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In a first, Bahrain set to host Vicenza for weekend of hoops

David Ogundale of Bahrain drives for a layup during a December game against the British School of Bahrain. The Falcons won the game 34-32.

JOSHUA KARSTEN/STARS AND STRIPES

By GREGORY BROOME | Stars and Stripes | Published: January 17, 2019

One of the premier matchups of this DODEA-Europe sports weekend won’t take place in Europe.

Bahrain, a DODEA school based in the Middle Eastern nation between Saudi Arabia and Qatar, will host Italian school Vicenza for an unprecedented set of basketball games Friday and Saturday. While Bahrain is a regular participant in DODEA-Europe postseason tournaments, the regular-season games represent another step into the mainstream for DODEA-Europe’s lone non-European entry, which is celebrating homecoming and the school’s 50th anniversary this week.

“It gives the Bahrain students and athletes an opportunity to compete against other DODEA-Europe schools in front of their home crowd,” DODEA-Europe athletic director Kathlene Clemmons said. “I look forward to this being a rewarding experience for both schools.”

DODEA-Europe has increasingly worked to incorporate geographically remote schools, including Spain-based Rota, into regular-season schedules in recent years.

Bahrain, in addition to this weekend’s matchup with Vicenza, is slated to visit Rome in early February for games against American Overseas School of Rome and Marymount. While Clemmons didn’t make any promises in regards to future Bahrain games, she indicated that that effort remains ongoing.

“We would like to include Bahrain and Rota in the regular-season schedule as much as funding permits,” Clemmons said. “It is tough being an outlying school and not getting to see your competition before the tournaments.”

The Vicenza boys were off to a 4-0 start before taking a pair of losses to reigning Division I champion Ramstein last weekend. The Cougar girls will be looking for their first win of the season in Bahrain.

The Falcons’ lack of regular-season action hasn’t prevented the school from being a force in recent editions of the DODEA-Europe basketball championship tournaments. The Bahrain girls have reached the Division II semifinals in each of the past three seasons; the boys did the same in the 2016 and 2017 tournaments.

broome.gregory@stripes.com

Twitter: @broomestripes

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