Lakenheath, Alconbury end regular season with split
By WILLIAM HOWARD | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 16, 2019
RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A slow start for the Lakenheath girls basketball team led to a loss Saturday, but the Lakenheath boys changed their game in time for a win against visiting Alconbury.
A strong start by the Dragons allowed them to coast through the rest of their 41-25 victory over the Lancers, who only scored six points in the first half.
“We did a great job of pressing, getting defensive rebounds and pushing the tempo,” Alconbury coach Jose Nunez said. “When we play that kind of basketball, I don’t think there’s anybody who can take us. Especially with all the weapons that we have on offense.”
Alynna Palacios led her squad to victory with 18 points and 13 rebounds, senior Kira Thorne finished with 13 points and seven rebounds and Marissa Kastler had eight points and six blocks.
The Lancers outscored the Dragons in the second half but couldn’t catch the hefty point lead.
Lakenheath’s Nadia Brooks ended the game with 12 points, followed closely by Seraphina Raas with nine. Bryanna Wallace had 15 rebounds.
Nunez said the Dragons are confident heading in the European championships next week.
“We’re number two seed and we’ve pretty much dominated all of our Division III opponents,” he said.
A switch to a less aggressive defense allowed Lakenheath to secure a second half advantage en route to a 55-50 win against Alconbury.
In the first half, Alconbury was up by six points as the Lancers got into early foul trouble.
Then Lakenheath mirrored Alconbury’s 2-3 zone in the second half, slowed the pace and turned the game into a chess match.
“We made them earn their shots and then we were more patient on offense,” Lakenheath coach Curt Uelman said.
Patience paid off for the Lancers as they went up by two points in the third quarter and maintained their small lead for a win.
Lakenheath’s Daniel Uelman led his team with 21 points, followed by Kyrie Sloan with 16 points and Maurice Thomas with nine.
Alconbury’s Derick Caples was the top scorer of the game with 22 points and his teammates Spencer Swapp had 11 and Will Besterman had eight.
The end of the regular season is bittersweet for five of the Lakenheath seniors as they’ll play their final high school basketball games in the European championships next week.
“We know what we have to do, we know we have a good plan and they’re confident that they can get something out of it if they can just do their best,” Uelman said. “They’ve had good careers here.”