Generals in U.S. Forces title games
HEIDELBERG, Germany — Intensified defense in the second half Friday night landed Heidelberg’s Army-Europe champion men and women in Sunday’s championship games of the 2003 U.S. Forces-Europe basketball championships at the Patton Barracks gym.
Both teams defeated the Army-Europe runners-up from Mannheim in the winners-bracket finals of the double-elimination tournament.
Heidelberg men 70, Mannheim 65
Despite trailing by double-digits at halftime, Heidelberg wasn’t ready to concede.
“Don’t count us out,” coach Kelvin Howell said at the intermission. “We’ll be all right.”
The Generals turned out to be better than all right. All-Armed Forces guard Craig Marcelin, who dislocated his left shoulder in last month’s Army-Europe title game, hit three straight three-pointers to open the second half. Marcelin, who had three points in the first half, finished with 17.
Marcelin turned his defensive skills toward slowing Mannheim captain Tiwan Jarrett as the Generals unleashed a suffocating man-to-man defense that was the key to victory, according to Howell.
“We really don’t play man-to-man very well,” Howell said, “but the offense fed off it tonight. We finally got some shots to fall.”
Point guard Andre Barnes (18 points) sealed the victory by going 4-for-4 from the foul line line in the final minute.
Mannheim, which got 19 points from Will Tomkins, fell into Saturday evening’s elimination game against Ramstein, the top seed from USAFE which the Mustangs beat 62-45 on Thursday.
The winner of that game advanced to Sunday’s 2 p.m. championship game against Heidelberg.
Heidelberg 87, Mannheim 67
The Lady Mustangs were ahead at halftime, but struggling.
Top scorers Tonya Weaver and Cathy Holmes were in foul trouble, and the unbeaten Lady Generals were in no mood to be forced to play a Saturday game.
“Mannheim always makes a run,” Heidelberg coach Joseph Souza said, “but we buckled down on defense and pushed up the tempo in the second half. Their big scorers had four fouls, so they couldn’t play defense.”
Nor could Mannheim — which has five players — substitute. The result was a 55-point second half for Heidelberg, which got 24 points from Tiffany Collins, 22 from Katrina Miles and 21 from Doris Gore.
Mannheim was to face Ramstein in Saturday’s losers-bracket final.