Heidelberg men reach MLK final
HEIDELBERG, Germany — For a work in progress, the Heidelberg Generals showed a lot of polish in Sunday night’s winners-bracket final of the sixth annual Martin Luther King Jr. basketball tournament.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Heidelberg forward Danny Jones said after the Generals knocked off defending champion Mannheim 57-47.
“By the time of the big tournament at the end of the season, though, we’ll be the team to beat.”
On Sunday night, no one beat Jones or the Generals at the free-throw line. Jones and new Heidelberg teammate Craig Marcelin, an All-Armed Forces guard, scored Heidelberg’s final 12 points from the line in the final 2 minutes, 50 seconds.
Jones was 11-for-11 from the line and Marcelin 8-for-10.
Heidelberg trailed 20-18 at halftime largely because of the inside presence of Mannheim’s burly Paul Riley. Riley collected five offensive rebounds and scored eight points in the ealy going as the Mustangs dominated the boards.
“That's always the way we start out against Mannheim,” said Jones, who was 4-for-4 from the field and flawless from the foul line on a 19-point night. “They always apply the pressure.”
But Riley missed the first 10 minutes or so of the second half, and Heidelberg took 44-38 lead with 3:30 to play by denying Mannheim second shots.
“With a guy that big, you have to keep going at him,” said Marcelin, who scored 17 points and seemed right at home with his new team.
“He’ll get tired and have to come out. When he does, there’s no inside pressure.”
Marcelin, a former Kaiserslautern Panther before transferring to Fort Huachuca, Ariz., four years ago, said the adjustment to a new team wasn’t hard.
“I played with two of these guys four years ago when I was in Kaiserslautern,” he said. “The others I played against.”
Heidelberg moved into Monday’s 2:30 p.m. title game and will face the survivor among Mannheim, Ramstein and Ansbach, the only other teams still alive from the 16-team field, which began play on Friday. The exact opponent will come out of Monday morning’s losers-bracket final at Patton Barracks.
In the women’s field, Heidelberg’s Lady Generals were trying to emulate the community’s men in a winners-bracket final against Würzburg which was being played as this edition of Stars and Stripes went to press.
The women from Ramstein and Mannheim were also still alive as the 10-field women’s field worked its way to the finals, scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday at Patton Barracks.