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MANNHEIM, Germany – DODDS-Europe’s smallest schools opened their European Division III girls’ tournament with No. 1 seeded Menwith Hill, No. 2 Rota and No. 3 Brussels, the defending champion, all posting big wins.Menwith Hill got things started for the Big 3, thumping No. 8 Lajes, 44-18, behind balanced scoring from four-year starter Monique McCreary, her fellow seniors Rachael Solini and Alex Furrow, and sophomores Kaia Pierce and Arielle Rogers.McCreary led the way with nine points, Solini added seven and Furrow, Pierce and Rogers six each in a game which was never in doubt. The Lady Mustangs led 23-4 at halftime and were to take on No. 4 Sigonella, a 32-21 victor Thursday morning over No. 5 Incirlik, later Thursday.Friday’s D-III schedule begins with final pool-play games in the morning and crossover semifinals in the afternoon. The D-III championship game is scheduled for the BFV Sports Arena in Mannheim at 3 p.m. Saturday.Yasmine Weddle accounted for 14 of the 18 points Lajes scored. She made 12 of them in the fourth quarter. Talia Casey tallied the other four points for Lajes, the Azores-based school which was playing its first game of the season against a DODDS Europe team.Rota, which got 13 points - six of them on three-balls - from Jessie Panis, 12 from Brianna Ammons and 10 from Alanna Shelton established themselves as title contenders with a 51-13 defeat of Alconbury.The Lady Admirals led 25-7 at halftime.Unlike Lajes, almost equally remote Rota gets to travel to Alconbury every January for games against Brussels, Alconbury and Menwith Hill. This year, Rota dropped 34-29 and 35-34 verdicts to Menwith Hill.No. 3 Brussels, which lost twice to Rota in January and split its games against Menwith Hill, also enjoyed a big halftime lead – 26-8 – Thursday against Ankara’s Lady Trojans en route to a 38-12 victory.Brussels took the rest of the morning off. The Lady Brigands are to play Rota at 5:45 Thursday afternoon.“It was a good start for us,” Brussels coach Dedxter Bohn said. “Most of our players, except for Alexandra (McVicker) have no tournament experience.”

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