Mannheim men, women claim USAREUR basketball crowns
March 24, 2008
WIESBADEN ARMY AIRFIELD, Germany — Army Europe basketball in 2008 belongs to Mannheim.
No ifs, ands or buts about it.
In marked contrast to last year’s double “if-necessary” title runs here by the Heidelberg women and Wiesbaden men, Mannheim’s men and women, winners-bracket champions both in this four-day, double elimination event, took care of things Sunday with the minimum playing time.
Mannheim’s Lady Mustangs tested the depths of basketball hell before rallying to a 42-37 victory over the Schweinfurt Lady Magicians, and Mannheim’s men followed with a 97-76 romp over the two-time defending champion Wiesbaden Eagles.
Mannheim women 42, Schweinfurt 37: When the going gets brutal, keep on going, said Mannheim captain De’Atra Holmes.
“In the first half, I kept telling the team ‘We’ve got to make a game of it,’ ” Holmes said as the Lady Mustangs endured as miserable a half played in the two-year-old building. “You’ve got to keep them hyped up. If you get one going, she can pass it along to another one.”
Hyping Mannheim up was easier said than done Sunday as the Lady Mustangs went an abysmal 4-for-36 from the floor in the first 20 minutes, including a stretch of 11:23 without scoring.
Schweinfurt, after falling behind 10-4 in the game’s first eight minutes, went on a 19-2 run to go up 23-12 at intermission. Schweinfurt did most of its damage during the rally from the foul line — 7-for-10 by Michelle Curtis, 2-for-2 from Catherine Betts and 1-for-2 by Valerie Myricks in the final 9:22 of the half.
Rather than regroup for the next game, however, Mannheim set to work salvaging this game. Holmes, who played sparingly in the first half, came on to grab six rebounds and score all seven of her points in the first 10 minutes of the second half to lead the Lady Mustangs back. Two free throws by Angie Fields put Mannheim ahead at 32-31 with 8:31 to go, and the teams stayed close until Maynesha James made a three-pointer to put the Lady Mustangs up 42-36 with 1:42 to go. Tournament MVP Sharon Montgomery led Mannheim with 10 points; Patreese Jones scored 13 to lead Schweinfurt.
Mannheim men 97, Wiesbaden 76: Wiesbaden, which fell behind 7-0 in the early going, went on an 11-2 run to trail just 42-39 at halftime. Then the roof fell in on their shot at a third straight title.
“We came out with lots of enthusiasm to start the second half,” said Mannheim’s Reginald Hawkins, who led all scorers with 33 points. “We all have a lot of confidence in our shots.”
With good reason. Hawkins scored 16 points in the first 10 minutes of the second half, including 2-for-3 on three-pointers, as the Mustangs went on a 29-17 run over that span.
Marsquell Jackson backed Hawkins with 21 points; Charles Clark added 12 and Marcus Baker 10 for Mannheim.
Marques Berry topped Wiesbaden with 25 points; inside presence extraordinaire Phileas Williams added 19 points and grabbed 15 rebounds.
All four teams that played Sunday afternoon advance to the Army-Air Force Final Four tournament April 17-20 in Aviano, Italy.