Ramstein comes up short in championship

Airman Edward Drescher
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***The Ramstein Rams varsity men’s basketball team came up short in their bid for the U.S. Forces Europe championship, falling 80-69 to Heidelberg Sunday.

The USFE championships are a double elimination tournament that puts the best of the Air Force against the best of the Army to find the true champion.

Ramstein and Heidelberg met Sunday and Ramstein had the upper hand coming in. Ramstein beat Heidelberg April 1 and earned a bye to the championship game. After their loss, Heidelberg beat Lakenheath on Saturday and entered the championship with no room for error.

Heidelberg jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first game and led 42-29 at half-time.

“They jumped out on us like no one has all year,” said Jason Glenn, Ramstein assistant coach. “We were a little rusty after our bye and they were still on a high after winning Saturday.”

Craig Marcelin paced Heidelberg with 20 points and led them to an 88-78 victory in game one. Center Austin Layton was the leading scorer for Ramstein with 27.

Game two was much of the same for Ramstein. Trailing 52-35 at the half, they had to attempt to mount a comeback again.

“We got down early and we burned a lot of mental and physical energy trying to come back in both games,” said Coach Glenn.

Ramstein took a big blow to their comeback attempt when Layton went down in the second half with an ankle injury. Layton was Ramstein’s leading scorer this season and their only inside presence. After the injury, Ramstein couldn’t maintain a steady push and Heidelberg held on for the win.

“The chemistry was there for them and our shots weren’t falling,” said Glenn.

Marcelin led Heidelberg again with 25 points and Al Elliot followed with 17. Layton scored 25 points to lead Ramstein despite going out injured in the second half.

“Even though we lost it was an outstanding season,” said Glenn. “We took the USAFE championships and I am proud of our guys.”

The Ramstein women’s team also came up just short, losing to Mildenhall 63-55 Sunday. Mildenhall, led by Jeri Fears, got to the free throw line 38 times and finished 23 of 38 for the game. Ramstein didn’t help thier own cause by committing 28 turnovers in the game. Despite hurting themselves with fouls and turnovers, Ramstein was in the game until Mildenhall’s Bree Griffiths went 5-for-6 from the line in the final minute. Fears led Mildenhall with 26 points and Brenda Jones led Ramstein with 15.