D-III girls final
Jaguars overcome nerves, Sentinels to win third straight
By AARON KNOWLES | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 23, 2019
WIESBADEN, Germany – It takes a lot to get to the finals of a DODEA-Europe championship basketball game.
Three months of basketball is followed by an intense four-day tournament. And the pressure seemingly increases every step along the way.
The Sigonella Jaguars know all about that. And that experience paid off for the two-time defending champions Saturday in a 35-32 victory over Spangdahlem.
The Sentinels, with plenty of title experience themselves at the Division II level, fell behind in the second quarter and couldn’t quite make up the difference with a fourth-quarter rally.
“One thing that we focused on a lot was staying calm,” Jaguars senior Jessica Jacobs said. “Our solution to them driving it in was working on our defense and locking it down.”
It did not take too long to see that nerves were affecting both teams, as they were not operating at the same level they had earlier in the tournament.
Jacobs opened the scoring with a quick basket and went on to finish with 12 points, tied with Averi Chandler for high-scoring honors for her team.
Sigonella turned an 8-7 advantage at the end of a quarter into a 21-14 halftime advantage and slightly increased it to 30-20 heading into the final period.
Lorelai Vargo started slowly but came alive in the second half and helped the Sentinels get close. She finished with a game-high 17 points.
Spangdahlem was able to pick up the tempo in the last two minutes of the game, but unfortunately scoring 15 points in the final quarter was not enough to overcome Sigonella’s lead.