Lancers break Ramstein’s stranglehold on D-I girls title
MANNHEIM, Germany — Following their regular-season loss to Ramstein in December, Lakenheath girls basketball coach John Hedberg had a prediction: His team would not lose to Ramstein again this season.
That prediction came true Saturday at Mannheim’s Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena and with it, as Lakenheath defeated Ramstein 59-57 in the European Division I championship game.
Ramstein had won the past three Division I titles.
During pregame introductions, even announcer Tom Richards seemed to echo the game’s eventual outcome when he said, “Perhaps it will be their day.”
“It was a storybook ending,” Hedberg said. “You couldn’t have asked for a better game.”
The teams set the tone by trading baskets in the early minutes of the game. Thanks to the sharpshooting of Alex Mackay, Amanda Hood and Ebony Morris, Lakenheath led 20-11 after one quarter.
Ramstein bit into that lead in the second quarter with Krissy Grosselin and Raquel McCullum feeding each other for shot after shot. Grosselin finished with 25 points and McCullum 18.
Ramstein struggled against the Lancers’ defense, Ramstein coach Cecilia Grosselin said.
“Everything they were putting up was going in,” Grosselin said. “We’re not a good rebounding team and they made a couple of shots that really got us.”
Ramstein trailed Lakenheath 29-26 at halftime, setting the stage for an exciting two quarters. With less than seven minutes left in the third quarter, Ramstein overtook the Lancers on a basket by April Brown.
Lakenheath answered, and later took a 42-33 lead. The Royals again battled back and Grosselin tied the game at 44 on a shot at the third-quarter buzzer.
Mackay and Hood, who normally average seven to eight points a game, posted career highs with 19 points and 14 points, respectively. Trinity Bursey finished with 18 points.
“I think Alex and Amanda played the games of their lives,” Hedberg said.
Neither team got more than two points ahead of the other and after several hasty timeouts, Lakenheath ran down the clock to seal the 59-57 victory.
“Nobody thought we could win and we went and played the games of our lives and we did it,” Hedberg said.