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BAMBERG, Germany – Coming into DODDS Division-II season-opener Friday night, Mannheim girls basketball coach Adrian Crawford just wanted his team to play a strong defensive game against defending champion Bamberg.

The Bison did that and much more, beating the Lady Barons via the mercy rule, 53-12. Scoring stopped officially mid-way through the fourth quarter.

“We learned a lot from last year,” Crawford said. “We just wanted to come and play great defense and really establish ourselves as a contender for the title.”

Mannheim’s defense did not allow a point until the final minute of the first quarter after the Bison was already ahead 15-0.

“We know we struggle a little on offense – so we just wanted to come out and play great defense,” Crawford said..

After taking a 28-12 halftime lead, Mannheim’s defense again asserted itself - allowing six second half points, all of which were scored after the mercy rule had already determined the official score.

Mannheim Sophomore Grace Gonzalez, who was the game’s high scorer with 16, also lead the Mannheim defense with eight steals. She intercepted several Bamberg passes, starting off quick breaks down the court.

“Coach gave me a lot of pointers,” said Gonzalez of her ability to pick up on the opponents’ offensive movements and create turnovers. “I have to give it to him.”

Crawford credited the steals to the pressure caused by his defense. “Our guards generated a lot of pressure on the ball to allow a lot of our other players to get a lot of steals.”

Mannheim’s third quarter offense was led by another star in Infinity Baisden, who tallied nine of her 12 points in the period. Mannheim’s Gretchen Crocket followed Gonzalez and Baisden with 10 points of her own.

Bamberg’s leading scorer was Diandra Quashie, who had seven.

“It’s only one game in a long season, but I felt like we played good defense tonight and the score board shows it,” Crawford said.

blottenbergerd@estripes.osd.mil

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