A spirited Division I girls basketball split spruced up an otherwise gloomy weekend of embarrassing blowouts.
The SHAPE Spartans and two-time defending Division I champion Wiesbaden Warriors traded hard-fought victories in a key divisional matchup at Belgium. Host SHAPE won the opener 30-25 on Friday, while Wiesbaden exacted revenge by a 33-27 margin Saturday.
Longtime SHAPE star Begona Rodriguez Bravo turned in one of the strongest efforts of her distinguished career in Friday's win, matching Wiesbaden's output of 25 points while adding four steals and three blocked shots.
The Spartans outscored Wiesbaden 22-10 after halftime to earn the win. Corban Jackson and Rosette Gray led the Warrior response Saturday with matching double-double efforts. Jackson went for 15 points and 19 rebounds, while Gray totaled 10 points and 21 boards.
The win was the first of the year for Wiesbaden, the reigning champ rocked by attrition in the offseason.
Ramstein 40, Kaiserslautern 1: Friday at Ramstein, the Royal defense nearly blanked the overwhelmed Raiders.
The Royals trounced their Division I archrival behind a 10-point, six-rebound effort from Amethyst Rorie. Ashley Mateo scored eight points while Bella Rodriguez and Desiree Palacios chipped in six apiece.
The loss was the first of the year for the Raiders, who swept Division III Ansbach last weekend to open their season. Ramstein is 3-0 on the year.
AFNORTH 18, Brussels 15: Friday at Brunssum, Netherlands, the Lions shook off a four-point halftime deficit to earn a comeback win.
Sinem Butun and Natasha Arrington combined for 11 points and each grabbed 10 rebounds. Maria Vahrenhorst matched that rebounding total for Brussels.
AFNORTH outscored the Brigands 8-1 in the fourth quarter to pull ahead. The win was the first of the young season for AFNORTH, while Brussels remains winless.
Vicenza 54/49, Naples 26/18: At Naples, a dominant pair of efforts by post Adrianna Lovelace led the visiting Cougars over their rival.
Lovelace dominated an undersized Wildcat interior with 21 points and 16 rebounds Friday and 24 points and 16 rebounds Saturday. Freshman Jordan Wakefield offered capable support with 21 points Friday and 14 more Saturday.
The wins added to Vicenza's streak of four straight blowout wins to start the season. Naples dropped to 2-2 on the year.
Bitburg 40/44, Alconbury 0/6: At Bitburg, the defending Division II champions cruised into the holiday break undefeated.
Alexa Landenberger and Ellise Rasmussen starred for the Barons, producing respective points totals of 24 and 22 points on the doubleheader. Rasmussen added a total of 18 rebounds, while Landenberger produced an unusual double-double on Saturday with 10 points and 10 steals.
Black Forest Academy 45/35, Baumholder 5/3: At Kandern, Germany, the host Falcons blasted the Bucs.
Kaitlyn Richter led the way for BFA with 14 points on Friday, while Cailynn Campbell produced nine points in each game for the unbeaten Falcons.
BFA and Bitburg will meet Jan. 22-23 in rematches of last year's Division II European title game.
Sigonella 40/46, Florence 7/2: Saturday at Sigonella, the host Jaguars won a pair of games played with six-minute quarters due to Florence's delayed arrival.
Marika Wojtal scored a combined 30 points and Daria Baker totaled 20 in the sweep. Baker added a combined nine steals while Wojtal totaled nine assists.
The wins even Sigonella's record at 2-2 entering the holiday break. Florence is 0-4 with a Jan. 22-23 visit to powerhouse Vicenza looming.