This article has been corrected

WIESBADEN, Germany - Top-seeded Kaiserslautern and sixth-seeded Patch got off to strong starts Thursday with a pair of victories each as the Division I girls tournament in the DODDS European Basketball Championships got under way.

It wasn’t easy for either team. The Red Raiders needed overtime to overcome fourth-seeded Lakenheath 40-45 after a 37-19 victory over Vilseck to open the day. The Panthers knocked off defending champ Heidelberg 35-20, then struggled to beat International School of Brussels 28-24.

A topsy-turvy day left second-seeded Wiesbaden, No. 3 seed Heidelberg, Lakenheath and No. 5 seed Ramstein also fighting for semifinal spots with their final pool play games Friday morning. Lakenheath plays Vilseck, Wiesbaden tackles Patch, Heidelberg faces ISB and Kaiserslautern squares off against Ramstein in those games.

The top four teams meet in the semifinals Friday night for a right to play in Saturday’s championship.

Results from the first round of pool play action Thursday:

Lakenheath 52, Ramstein 49: With four seconds left in regulation, Ramstein freshman Breanna Martinez hit a three-pointer to tie up the score at 44 and send the fifth-seeded Royals into overtime against No. 4 seed Lakenheath. Both teams scored quick baskets in the extra period, but Lakenheath persevered to put the game away.

Ramstein had built an early lead against the Lancers. In the second quarter, the Royals were up by 10 and led 24-17 at halftime.

Going into the second half, Lakenheath coach Anna Archer got her team to settle down, telling them to “try to control that excitement” that comes with tourney play “and play smart,” she said.

For the Royals, the game marked an improvement for a team of mostly freshmen and sophomores, according to Ramstein coach Carter Hollenbeck.

“It was a disappointing loss,” he said. But, “we took the No. 4 seed to overtime, which is pretty good.” Lakenheath junior Kristen Reed led all scorers with 24 points, including three 3-pointers. Martinez was the top scorer for Ramstein with 20 points.

Patch 35, Heidelberg 20: The sixth-seeded Panthers upset No. 3 Heidelberg with a decisive victory. Heidelberg stayed within striking distance for the first two quarters of play, down 13-6 at halftime. The Lions, entered in their final tournament as the school is closing later this year, played tough defense but struggled to find the net at times.

In the third quarter, Patch stretched its lead to double figures and never looked back.

Patch didn’t beat Heidelberg during the regular season, but the young team of four freshmen and three sophomores is finally starting to play some solid ball, said Patch coach Bill Ratcliff.

“I told the girls no one expects us to win,” he said. “In the tournament, everyone’s record sets back to zero. They’re a very young, hungry team.”

Junior Becca Hess scored 12 points for Patch and notched 14 rebounds and five steals.

Kaiserslautern 37, Vilseck 19: It was a tale of two halves when Kaiserslautern faced Vilseck. Vilseck, the No. 8 seed, came out charging, playing toe-to-toe with the No. 1-seeded Raiders, ending the first quarter in an 8-8 tie. The tempo changed little in the second quarter, with Kaiserslautern hanging on to a slim 12-10 margin.

But in the second half, the Raiders outscored the Falcons 25-9, scoring 16 points in the final quarter to win.

“It was nice to see my girls show up and play in the second half,” Kaiserslautern coach Corey Sullivan said.

With a 12-1 regular season record, Kaiserslautern is arguably the team to beat, along with Wiesbaden, who dealt the Raiders their lone defeat so far this year.

“I think they’re all going to be tough,” Sullivan said. “I’m not going to underestimate anybody.”

Against Vilseck, Kaiserslautern junior Johanna Quinn scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Senior Teranda Dunlap added 10 points and junior Alana Dickerson had six points. Senior Grace Gonzalez had five steals for the Raiders.

Wiesbaden 36, ISB 16: No. 2 seed Wiesbaden jumped out to an early lead against the International School of Brussels, building a comfortable 20-9 margin by the end of the first half.

Wiesbaden hadn’t faced ISB, a No. 7 seed, this year since the school plays in another region, and Wiesbaden coach Jim Campbell said he was unsure what to expect.

“I was happy we came out and got the win, and I was able to use a lot of my bench,” he said of his squad of 13.

Seven players scored for Wiesbaden and more saw court time. Senior Lauren Barry led all scorers with 12 points and was the top rebounder for the Warriors with six. Campbell also noted the play of junior Phylecia Faublas, who grabbed six assists and five steals.

In the second round of pool play Thursday:

Heidelberg 36, Wiesbaden 32: The defending Division I champions roared back at the threat to their throne.

The third-seeded Lions staved off elimination with a hard-fought win over the second-seeded Warriors. Heidelberg’s Haley Benson and Wiesbaden’s Meghan Smith tied for high-scoring honors with 14 points apiece. Smith scored 10 in a vanquished fourth-quarter comeback effort.

Patch 28, ISB 24: The sixth-seeded Panthers completed a 2-0 first day with a narrow win.

Rebecca Hess scored 14 points, including three three-pointers, in accounting for half of Patch’s point production.

ISB won’t be proceeding past its pool-play game against Heidelberg early Friday.

Kaiserslautern 50, Lakenheath 45: The Lancers’ second overtime game of the day went the other direction.

The Raiders overcame a 28-14 halftime deficit to force overtime and stun the Lancers. Top-seeded Kaiserslautern moves on to the semifinals with its pair of wins.

The Raider duo of Johanna Quinn (20 points) and Teranda Dunlap (14, including four three-pointers) outdueled the Lancer pairing of Kristen Reed (17 points) and Jourdan Hodge (12).

Lakenheath can punch its semifinal ticket with a Friday morning win over Vilseck.

Ramstein 34, Vilseck 18. Eight players notched points in the Royals’ thorough win over the eighth-seeded Falcons.

The Royals salvaged a 1-1 day with the victory and need to beat top-seeded Kaiserslautern to have a chance to advance to the semifinals.

The Falcons were mathematically eliminated from advancing past Friday morning’s pool-play finale.;

CorrectionThis article originally stated that Kaiserslautern and Patch qualified for the semifinals. While both teams might reach the semifianls, they have not qualified yet.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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