Hunter team tops Stewart for 3rd ID basketball crown
April 7, 2011
HUNTER ARMY AIRFIELD, Ga. - It was a team made up of Family Members and retirees that topped all of the 3rd Infantry Division on the basketball court, as the Hunter Army Airfield champions, team Hardwork, defeated the Fort Stewart champion MEDDAC team, 58-53 in the 2011 3rd ID Basketball Championship.
After defeating the Savannah Marines in the post championship just two days before, Hardwork squared off with MEDDAC at Hunter's Tominac Fitness Center, March 30, to find out who was the best in Stewart-Hunter land.
MEDDAC finished the regular season 17-2 to win the regular season title, before narrowly defeating HHC, 2HBCT 46-44 in the Fort Stewart championship to advance to the 3rd ID title game.
Hardwork was led by point guard CJ Richardson, whose 21 points led all scorers.
The home team got on the board first with a Jimmy Farmer free throw, but MEDDAC sunk two buckets in a row to take the early 4-1 lead.
Then the back-and-forth field goals started, kicked off by a rare four-point play from Famer. MEDDAC's Roderick Randall answered with a trey of his own, followed by Richardson's first of the night.
The field goals continued, as Jonathan Twitter sunk a bucket from behind the arc, and Famer's three-point play gave Hardwork the 14-9 advantage.
The three-point barrage changed MEDDAC's style of play.
"We tried to start off in a man (defense) then we ran a zone but what those guys were able to knock down a lot of three-point baskets, so we had to extend the zone," Randall said. "We have to give all credit to those guys, they hit big shots."
Right before the half, Richardson hobbled off the court with a twisted ankle, causing fear to ripple through the minds of the Hardwork players and fans. His team held their breath for a minute, but believed in the toughness of their leading scorer.
"We were worried a little bit, but he's a strong, tough guy," said Farmer, who finished the game with 15 points. "We knew he was going to come back."
Down 31-27 at the half, MEDDAC came out roaring in the second half to tie the game 31-31, capped by a bucket from MEDDAC's leading scorer, Shaun Watkin, who had 15 points in the game.
But the home team wouldn't be defeated on their own court. Famer scored two buckets and a free throw to bring Hardwork's lead back to five points.
For the Hunter champs, their biggest weakness also played to their advantage.
"Our weakness is probably size and our age - there's a whole lot of old cats on this team who have been around for awhile," said Farmer. "But we use our age to our advantage, all of us are pretty good ball players. We've all been playing for a while, and we know how to play ball together."
MEDDAC made a run at the end of the game. With one minute left to play, DeAnthony Rosser sunk a shot off a rebound and was fouled, nailing the three-point play to tie the game at 51-all. Rosser finished the game with 10 points.
But the hosts wouldn't be defeated, and Eric Dunnam, a retiree, scored a layup to take back the lead and a free throw each from Rosser and Farmer sealed the win.
In the end, MEDDAC's poor free-throw shooting cost them the win - they were 6-17 from the free throw line, versus Hardwork's 77-percent accuracy.
"We struggled on our free throw shooting," Randall said. "We have good shooters, confident shooters, but that free throw thing definitely bit us in the tail."
"We've got a whole lot of good players - we were real deep this year - so the game plan was just play our game," Farmer said. "All season we had great three-point and free throw percentage and we did that tonight, too. If it ain't broke, don't fix it."