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D-I girls semifinals

It's Ramstein vs. Stuttgart for all the marbles again

Ramstein's Alexis Tri dribbles past a defender during a Divisoin I semifinal game between Ramstein and Naples at Wiesbaden High School, Germany, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Ramstein won the game 26-23.

BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES

By AARON KNOWLES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 22, 2019

WIESBADEN, Germany – The two largest DODEA schools by enrollment in Europe don’t always meet in the Division I girls finals. But sometimes, it seems that way.

Ramstein and Stuttgart will be squaring off again Saturday, renewing a rivalry that stretches across most sports, after semifinal victories Friday.

Ramstein 26, Naples 23: The game between the Royals and Naples – which supplanted Ramstein last year’s championship game - was fast-paced and evenly matched from the beginning.

Ramstein was able to surge ahead for good in the final period with the help of Alexis Tri pushing hard through the Naples defense and either scoring or successfully making free throws.

Throughout the first two quarters, both teams matched score for score, taking every inch they could on offense and stopping the other team where they were able.

“We didn’t score great, but we held them to 23 points in a four-quarter game,” Ramstein coach Nathan Brewster said. “It starts and ends with defense.”

The first quarter ended 9-8 in favor of Ramstein, but Naples surged ahead slightly by halftime. Naples held a one-point halftime lead, powered by standout Roxanne Sasse.

“We knew this game was going to be a struggle,” Brewster said. “The other team is very well coached. (Tim Smith) is a legend and we had to make several adjustments throughout the game, but in the end it came out in our favor. I am thankful because the girls played their guts out. Both teams played exceptionally. I take my hat off to them.”

Stuttgart 32, Kaiserslautern 24: During the final semifinal, both Stuttgart and Kaiserslautern were all over the court and defending their goals the best they could.

Stuttgart managed to take an early lead, but it was never that big.

Team captain Adan Maher scored eight points for Stuttgart and was constantly calling out plays and communicating with her teammates on both sides of the floor.

Le’Jhanique Brown and Emajanae Hawkins from Kaiserslautern successfully pushed through Stuttgart’s defense from time to time. Brown scored 12 points in the game and Hawkins set up Brown and other teammates for a handful of scores.

The biggest problem throughout the game for Kaiserslautern was not Stuttgart’s offense, but its own accuracy. Despite cold shooting, the Raiders were able to stay in the game with a strong defense of their own.

“This game went kind of like we expected; we didn’t think they would just give up,” Maher said. “I am happy that my girls could fight through it.”

The Panthers are always focused on defense, Maher said.

“As a leader, you have to try and see everything and you need to make sure that you are staying calm and making the best decisions for your team,” Maher said. “That is something that I have been working on for the last three years.”

The first two of those years ended with a Stuttgart title. Now longtime foe Ramstein is the only team standing in the way of a third tournament crown.

Knowles.aaron@stripes.com

Twitter: @AKStripes

Kaiserslautern's Emajanae Hawkins dribbles dow the court during a Divisin I semifinal game between Stuttgart and Kaiserslautern at Wiesbaden High School, Germany, Friday, Feb. 22, 2019. Stuttgart won the game 32-24.
BRIAN FERGUSON/STARS AND STRIPES

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