Ramstein girls confident heading into tournament
Who’s going to win this week’s European championships?
“Whoever is peaking at the end of the season has the best chance,” said Craig Lord, coach of the unbeaten Naples girls’ basketball team.
That bodes well for Division I champ Ramstein.
“We’ve beaten the big three teams, (Heidelberg, Kaiserslautern and Wiesbaden), the teams that gave us the toughest games, in the last week,” Lady Royals coach Kent Grosshuesch said Tuesday. “Our girls are pretty confident.”
The Lady Royals have reason to be confident: They’ve beaten every team they’ll play at Europeans, which tip-off at 8 a.m. Wednesday at six gyms in the Mannheim-Heidelberg area.
“We’re the only school in our division which played each of the others twice.”
Ramstein will be led by All-Europe candidate Kendra Lenoir, a double-double waiting to happen, along with rebounder Crystal Richardson, pivot Kaylen Bannister and backcourt boss Sierra Stayberg.
Like Ramstein (14-0 overall, 6-0 in D-I), Naples has yet to lose this season. But unlike their D-I counterparts, the Wildcats will have to traverse some unfamiliar ground to stay unbeaten. Naples vanquished II-South champion Vilseck and Würzburg last month in Aviano, Italy, but has yet to be tested against teams such as II-North champion Baumholder and runner-up SHAPE.
“I call it ‘February Fever,’” Baumholder coach Carter Hollenbeck said by telephone on Sunday.
“Six or seven teams out of the 10 can realistically push for the title. They’re gelling at the right time of the year.”
Hollenbeck pointed to Bitburg, the surprise ’06 champs who went 5-9 this season.
“Don’t count them out,” he warned. “(Coach) David Turner knows what he’s doing.”
Hanau, the tiebreaker champion of Division III-South after finishing league play at 6-2 along with Giessen and Hohenfels, drew the top seed in the tournament always affected by the wildcard-type presence of Rota.
The III-South triumvirate will renew its acquaintance this weekend, joined by Italy entrant Vicenza and high-scoring Chakeira Gilbert, in the title hunt in the attempt to dethrone defending champion Sigonella (2-8).
But beating Rota, D-III champions in 2005 and toughened by a season of hard contact against Spanish club teams, will be a tall order. Rota, seeded second, fields a pair of near-6-footers in 5-11 Nicole Edwards, “very mobile,” according to coach Greg Jacobs, and 5-10 Ta’mara Williams, the “best leaper” Jacobs said he’s ever had.
Brussels, the champions of III-North in a tiebreaker with Menwith Hill, will clash again with the Lady Mustangs, this time in the D-IV event. Reliesha Burns, Kaitlyn Oppenheim, Caitlin Quinn and Elizabeth McVicker lead the experienced Lady Brigands against a smallest-schools field that also includes Incirlik and Ankara from Turkey and Lajes from the Azores.
Girls’ European basketball
Pools, seedings and venues(Overall records in parentheses)
Division I(Wednesday-Friday)Pool A-1, Ramstein (14-0); 4, Wiesbaden (8-6); 5, Patch (6-9)Pool B-2, Kaiserslautern (12-3); 3, Heidelberg (8-6); 6, Lakenheath (8-6); 7, International School of Brussels (0-14)Venues-Wednesday: Heidelberg High School; Thursday: 1 and 2:15 p.m., semifinals 6 and 7:30 p.m. at Sullivan Barracks gym, Mannheim; Friday: 3rd place, 9 a.m. at Sullivan; championship, 6 p.m., BFV Sports Arena.
Division II(Wednesday-Saturday)Pool A-1, Naples (15-0); 4, SHAPE (9-3); 5, Black Forest Academy (8-6); 8, Würzburg (7-7); 10, Bitburg (5-9)Pool B-2, Baumholder (9-5); 3, Vilseck (13-1); 6, Aviano (8-7); 7, Mannheim (2-12); 9, AFNORTH (3-11)Venues-Wednesday: BFV Sports Arena and Sullivan Barracks gym, Mannheim; Thursday: Tompkins Barracks, Schwetzingen; Friday: Semifinals 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. at BFV Sports Arena and Sullivan; Saturday: 3rd place 11:45 a.m. at Sullivan, championship, 1 p.m. at BFV Sports Arena
Division III(Thursday-Saturday)Pool A-1, Hanau (9-5); 4, Vicenza (8-4); 5, Hohenfels (11-3); 8, London Central (3-11); 10, Sigonella (2-8)Pool B-2, Giessen (10-4); 3, Rota (Unavailable); 6, Ansbach (4-10); 7, American Overseas School of Rome (4-8); 9, Marymount International School of Rome (4-6)Venues-Thursday: Heidelberg High School; Friday: Patton Barracks, Heidelberg; Saturday: Semifinals, 10:15 a.m. at Sullivan and Coleman Barracks, Mannheim, 3rd place 2:30 p.m. at Sullivan, championship 4:30 p.m. at BFV Sports Arena.
Division IV(Wednesday-Friday)Seedings-1, Brussels (10-2); 2, Menwith Hill (11-5); 3, Bamberg (0-14); 4, Incirlik (Unavailable); 5, Lajes (Unavailable); 6, Ankara (Unavailable); 7, Milan (1-9); 8, Alconbury (0-14)
Venues-Wednesday, Tompkins Barracks, Schwetzingen; Thursday: 8 and 9:15 a.m., semifinals, 3:30 and 5 p.m. at BFV Sports Arena and Sullivan Barracks, Mannheim; Friday, 3rd place, 9 a.m., championships 2:30 p.m., both at BFV Sports ArenaAdmissionWednesday-Thursday: FreeFriday-Saturday: Adults $5, students $3 at all gyms