Wiesbaden, Patch split title game rematches
January 16, 2015
WIESBADEN, Germany -- An unlikely winner emerged in Friday night's boys and girls basketball set between the Patch Panthers and Wiesbaden Warriors: the status quo.
Both halves of the doubleheader were rematches of last year's DODDS-Europe Division I championship games. And despite considerable upheaval on all involved rosters, the results were the same as each reigning champion successfully defended its turf.
The Warrior girls cruised 40-16, while the Panther boys held on for a gritty 53-44 victory.
The teams will play again Saturday at Wiesbaden.
BoysPatch 53, Wiesbaden 44: The two-time defending champions needed a pair of furious rallies to outlast the Warriors.
The teams traded baskets and the lead until a flurry of second-quarter Patch points pushed the Panthers ahead by 10 just before halftime.
The Warriors, in turn, dominated the third by ramping up the defensive pressure and seizing the resulting offensive opportunities. Elijah Eddings hit a floater in the paint, Fabrice Niland knocked down a free-throw line jumper and Gavin Adams dropped in a layup as the Warriors pulled ahead 35-31 entering the final eight minutes.
Patch playmaker Pablo Paradis orchestrated a rapid response in the fourth, a decisive comeback that included two close-range scores apiece for active big men Robert Braswell and Colin Whitten. The run restored the Panther lead to eight with three minutes to play, and this time the lead held.
After seeing limited court time last season, Paradis is thriving as a leader for a Panther team that returned just a handful of players from a year ago. The junior was the key that eventually unlocked the Warriors' problematic full-court press.
"It's just composure, really," Paradis said. "We have to play our game, that's all we can do."
Paradis is also becoming increasingly comfortable working with Braswell and Whitten, a pair of long, athletic forwards that run the floor relentlessly and finish capably at the rim.
"They're always open," Paradis said. "They're my guys. I try to reward them."
Braswell scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter. Adams paced the Warriors with 11 points.
The Panthers remained undefeated while handing Wiesbaden its first loss of the season.
GirlsWiesbaden 40, Patch 16: The unbeaten Warriors pulled steadily away from the Panthers for the victory.
Wiesbaden already led by eight by the time Patch scored its first hoop.
The Warriors answered moments later with a Rebecca Russell three-pointer that pushed the lead to double digits, and it would only grow from there.
Catherine Klein, one of two Wiesbaden All-Europe performers back from last year along with fellow forward Cierra Martin, nailed a baseline jumper with two minutes to play in the third to push the advantage to 20.
Russell and Martin tied for game-high scoring honors with 14 apiece, while Martin added 14 rebounds. Klein narrowly missed a triple-double with eight points, 14 rebounds and 10 steals.
Russell, a senior guard, is enjoying every minute on the court after missing last year's title push with an injury.
"I'm having a ton of fun, especially since I didn't get to play in last year's championship game against Patch," Russell said.
The fact that the Warriors are continuing their winning ways despite an exodus of graduated seniors makes it all the better.
"I think we're starting to come together as a team and a family," Russell said.