Loney helps Patch hold off Vilseck for Division I girls title
Stars and Stripes February 27, 2011
MANNHEIM, Germany — The Patch Lady Panthers held off a surging Vilseck squad to capture the girls Division I European basketball championship Saturday night at Mannheim’s Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena.
Patch rode the hot hand of junior guard Nelley Loney to the 64-52 victory.
Loney scored 30 points, matching her output Friday when the Lady Panthers toppled top-seeded and defending D-I champ Wiesbaden. She also grabbed eight rebounds and had seven steals during Saturday’s title game.
Although Loney usually stands out regardless of the opposition, first-year coach John Kohut was quick to share the credit.
“This was a big team effort … everyone contributed something,” Kohut said.
Vilseck didn’t let the the second-seeded Lady Panthers take top honors without a fight.
“We gotta make a run now,” Vilseck coach Jim Hall said to his team after falling behind 18-7 at the end of the first quarter.
His team responded as senior Thea Dunn scored on one end of the court and blocked Patch shots on the other. The Lady Falcons took their first lead at 23-20 on a three-point shot by junior Deraj McClinton.
But Patch was able to ride out the storm and respond with some quick points of its own.
“We just kept our heads up and played our game,” Loney said.
The Lady Panthers closed the half with eight unanswered points, due in part to foul trouble by Vilseck’s top scorer, senior Jamila Harvey, who picked up her fourth foul with almost three minutes remaining in the half and had to sit on the bench for the rest of the period.
Soon after, Lady Falcons senior Theresa Trevino picked up her third foul and was no longer able to challenge Patch in the paint.
“It took the ball out of our hands,” Hall said of the early foul trouble.
Patch increased the tempo of the game in the second half and applied consistent double-team pressure on Vilseck, but were unable to shake the tournament’s seventh seed and led by only 45-43 after three quarters.
But in the final period, the pressure forced some timely turnovers that proved too much for the Lady Falcons to overcome as Patch pulled away.
Vilseck’s top scorers were Harvey with 18, Dunn with 13 and McClinton with 12.
Other top players for Patch were freshman Johanna Quinn with 11 points and 11 rebounds and senior Bianca Lopez, who finished with 11 points, six rebounds, nine steals and four assists.
Story updated February 27