Royals stage another fourth-quarter blitz to drop Raiders
By WILL MORRIS | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 7, 2018
KAISERSLAUTERN, Germany -- The visiting Ramstein Royals boys basketball squad defeated the Kaiserslautern Raiders 60-41 on Friday, spoiling the home team’s first game in the new Kaiserslautern High School gymnasium.
The Royals scored the first seven points of the game and led the Raiders rather comfortably until the third quarter, when the Raiders scored 19 points in rapid succession and put the full-court press on the Royals offense to close the gap.
The Raiders couldn't sustain their effort and were overcome by a Royals defense that held Kaiserslautern to just two points in the fourth quarter. By comparison Ramstein, the reigning four-time DODEA-Europe Division I champion, scored 20 points in the same quarter.
Royals coach Andrew O’Connor said Ramstein's performance was "100 times better" than Tuesday, when the Royals beat the visiting Wiesbaden Warriors 67-61 in a back-and-forth season-opening game.
"We closed out strong. We pressured the ball," O’Connor said. "On Tuesday, we did not do any of those things."
Ramstein senior Naser Eaves, who posted a 14-point, 11-rebound double-double, said the Raiders came into the second half with more intensity than they did in the first half.
"We didn't match that intensity, because in the first half we had more intensity and they matched it,” Eaves said. “But then they started dying down and we picked it up."
Gabe Fraley led the Royals with 17 points and added eight rebounds. Tre Dotson led the Raiders with 11 points, followed by Isaak Pachelo with nine.
The Raiders’ fourth-quarter letdown evoked memories of the team’s heartbreaking loss to Ramstein in last year’s European title game when the Royals erased a double-digit deficit to the Raiders en route to a 46-45 win and a continuation of their dynasty.
Both teams now enter the month-long holiday break. Kaiserslautern will face Black Forest Academy on Jan. 11, while Ramstein is set to visit Vicenza the same day.