Ramstein’s roll continues through victory over Heidelberg in D-I final
MANNHEIM, Germany — They could be called the Running Royals.
The Ramstein girls basketball team had run the table this season with 17 straight victories. The last time they met Friday night’s opponent, Heidelberg, the Royals went on a 34-0 run two weeks ago to turn a squeaker into a rout.
And even though Heidelberg had an eight-game winning streak of its own coming into the Division I championship game, it was Ramstein that responded like clockwork, running off 10 straight points to start the game on its way to a 46-28 victory.
Kendra Lenoir did the major damage. The 5-foot-9 senior guard had 15 of her game-high 23 points in the second half.
“We have an experienced team, five seniors and five juniors,” coach Kent Grosshuesch said. “And we came through. Eighteen-and-oh, that’s pretty good.”
Four players scored during Ramstein’s opening run. The Royals also came out in a 2-3 zone, and Heidelberg struggled shooting from outside.
The Lions weren’t surprised by the zone, according to coach Jon Mittenzwey, but couldn’t take advantage of open looks.
“They were going to see if we could shoot them out of it,” he said. “But we couldn’t buy a basket. They stayed in their zone, and I don’t blame them.”
Ellen Tolsma finally broke the Lions’ drought with a three-pointer late in the frenetic first quarter, which ended at 14-4. Another three by the Lions’ Fallon Puppolo in the second kept Heidelberg within range.
At the same time, the Royals — including their big gun, Lenoir — went cold, and scrappy Heidelberg hung on, trailing just 22-13 at the half.
“That was very positive,” Mittenzwey said. “We had a chance, but [the Royals] were going to have to go cold. They didn’t.”
“We were getting outrebounded,” Grosshuesch said. “Rebounding is hustle. You’ve got to want the ball.”
The Royals wanted it more in the third quarter, and Lenoir got her stroke back. She scored on an offensive rebound and two short shots as Ramstein inched further ahead.
Puppolo nailed another three-pointer but Heidelberg was down 32-20 entering the final period.
Then the Royals put down the hammer. As she had in the third, Lenoir scored three straight baskets to start the fourth. She later capped the victory by driving the length of the floor for a fast-break layup that made the score 40-22 with four minutes to go.
Ramstein 46, Heidelberg 28Heidelberg......4 9 7 8—28Ramstein......12 10 10 14—46Scoring—Heidelberg: Ellen Tolsma 7, Corinne Payne 6, Fallon Puppolo 6, Deandra Rodgers 4, Caitlin Donnelly 3, Shae Rogers 2; Ramstein: Kendra Lenoir 23, Lataiya Harrison 5, Sierra Stayberg 5, Crystal Richardson 4, Lisa Domingo 3, Sara Sublousky 2, Kaylen Bannister 2, Brandy Hale 1, Mackenzie Bannister 1