Hanau boys, girls face teams from Italy in finals
February 26, 2005
(Click here for tournament scores and summaries)
MANNHEIM, Germany — It will be Hanau vs. Italy in the European Division II basketball championships Saturday at Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena.
Hanau’s top-seeded boys earned the right to defend their title with a 61-49 victory over third-seeded Mannheim in a semifinal on Friday. Hanau’s girls atoned for last season’s semifinal exit with a 39-29 victory over top-seeded Mannheim.
Hanau will face two champions from Italy who are making their first foray into the D-II tournament after previously playing in D-III. Aviano’s unbeaten boys defeated Naples 76-57, while the Naples girls edged Vilseck 23-21.
In the boys’ game, Hanau’s outside-inside combination of sophomore guard Jeremy Marshall and senior center Marcus Fontanez did the damage for the defending champions. Marshall, connecting on five of 10 three-point tries, scored 29 points, and Fontanez added 20 points as Hanau continued its unbeaten campaign.
Fontanez also pulled down 15 rebounds, blocked two shots and had two assists.
Mannheim, which lost to Hanau in last year’s title game, had no answer for Marshall and Fontanez. Earl Lee topped the Bison with 12 points while Jamal Womble had 10.
In the other boys semifinal, Aviano junior Dustin Miller poured in 27 points, and teammate Tony Williams added 21 as the Saints (17-0) romped past Naples, last year’s European D-III champs. Noah Stevenson led Naples with 18 points.
In the girls’ semifinals, sophomore Kyri Bye-Nagel scored 21 points and All-Europe center Katisha Fauntleroy collected 11 rebounds to lead Hanau.
“We knew we had to work harder,” Bye-Nagel said of the adjustment Hanau made after falling to Mannheim 29-26 on Feb. 11. “We had to spread our zone defense farther to the outside.”
Taking the zone outside helped Hanau limit Mannheim’s Nyesha Green, who entered the game averaging more than 20 points a game, to just 11. Green was 3-for-7 from beyond the three-point arc, but all of them came with her team trailing by at least eight points.
In the second game, junior forward Mikal Willmer scored the final four points for Naples, which held on for a two-point victory despite being outscored 11-6 in the final period.
Division I semifinals
Ramstein and Würzburg advanced to the D-I final with close wins Thursday night.
Ramstein’s Brennon Relaford banked in a missed shot from the left side of the lane with one-tenth of a second left in overtime to hand the Royals a 60-58 victory over Kaiserslautern.
“I didn’t know how much time was left,” said Relaford, who scored 14 of his game-high 18 points after halftime. “I just put it back up.”
Relaford’s heroics came seconds after Kaiserslautern’s Brian Hill had muscled up a putback shot in the lane with 10 seconds left. Ramstein rushed the ball down the right sideline, and Ste’phan James attempted a three, which bounced into Relaford’s waiting arms.
In the other D-I semifinal, Würzburg held off Wiesbaden 45-41 in a game in which both sides shot poorly in the first half. Wiesbaden shot 14 percent from the floor (3-for-21), while Würzburg managed just 29 percent on its way to a 14-11 halftime lead.
“I think everyone was a little too excited,” said Würzburg coach Allen Archie. “You have to give Wiesbaden a lot of credit. They fought back.”
Almost all the way back.
The Warriors, who trailed by as many as 13 in the second half, reduced the deficit to one with 1:36 to go. Then Wiesbaden’s David Bradford stole an inbounds pass and moved to the basket, only to be whistled for charging and fouling out with 44 seconds to play. The call so irked Wiesbaden coach Carl Johnson that he drew a technical that gave Würzburg’s Mike Ramble two free throws, which he made to help win the game.
Division III playoffs
Action in the Division III tourney continued Friday with quarterfinals and semifinals. Ansbach defeated London Central 61-42 and Rota beat Vicenza 65-44 in the boys semifinals, while Ansbach was playing Baumholder and Sigonella was taking on Rota in the late girls semis. Title games will be Saturday afternoon.