The Ramstein Rams beat the Lakenheath Eagles 84-78 in the U.S. Forces in Europe basketball tournament held Sunday on Ramstein.
The Rams finished the season at 73-3, winning all seven Air Force and Army tournaments held throughout the year, becoming the first
Ramstein team to accomplish both milestones.
“We were trailing 49-32 at halftime and went on a 38-21 run over the first 14:12 of the second half to tie the game at 70,” said Wesley Jordan, Ramstein Rams team captain. “The lead switched hands a few times before Felton Scott hit a contested 15-foot turnaround jump shot with a couple minutes to play.
“He hit one of two free throws … to put us up by one,” Jordan said. “Then, Cedric Thomas stole the ball in the backcourt and converted a layup for an 81-78 lead, which we extended to the final margin of 84-78 with free throws.”
The Rams were able to win the tournament due to the work put in over the season.
“As a team, we’ve worked extremely hard for months now with one goal in mind, to win this championship,” Jordan said. “We won six tournaments in a row leading up to it and had to face adversity throughout, so I was proud of our guys for the heart and determination we showed.”
Team Ramstein faced tough opponents throughout the season, but always managed to come out on top.
“The competition was fierce during this tournament,” said Kevan Sutton, Ramstein Rams head coach. “Over the course of regular season and tournament play we noticed that we continually got our opponent’s best effort, which set the stage for amazing games and finishes all year long. The championship game on Sunday versus Lakenheath was no exception.”
For Jordan and his teammates, losing wasn’t an option in the championship game.
“It was a very physical and competitive game. Each guy out there wanted to win badly,” he said. “Both teams knew each other’s strengths so it was tough to execute on offense. We have a lot of respect for them and they bring out the best in us.”
The Eagles were able to challenge the Rams, but still came up short.
“Lakenheath brought out the best in us in terms of digging deep within ourselves to pull out that victory when we were staring defeat right in the eyes,” Sutton said. “We couldn’t have played a better team. We have the utmost respect for our counterparts to the north.”
For Sutton and his players, their playing style in games is simple.
“Our approach to tournaments and games were relatively the same, play each game with a certain level of intensity and passion and optimum results come from that,” he said. “Our motto this year was to not let anybody down no matter what the circumstance.
“There isn’t anything I or anybody else wouldn’t do for a member of this team,” he continued.
“Ramstein basketball is a fraternity of men who call themselves 2012 U.S. Forces in Europe champions.”