All who attended “Senior Night” Feb. 3 at Ramstein High School were rewarded with a dazzling display of Ramstein Royals basketball as the varsity boys’ team outscored the visiting Hohenfels Tigers 74-34.
After tipoff, a scuffle between the teams for a loose ball resulted in Hohenfels winning the first possession, but Ramstein would go on to win just about everything else.
The Tigers’ first possession ended abruptly when Royals’ senior forward Sid Boggs inflicted a monstrous block, denying a Hohenfels shot and sending spectators into an uproar.
In the ensuing play, senior guard Nick Bautista kept the momentum going, burying a three-point shot from the left wing, just a few feet away from a stand full of rowdy Royals supporters. Within 15 seconds of play, Ramstein took the early 3-0 lead, and they would not relinquish it.
With three minutes left in the first quarter, senior forward Brendan Hicks also fueled the crowd’s energy. After Bautista delivered a laser of a pass to him near the rim, Hicks caught the ball and instantaneously gave a Hohenfels defender a flashy spin move on his way to the basket. Hicks laid the ball in to make the score 19-3.
Perhaps the most memorable performance of the night came from senior guard Kendell Allen and his career-high 31 points. Allen proved his offensive prowess from everywhere on the floor, slashing through the defense to score at the rim and knocking down jump shots, including four 3-pointers.
“I’m going to miss the team,” Allen said after the game. “It’s fun playing (at Ramstein) and enjoying all the hype that comes with playing basketball here.”
Allen plans to study human factors psychology at Hampton University, Virginia, and hopes to continue to play basketball. His fellow seniors shared similar sentiments about playing at Ramstein.
“I’m going to miss the coaches, the crowd and my teammates, especially because we’re really close,” said Boggs, who hopes to become an Air Force special operator after graduating from the ROTC program at Norwich University, Vermont.
“I’m going to miss the Royal Nation, my team and my coaches,” said Bautista, who intends to study chemical engineering at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “They made this experience very wonderful for me.”
“I’m going to miss the brotherhood, the moments with my team, the coaches — we have the best coach,” said Hicks, who is waiting to hear from the Air Force Academy in Colorado, and three schools in Texas: Baylor University, Texas Christian University, and Texas A&M University.
Head coach Andrew O’Connor, who is finishing up his 12th year coaching basketball at Ramstein and seventh with varsity boys, spoke about what he’ll miss from his senior players.
“They’re excellent competitors,” O’Connor said. “I just love watching them compete. It’s just fun going to battle with them. Win or lose, it’s just fun watching (these) guys compete.
“I’m very proud of their effort tonight,” O’Connor continued. “I thought they came out with a lot of energy. It’s the same thing I’ve seen from them for three years now. It’s passion, energy (and) commitment to the team. I’m just very proud of them.”
The Ramstein seniors will play one more regular season game together on Tuesday when they take a short trip to face their rivals, the Kaiserslautern Raiders, who got the best of the Royals earlier this season.
The Royals resume their quest for a second consecutive championship on Feb. 22 at the Department of Defense Education Activity-Europe Division I basketball tournament at Wiesbaden High School.