***image1******image2***The talk was that the Ramstein Rams were going to grab the men’s championship and the defending women’s champions, Heidelberg’s Lady Generals, were going to keep their title at the 2004 U.S. Forces Europe basketball Final Four Championship held April 1 to 4 at the Vogelweh Fitness Center.
And, that’s exactly what happened.
Both teams swept through the championship that pitted the top two men’s and women’s basketball teams from the U.S. Air Forces in Europe and U.S. Army Europe tournaments held in March.
Just as they had in the USAFE Championship, the Ramstein Rams had an easy run of the tournament. The only close one was the championship game held April 4 against the USAREUR Champions, the Heidelberg Generals, 84-82. With that win, the Ramstein Rams ended a five-year Army reign as the men’s Final Four Champions.
The Ramstein Rams play in the Army’s Community Level Basketball season, which they also dominated, ending the season with 12 wins and one loss, which was to Heidelberg at the beginning of the season. Since then, they were the team to beat, not only in the season but also at the Final Four Championship. Unlike the number 2 USAFE team, Aviano Dragons, the Ramstein Rams knew what the Army’s top two teams, Heidelberg and the number two USAEUR team, the Mannheim Mustangs, could throw at them.
“There’s nothing new they can show us,” said Larry Glover, Ramstein Rams coach, at the beginning of the Final Four Championship. “This is the first year that I can say, instead of us worrying about them; they need to worry about us.”
The following Ramstein Rams players were voted USFE all-stars: Kenny Bean, Austin Layton, Brandon LeBlanc and Troy Miles.
Going for their “three-peat,” Heidelberg’s Lady Generals also had an easy run of the tournament, facing their Army rivals, the number two USAEUR team, Mannheim’s Lady Mustangs, in the championship game, 78-69.
“We are the defending champions and I hope we come and defend our title,” said Tiffany Collins, Lady Generals’ forward, who was the high scorer for Heidelberg throughout the season and the Final Four Championship. “We want to closeout the season and bring the championship back to Heidelberg.”
The USAFE women’s champions, the Lady Rams finished third in the tournament after being upset by Mannheim’s Lady Mustangs twice, in game 3, 83-79, and in game 9, 75-59. The Lady Rams easily defeated Mildenhall’s Lady Mauraders in game 5, 59-34.
The following Ramstein Lady Rams players were voted USFE all-stars: LaKeshia Fullwood, Nichole Howard and Carrie Pederson.