***image1***Cross-town rivalries Kaiserslautern and Ramstein boy’s and girl’s varsity basketball teams played each other in arguably the most exciting games of the European Division I Championships.
The championships pitted seven Division I teams in three-days of action, Feb. 23 to 25 in Mannheim.
Ramstein Lady Royals grabbed their fourth division title in five years as the Kaiserslautern Lady Raiders took home runner-up honors.
In boy’s tournament action, the Ramstein Royals also took home runner-up honors, and the Kaiserslautern Raiders earned third place.
To get their fourth title, the Lady Royals had to face their neighbor Lady Raiders in the Feb. 25 championship. In a ping-pong of a game, Ramstein fought hard against Kaiserslautern with a win of 41-37.
“It was a very exciting game,” said Lady Royals coach Cecilia Grosselin. “They would be up; we would be up, and then, they would be up. It was just constant lead changes.”
The Lady Royals were up by two in the last 50 seconds of the game when freshman Dallas Norman came off the bench to hit a shot from the line that put her team up by four.
“The gym was electric to say the least,” said Lady Raiders coach Corey Sullivan. “Ramstein came from nowhere during the tournament, but we knew they were good.”
The Lady Royals, seeded fourth in the tournament, took the title from the number-one ranked Lady Raiders.
In fact, Kaiserslautern had defeated Ramstein twice in regular season play.
“I’m really proud of the girls because I had a very young team this year,” said Grosselin. “This one meant a lot because these girls really had to work hard to win.”
Another tale of exciting cross-town rivalry can also be found in the Kaiserslautern and Ramstein semifinal game held Feb. 24.
“It was a game of the ages,” said Kaiserslautern Raiders coach Clinton Robinson. “There were big shots made on both ends, and it was nip-and-tuck the whole way.”
To advance to the finals, the Royals had to go into overtime with the Raiders, 58-56.
“We played our best basketball right at the end of the year,” said Ramstein Royals coach Len Tarnowski. “It was just great. The kids have to be happy. I know I am.”
In the championship game, the Royals faced the Würzburg Wolves Feb. 25. After trailing most of the game, the Royals outscored the Wolves 14 to 7 in the fourth quarter but came up short, 41-40, as the buzzer sounded.