Seedings largely hold as hoop finals begin
February 23, 2011
MANNHEIM, Germany — Except for a sluggish start, things went just fine Wednesday for the Hohenfels boys as the four-day 61st DODDS-Europe Divisions I and II basketball tournaments opened at four sites in the Mannheim-Heidelberg area. Division III begins its three-day tournaments Thursday.
“We got off to a slow start,” said Hohenfels senior guard J.J. Calhoun after his Tigers, second-seeded in Division II, went 3½ minutes without scoring to open what would become a 68-55 victory over Baumholder, the 12th seed. “We weren’t used to the officiating. It was hard to figure out what they were calling.”
The Tigers, however, soon got their bearings. Consecutive buckets in the next 25 seconds by Leon Atkins, who would finish with 12 points, got the score tied at 4, and three straight field goals by Calhoun fueled a 14-4 run the rest of the quarter. Hohenfels went on to lead 36-24 at halftime, then really got things in gear.
“The second half was marvelous,” said Calhoun, who finished with 13 points. “Chris (Sanchez) was a monster on the offensive boards, and Jamie (Tompkins, who scored a game-high 20 points) did what he always does. I’d give us an eight out of 10 for the second half.”
The defeat was the second of the day for Baumholder, undone by turnovers, 19 in the first half alone, against Hohenfels. The Bucs, who dropped a 46-42 verdict to ninth-seeded Vicenza to open their tourney, got 18 points from Tahrell Harris and 16 from Alexander Johnson against Hohenfels.
Even with two losses, the Bucs are far from out of the title picture.
This year, the 15 D-II schools adopted a knockout, single-elimination format beginning with today’s play. Wednesday’s pool-play games merely determined positions in the single-elimination bracket. D-II schools begin playing for keeps Thursday.
In Wednesday’s other D-II boys games, top-seeded Naples turned back No. 11 Ansbach 44-34 and No. 10 Bitburg 50-41 to earn a day off Thursday. As the top seed in their three-team pool, the Wildcats earned a bye for today’s first round of knockout play.
When the Bitburg game started, it looked as though the bye was a foregone conclusion. Naples jumped ahead 15-2 in the first 6:02 and led 29-16 at halftime.
Bitburg, however, made a third-quarter run to move to 36-31 after three periods, and Bitburg got as close as 40-37 with 4:51 left in the game before Naples regained control.
“We just had to execute,” said Naples center Nigel Alexander, who scored a game-high 20 points and snared three rebounds, two of them off the offensive glass in the late going. “We slowed the clock down.”
The top-seeded Aviano girls also earned a day off when they downed defending D-II champion Bamberg 39-20 Wednesday afternoon. Coming after Aviano’s surprisingly close 37-32 win over Baumholder earlier in the day, the victory clinched the Pool A title.
In the D-I tournaments for boys and girls, both straight pool-play events, Wednesday’s early games were unsurprising.
Ramstein’s boys, the two-time defending champs seeded third this year, crushed No. 9 SHAPE 63-22, and the No. 6 International School of Brussels boys downed No. 7 Vilseck 54-44.
In Heidelberg, the No. 3 Kaiserslautern girls, runners-up last year, turned back ISB 33-23, and No. 7 Vilseck won for the sixth time in their last seven games, 35-20 over No. 6 SHAPE.
Play continues Thursday at six sites — the BFV Sports Arena, Sullivan and Coleman Barracks in Mannheim; Patton Barracks and Heidelberg High School in Heidelberg; and at Tompkins Barracks in the Heidelberg suburb of Schwetzingen. Games start at 8:30 a.m. at all six sites; final start times are 4 p.m. at Coleman and Tompkins, and at 5:45 p.m. at the other venues.
There is no admission charge until Saturday’s finals.