Lots of practice, second-half rally give Mildenhall women USFE basketball title
April 4, 2005
BAMBERG, Germany — The Mildenhall Lady Marauders capped a season of pick-up and intramural games broken up by lots of practice sessions by winning the U.S. Forces Europe women’s basketball championship Sunday with a 63-55 victory over the Ramstein Lady Rams.
“We prepared really hard for this tournament,” said Mildenhall guard Cheryl Trappnell, who scored 14 points, 12 of them as the Lady Marauders rallied from a 24-18 halftime deficit. “We put in a lot of hard work.”
It showed throughout this three-day, double-elimination event. Mildenhall, which doesn’t enjoy a regular league season such as the Army-Europe Northern Region schedule Ramstein plays, defeated all three of its opponents here, Army champion Kitzingen and runner-up Ansbach on Friday and Saturday, and losers-bracket champion Ramstein on Sunday.
Mildenhall won Sunday’s title game by getting to and scoring from the free-throw line. The Lady Marauders hit 23 of 38 free throws, led by Jeri Fears’ 8-for-13 performance. Fears, who led all scorers with 26 points, got to the line by taking entry passes from her teammates and penetrating the Ramstein defense to put up layups and draw fouls.
“That’s what we shoot for,” Fears said, “getting to the line.”
Mildenhall also boasts an annoying full-court press that produced 28 Ramstein turnovers.
Ramstein, led by 15 points from Brenda Jones, led by 11 points during the first half, but eventually wore down against Mildenhall’s relentless pressure and the fatigue of breaking the press. Many of Mildenhall’s trips to the line came from reach-in fouls by Ramstein defenders too spent to stay in effective defensive position.
Bree Griffiths, who scored 13 points, iced the game by going 5-for-6 from the line in the final minute.
Although Ramstein enjoyed the experience edge gained in tests all winter against Army women’s teams, Mildenhall was never overawed.
“We felt we had a good enough team to win before we got here,” Trappnell said.