Boys basketballBaumholder at Brussels Friday and Saturday The Bucs won’t get the matchup they’re waiting for until the European tournament. But they’re doing everything possible to prepare for it in the meantime. Baumholder, which lost in heartbreaking fashion to Sigonella in last year’s Division III European championship game, is in the midst of a three-week gauntlet of fellow Division III contenders that will help determine this year’s biggest challenger to the still-strong defending champions. The Bucs started the slate last weekend with an impressive sweep of Alconbury, and will move on to new Division III contender Ansbach after facing the Brigands this weekend. But Brussels is more obstacle than checkpoint on the road to the postseason. The Brigands have held their own against a tough schedule featuring several upper-division opponents and will look to gather some playoff steam in their last Division III action of the regular season.

Girls basketballRamstein at Black Forest Academy Friday and Saturday Given the ease with which the Royals have cruised through their Division I schedule this winter, their toughest regular season challenge might just come from below. Ramstein plays its first and only non-Division I opponent this weekend in the Falcons, one of the more formidable teams Division II can offer. BFA is saddled with an 0-2 divisional record thanks to an unsuccessful doubleheader against reigning Division II champion Bitburg. But Bitburg is among Europe’s toughest squads at any level, and BFA only lost the two games by a combined nine points, close enough to maintain legitimate hopes of knocking off the Barons come tournament time. The Falcons, meanwhile, have also proven themselves capable of breaking the divisional glass ceiling with a December sweep of reigning Division I European champion Wiesbaden. They’ll get the chance to add to that body of work this weekend against the unbeaten Royals, then again a week later against Stuttgart.

WrestlingLakenheath, Brussels, SHAPE, AFNORTH at Alconbury Saturday Coaches always want their teams performing at their highest level when the postseason arrives. As they prepare for the final weekend of the regular season, the Lakenheath Lancers appear to be executing that plan. Lakenheath turned in one of the best team efforts of its strong winter campaign last weekend, piling up 182 points to easily win a seven-team meet. Six Lancer wrestlers claimed top honors in the meet, while three more finished second. Performances like that have carried on the momentum started by last year’s solid runner-up Division I finish at the European tournament. Another similar effort this weekend at Alconbury will send the Lancers cruising confidently into the sectional qualifier they’ll host Feb. 13.

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