***image1***The Ramstein Lady Rams were crowned the 2006 U.S. Air Forces in Europe Basketball Champions in Spangdahlem this weekend, as they pulled away in the final minutes to take a hard-fought 63-55 victory over the Mildenhall Lady Marauders. In the men’s final, the tables were turned as Ramstein lost a 70-64 nail-biter to Mildenhall.
The ladies final got off to a scorching start as Ramstein and Mildenhall traded baskets in the opening 10 minutes, and the Lady Rams pushed to a 13-12 lead. After a brief lull that saw the Lady Rams work the paint while Mildenhall gunned from beyond the arc, Ramstein went on a 14-2 run at the end of the first half to take a 35-22 lead into the break.
Mildenhall stormed back in the second half, and took the lead for the first time at 51-49 with five minutes remaining. Ramstein stiffened after that, and Mildenhall never scored again from the field.
Ramstein went up 56-51 with a minute remaining, and drained seven out of ten free throws down the stretch to ice the victory and reverse the outcome of the 2005 final.
For the Lady Rams, center Jennifer Brooks and forward Ashonda Williams dominated the inside, finishing with 25 and 19 points, respectively. Mildenhall’s Ashley Westbrook led all scorers with 26 points, while teammate Bree Griffiths bagged 17.
In the men’s final, Ramstein leaped to an 11-2 lead in the opening minutes, but Mildenhall recovered and used a 19-6 run to help claim a 37-28 advantage by half time. Ramstein clawed their way back during the second half, and recaptured the lead at 51-50 with nine minutes remaining.
***image2***During the next seven minutes, a see-saw battle ensued, as the lead changed seven times and neither side led by more than four. In the last two minutes, Mildenhall converted more free throws to secure the 70-64 victory.
All four teams will represent USAFE and advance to the Army/Air Force Final Four Basketball Championships, being held this weekend at Vogelweh Fitness Center. There, they will meet teams from Wiesbaden, K-Town and Kitzingen.
The women’s All-Tournament team included Ramstein’s Brooks, Williams, Patricia Phillips and Brandi Jones, Westbrook, Griffiths and Devin Rodriguez-Perez from Mildenhall, Kim Cabelka and Victoria Drefs from Aviano, and Kim Elliott from Incirlik.
The men’s All-Tournament team included Ramstein’s John Baptiste, Corey Dixon and Charles Scott, Reggie Minton, Felton Scott and Cory Fletcher from Mildenhall, Chris Moed and James Taylor from Aviano, Marvin Harris from Incirlik and Willis Campbell from Lakenheath.