Mannheim splits last games on home court
By MARK PATTON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 19, 2011
MANNHEIM, Germany — Mannheim senior Gretchen Crockett fought back tears following the 44-24 loss to Wiesbaden on Friday night at Mannheim’s Benjamin Franklin Village Sports Arena.
The tears weren’t because the Lady Bison lost to the undefeated Divison I Lady Warriors. That was expected.
“For me it’s really sad, I was born and raised in Mannheim ….It’s been my life,” Crockett said.
The high school is scheduled to close at the end of the school year, and the boys and girls basketball teams were playing their final regular-season games on their home hardwood.
But while there was a lot of sadness, the night ended on a happy note. The boys defeated Wiesbaden, 55-53, by scoring the winning basket with 20 seconds to play, and the players and fans can always say they went out winners.
“We played together and that’s what this community is all about, we stick together,” Bison coach David Brown said after the game.
Before the girls game began, the seniors on both Bison teams were honored by being individually introduced and then walking together to midcourt.
Mannheim started the girls game with a slow-tempo half-court attack in hopes of slowing down the potent Lady Warrior offense. It didn’t work, and the Lady Bison fell behind 19-5 before going on a 11-0 run to close out the half.
But Wiesbaden pulled away in the second half, leading 31-20 at the end of the third quarter before finishing off the 20-point win. The Lady Warriors were led by seniors LeAndra Thomas and Taylor Dore. Thomas finished the game with 21 points, seven rebounds, six steals and four blocks, while Dore pitched in 10 points and five rebounds.
Kadedra Lea led Mannheim scorers with seven points, while Emma Roberts and Grace Gonzalez had six and five, respectively.
In the boys game, freshman LaJuarren Burks scored on an inbounds pass from Adam Cornelius for the final points as the Bison came back from a halftime deficit to beat Wiesbaden for the second time this season.
“My teammate set the screen for me… (Cornelius) saw, I got it and scored,” said Burks, who finished the game with 16 points.
Burks then snuffed out the Warriors’ final chance by stealing an inbound pass with 0.6 seconds left, igniting a passionate herd of Bison fans who poured onto the court.
CJ Baisden led Mannheim with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Sam Rosario had 11 rebounds and eight assists. For the Warriors, Daniel Harris finished with 17 points and six rebounds, Roscoe Johnson had 12 points and six rebounds and senior Victor Strange had four blocks.
While the games marked the end of the regular season, the Bison could play on the arena court again. The DODDS Europe basketball championships are in Mannheim this week, and if either team makes the division final they will play here.
“I’m not really sad,” Mannheim girls coach Adrian Crawford said after the game, “because I plan on playing in here on Saturday.”