7 in Region II).Mannheim, which fell to 5-8, 2-6, had been scheduled to travel to Bitburg on Saturday, but transportation arrangements fell through, according to Mannheim boys’ coach David Brown. The schools hope to make up those games later this week, Bitburg girls’ coach Mike Cottrell said by telephone on Sunday.Bitburg’s boys also claimed a BFV Arena victory on Friday, turning back Mannheim, 47-42, behind a 16-10 fourth-quarter run.Erik Matos (13 points) J.B. Johnson (12 points) and Darren Aikens (11 rebounds) reached double-figures for Bitburg, which ended its four-game losing streak and improved to 4-8 overall and 2-7 in Region II.The loss was especially bitter for Mannhem (3-10, 3-5), because the Bison were coming off a 48-46 upset of D-I power Wiesbaden.“Real heartbreaker for us,” Mannheim’s Brown wrote in a Saturday E-mail. “Felt like we should have won but allowed things outside our control hamper our focus and influence our play. (Sixteen-point scorer Sam) Rosario was disqualified … on a delay-of-game call early in the fourth quarter. He had just been called for his fifth ‘carry’ of the game. He was extremely frustrated …, so I substituted another player … for him and yelled at him to hustle off the floor. He walked, which caught the attention of the veteran officiating crew who called the delay of game. It was absolutely the right call, but it totally changed the momentum of the game.”Bitburg compounded the momentum shift, Brown added, by making both technical foul shots assessed to Rosario and scored on the ensuing possession – a four-point swing.“It was their first lead since the end of the second quarter,” Brown reported. “We never led again.”Still, Brown reported, Bitburg earned its victory.“…congrats to Bitburg,” he wrote. “… Their young guys hit some big shots.”In addition to the possible makeup game at Bitburg, Mannheim is to entertain Wiesbaden on Friday before moving on to the European Division II tournament it will host Feb. 23-26.Bitburg is scheduled to close the regular season at home. Mannheim most probably will come to town on Thursday, and the Barons are scheduled to host AFNORTH, another team they might meet in the D-II tournament, in a non-regional game on Saturday.

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