The Berlin Bears reversed their usual style last week and won a road game and then lost an overtime contest on their home floor. They beat the 8th Infantry Division at Mannheim, 94-89, and lost to the USAREUR- Seventh Army Troops, 107-102.
Berlin built up a big lead in the first half against the Pathfinders in Mannheim, then hung on to defeat a determined effort on the part of the losers, to pull out their first win on the road during the first half of the USAREUR playoffs.
At the half the Bears enjoyed a 17-point advantage, 49-32, and quickly built a 59-38 margin in the first five minutes of the second period before the 8th Division came to life and began to close the gap. The losers managed to pull within six points, 81-75, but Berlin held them off for a few minutes and they settled down.
The Pathfinders played it right down to the wire, but they were unable to even the score after the opening moments of the game, when they led briefly, 6-4.
Alex Taylor was the high man for the Bears with 27 points, followed by Tim Russell and Ray Thomas with 22 and 20. Hank Hemphill was the only other Bear in double figures as he netted 14 points.
James Sindab put in 19 points to lead the 8th Division scoring attack, assisted by Bill Chatman and Bill Jennings who tallied 17 and 16. Next came Mel Johnson with 15 and Charles Jones with 12.
The triumphant Bears returned to Berlin to face the Seventh Army Celtics. This game proved to be the second overtime contest of the year for the home team, who won a similar game against the 32 AADCOM Defenders here on April 6. This time, however, the Berlin squad was not as fortunate.
The Bears appeared ready to pull off an upset Thursday when they took the floor. They played well and controlled the ball during the early part of the contest, and were even rebounding, something the Bears have never been especially strong on, in the first half.
By the time the intermission rolled around, the Berlin squad held a precarious 47-46 lead.
It didnít take long for the Celtics to erase that slim margin, but the Bears were not to be outdone that easily and it quickly became a see-saw battle as the lead changed hands every few seconds for the rest of the contest. Neither side was able to build more than a four-point edge.
For the next 18 minutes the Bears and the Celtics traded baskets, but the Berliners were unable to break away.
The Bears got the ball with 14 seconds left and called time out. When they came back on the floor they quickly passed the ball to Alex Taylor and he drove in to make a lay-up, but Dewey Williams leaped high into the air and blocked the shot and forced the game into overtime.
Berlin got behind quickly but came to life briefly to take a 94-93 lead and then fell behind again. Turnovers and several missed free throws were the keys to the defeat. Late in the overtime period, the Bears lost the ball and the chance to tie it up or go ahead, on bad passes and interceptions. The Celtics got the ball and dribbled, using up the clock and playing for the last shot. They got it and won the game 107-102
Tim Russell tallied 23 points in the loss, and J.J. Smith, playing his last game for Berlin, and Alex Taylor each nabbed 21. Ray Thomas pooped in another 16 to round out the scoring. For the Celtics it was Dewey Williams with 17, Roy Sipp and Clarence Grey with 16, and Jameson Paige with 15.
The loss dropped the Bears into a tie for fourth place with the 32nd AADCOM, who also has a 3-4 record.