Army defeats Air Force in Fort Meade Intra-Service Championship
Army defeated the Air Force 78-71 in the Fort Meade Intra-Service championship game.

Throughout the intramural basketball season, the 741st Military Intelligence Battalion had a strong hold on the competition, with the unit being represented in both the Division I and Division II championships.

The two 741st teams continued their winnings ways last week when they combined to represent the Army in the 2013 Meade Inter Service All Star Basketball Tournament.

Army swept through the tournament, which featured teams from the Air Force, Marines and Navy, to take home the Joint Service Commander's Cup Trophy on April 11.

Army defeated the Air Force 78-71 in the championship game, with Deion McClenton's 20-point performance and Marques Barrett's 16 points leading the team to the come-from-behind victory.

"I'm glad we won," McClenton said. "I'm just glad we came back at the end."

On the first day of the two-day tournament, which was held at Murphy Field House, Air Force defeated Navy; and Army defeated the Marines.

The Marines and Navy were sent to the loser's bracket, while Army and Air Force competed for a spot in the finals.

Army player James Caldwell said his team came out strong in the semifinal game and aimed to quickly put away the Air Force team.

"We know how dangerous they are if we keep it close," he said. "We wanted to come out and make a statement."

Army's victory over the Air Force in the semifinal game set up a matchup between the Marines and Air Force on Friday for a final shot at the championship. With a dominating second half, the Air Force defeated the Marines 70-54 earning a spot in the finals.

Caldwell said that in the final, his team would continue to focus on what made it a dominant force during the intramural season -- defense.

"No matter how many points we score, our team is known for its defense -- and that's what has won us championships," he said.

While Army wanted to continue to use its successful plan, Andre Snowden of Air Force said his team would use insight gained from the previous day's matchup against the Army to tweak its game plan for the championship.

"We had to make an adjustment to their big man; we made a late adjustment," he said. "I think we'll be OK today."

The start of the championship game was an up-and-down battle with teams exchanging points and remaining within one point of each other throughout the first 10 minutes. With 12 lead changes in the half, neither team was able to pull away, but William Tillman's late-half score gave the Air Force a 30-29 lead at halftime.

Tillman's 14-point half propelled the team to the lead, while three Army players -- Barrett, McClenton and Dararius Evans -- had seven points in the half.

At the start of the second half, Air Force created distance and held a 10-point advantage. Midway through the half, however, Army cut into the deficit and a Caldwell jump shot gave Army a 58-56 lead. Army held on to the lead by switching to a man-defense.

"That's when everything went our way," McClenton said of the defensive switch.

Snowden led the Air Force with 20 points, but couldn't lead his team past Army's offense.

Following the win, Army players said they were excited to continue their dominance on the court.

"We won the [intramural] championship, we won this," McClenton said. "We're pretty happy about this."

Page last updated Mon April 22nd, 2013 at 14:49