Ramstein Rams blasts Heidelberg, take win

Christine June
415th Base Support Battalion

Ramstein Rams and Mannheim Lady Mustangs dethroned defending champions Lady Generals and Generals of Heidelberg in the 23rd K-Town Christmas Basketball Tournament held Dec. 21 at the Kleber Kaserne Gym.
In the men’s title game, Ramstein Rams blasted Heidelberg Generals 61-45. Lady Mustangs won by a nose over Lady Generals 66-61 in overtime. Third-place honors went to Mannheim Mustangs who defeated Kaiserslautern Panthers 65-53 and Sigonella Lady Jaguars who beat Kaiserslautern Lady Panthers 37-25.
The 415th Base Support Battalion sponsored the annual tournament since 1980, making it the oldest Army Europe holiday basketball tournament. This year’s tournament featured 18 teams throughout for four days at Landstuhl and Kleber gyms. Tournament action was in an Olympic round-robin format, guaranteeing each team at least three games.
Heidelberg and Ramstein played in different tournament brackets and met each other undefeated in the championship game. Leading Ramstein was tournament MVP Austin Layton, who scored his game-high 16 points, and Troy Myles, who scored 15. Andre Barnes and Rodney Bailey led the way for Heidelberg with 11 points each, and adding 10 points each were Danny Jones and Josef McHomes.
“On the court, things just worked well, and we just kept rotating players in and out,” said Larry Glover, Ramstein Rams’ coach. “Our game is running and pressing. I think we just finally wore them down, and then, we just started scoring.”
Point Guard Precious Blackman led Mannheim scoring 21 points and forcing overtime by hitting two crucial free throws. Forward Laura Morant scored 13 points and sealed Mannheim’s victory by sinking a lay up and foul shot for a three-point play.
“It’s been a long time since we beat them, and when they tied the game up, I said we’ve just got to stick with it and play hard defense and play with heart,” said Blackman. “That’s what it was going to take to win the game.”
Forward Tiffany Collins led Heidelberg with 22 points. Guard Katina Miles shot two, three-pointers from the right wing and helped Heidelberg erase an eight-point Mannheim lead in the final two minutes of regulation.
“The tournament went very well,” said Robert Bigelow, Sports and Fitness chief, 415th BSB. “It started out and still is a relief for the soldiers and team players prior to Christmas.”