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Seven teams begin holidays with hoop fest

Wiesbaden's Tyrese Harris looks for a passing angle as he is surrounded by Kaiserslautern defenders during a holiday tournament matchup Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Wiesbaden, undefeated in the regular season, fell to the Raiders despite a furious second-half comeback attempt.

DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES

By DAN STOUTAMIRE | Stars and Stripes | Published: December 20, 2017

WIESBADEN, Germany — Not all DODEA-Europe basketball teams are spending the holiday break away from the court.

Seven teams – six from Germany and one from Spain – completed a three-day-long, round-robin basketball smorgasbord featuring 21 games that ended Monday.

Those games, which don’t count toward regular-season standings, are ones teams hope will give them an edge in conditioning and teamwork come time for the DODEA European championships in late February.

Ramstein, Kaiserslautern and host Wiesbaden all finished with 5-1 records.

Perhaps one of the tournament’s biggest surprises came in its final game, when Kaiserslautern rampaged to a massive first-half lead over Wiesbaden, undefeated in regular-season play. Their eventual 62-54 win – in the face of a determined Warrior comeback attempt – should give the Raiders confidence going forward, their coach said.

“Wiesbaden’s a great team, a well-oiled machine already early in the season and I know they’re missing some kids and it will be a different story next time we play,” Corey Sullivan said. “We’ve got four sophomores, so they need to know how wins like that feel.”

Smaller schools, such as Division III Baumholder and Division II Rota, struggled. The Bucs managed to win a pair of games against much larger opposition. Rota had no wins to show for its long journey, though it will hope the high level of competition faced here will help its traditionally-strong program know what is required to make a deep run in the championships.

Baumholder coach Dewayne Piggé said the tournament was a good experience for his players.

“I think it’s just great fine-tuning for our team with the (championship) tournament coming up in February,” Piggé said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to play against these Division I schools, and I think we did pretty well. It strengthened our competitiveness to another level.”

Against Stuttgart in a 70-38 loss on Monday, however, the Bucs had no answer for senior Wells Bukle, who looked unstoppable on both ends of the court for the Panthers, who evenly split their six games.

Bukle said his team did a lot of things well on Monday, including ball movement and communication, and was happy to have gotten the additional six games under his belt over the weekend.

“There’s stuff we still need to work on,” he said. “I feel that we can get there.”

DODEA teams officially resume their seasons Jan. 12-13.

Stoutamire.dan@stripes.com

Twitter: @DKS_Stripes

Ahmad Johnson of Stuttgart drives for a layup against a Baumholder defender during a holiday tournament matchup Monday, Dec. 18, 2017 in Wiesbaden, Germany. Stuttgart defeated the Bucs to go 3-2 overall in the round-robin tournament.
DAN STOUTAMIRE/STARS AND STRIPES

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