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MANNHEIM, Germany – Just as the seeding committee had predicted, the top-seeded Aviano Lady Saints and the No. 1 Naples Wildcat boys moved into Friday night’s Division II semifinals by posting convincing victories in early quarterfinal play Friday.Both victors were coming off a day off earned by winning their pools on Wednesday, and the energy-levels were high. Aviano decked AFNORTH, 36-17; the Naples boys turned back Vicenza, 69-57. Naples, which defeated Vicenza twice earlier this season, opened with a push-it-up-the floor 10-2 run, and when the Cougars clawed back to trail just 17-14 at the end of the period, the Wildcats again took charge. They opened the second period with a 9-3 run they expanded to a commanding 35-19 edge at halftime.“We always start strong,” said junior guard Jun Jun Gallardo. “Defense is our key.”An accomplished offense doesn’t hurt, either. Senior transfer Ryheam Trahan took care of much of that. He scored a game-high 29 points, nine of them from 3-point range, and was eight-of-10 from the foul line.Gallardo added 20 points and was even better from the foul line than Trahan. He was five-of-five. For the game, in fact, Naples was 14-of-19 from the stripe.Gallardo said his team benefited from playing a familiar opponent (“We know how they played,” he said) and from having the day off Thursday.“We got to scout the Germany teams we haven’t seen,” he said. “And we got to rest.” For their part, the Aviano girls, whose sole loss this season came at the hands of neighborhood rival Vicenza – the team they are to meet later in today’s semifinals -- rode 16 points from freshman Kyerha Smith and a defense which held the second-seeded Lady Lions to two two-point quarters.All-Europe junior center Jasmine Mailoto scored eight points for Aviano, which got four more from junior Casey Brunetti.Freshman post player Ashley Hughes led AFNORTH with eight points; senior Mercedes Ash scored six points in her final basketball game for AFNORTH.

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