Support our mission

AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy — Naples boys basketball coach Bruce Collins summed it up pretty well.

"Whenever you come to Aviano, you better have your ‘A’ game," he said. "If not, you’re in trouble."

Collins’ boys squad and Craig Lord’s Naples girls squad were in trouble all weekend.

The Aviano’s boys and girls remained unbeaten with dominating victories on Saturday after even more convincing wins Friday. Both are 10-0.

Jamal Tuck led a balanced scoring attack with 17 points as the boys rolled to a 65-35 triumph Saturday. His three-point shot with 5:12 left in the third quarter had the Saints up 57-17, putting the mercy rule into effect. Reserves for both squads finished the game while the clock ran continuously. Tuck, a senior guard, scored 18 points Friday as the Saints won in the same manner, finishing with a 61-34 victory.

Alyssa Lane had 21 points and seven rebounds to lead the girls to a 51-18 victory Saturday, the only game of the four in which the mercy rule did not come into play. On Friday, Lane had 17 points and 13 rebounds in a 59-18 victory.

All four coaches said they were surprised at the margins of victory, because Aviano-Naples games usually determine bragging rights in Italy.

"I expected the games to be closer," Aviano girls coach Greg Mead said.

It was fairly close early. Naples adopted a slowdown tactic, with senior guard Valentina Lee controlling the pace just over the half court line. As a result, the Wildcats trailed only 13-5 after one quarter and 25-11 halftime.

"The plan was to shut down their breaks, because that’s what killed us Friday night," Lord said. "Unfortunately, [Aviano] has second and third offensive options and our zone was terrible. We have to work on that."

Coming up with a game plan to stop Aviano’s one-two punch of Lane and freshman center Jasmine Mailoto isn’t easy. Mailoto had 11 points and eight rebounds Saturday after posting similar numbers (13 and 10) Friday.

"Having Jasmine in the middle gives us a huge target that defenses have to respect," Mead said. "And that opens up the outside."

Lane hit three three-pointers and drove to the basket for several more points as defenders raced to cover her.

Aviano’s boys don’t have as dominant an inside presence as the girls. So they take advantage of their quickness, pressure defense and unselfish offense.

"You make one mistake and they’re going to hurt you," Collins said.

His team had more turnovers at halftime (18) than it had scored points midway through the third quarter. By then, Tuck, Sean Outing (14 points) and Josh Nunez (12) had totaled more than enough to carry the Saints the rest of the way.

Naples was hurt by the loss of three key contributors to other activities, Collins said, and fielded only eight players. Freshman center Nigel Alexander led the way each day for the Wildcats, with 13 points and 12 rebounds Saturday and a 13-point effort Friday.

author picture
Kent has filled numerous roles at Stars and Stripes including: copy editor, news editor, desk editor, reporter/photographer, web editor and overseas sports editor. Based at Aviano Air Base, Italy, he’s been TDY to countries such as Afghanistan Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. Born in California, he’s a 1988 graduate of Humboldt State University and has been a journalist for almost 38 years.
twitter Email

Stripes in 7



around the web


Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign-up to receive a daily email of today’s top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign up