Intramural basketball gets under way
Max Toussaint, a forward for the 4-10 Bulldogs, catches some air during a practice layup before a game against the Soldier Support Institute Jan. 25. This year, 25 teams are competing in winter basketball intramural leagues.

FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- It may not be the NBA or even the NCAA, but intramural basketball at Fort Jackson is garnering a lot of attention from Soldiers and civilians alike.

The winter basketball season, which began in mid-January, boasts 25 teams for the active-duty and recreational leagues.

"We have more teams than we have had in a while," said Cindi Keene, sports coordinator. "It is going to be an exciting season with Commander 's Cup points and bragging rights on the line."

The top four teams from each league will compete starting April 25 in a double-elimination tournament. Soldiers must comprise the entire team for those competing as active-duty teams. If one civilian is on a team, they compete in the recreation league.

"I'm playing for the unit," said Dennis Stribling, a center for the Soldier Support Institute's team. "It is also a great way to have fun and stay in shape, but it is all about camaraderie."

This season the 80th Division Swamp Foxes will be defending back-to-back titles from last year's winter and summer leagues. The 171st Infantry Brigades team, which is made up of Soldiers from the 120th Adjutant General Battalion (Reception) and 171st Inf. Bde. Headquarters, placed second in last year's winter league. The Soldiers Support Institute was runner-up in the summer league.

Benjamin Cruz, who plays guard for the 4th Battalion, 10th Infantry Regiment Bulldogs, is starting his first season at Fort Jackson.

"It isn't always about winning. I just love the sport," Cruz said. "I have played in intramural basketball leagues at other installations, and it does wonders for morale. The bonds we form on the court are brought back to the unit and it spreads good morale."

Make no mistake, however, the leagues provide plenty of excitement for both spectators and players. For example, on Tuesday, SSI and the 187th Ordnance Battalion were slugging it out all night. Down by three points, SSI's David Chapman nailed a three-pointer at the buzzer to send the game into overtime. The 187th went on to win the game, 61-52.

So far this season there are still eight undefeated teams including the 187th. The rest includes MEDDAC, the Veteran's Administration, McEntire Air National Guard, the 81st Regional Support Command, Legion of Doom, Nightflyte and 1st Battalion, 61st Infantry Regiment.

MEDDAC, is one of several teams that has its hopes set on this season's title.

"We have a lot of good players," said Brian Parker, the team's coach. "We work very hard and practice every lunch break we can. A lot of our guys have been playing together for a while now and we know good things are going to happen. We just need to play solid defense."
Teams play games twice a week at Coleman and Vanguard gyms. Some teams play on Mondays and Wednesdays and the others matchup on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16