Eagles soar over Guardians, 55-50
February 14, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (February 14, 2013) -- The 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Eagles soared to a win in intramural basketball game with superior shooting and a bit of luck.
The Eagles beat the 1-58th Airfield Operations Battalion Guardians 55-50 in a game that had spectators biting their nails up to the last shot at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility Feb. 11.
"I feel great about tonight's win," said Michael Delaney, coach for the Eagles. "We have a little bit of everything on our team -- big guys down low, good rebounders, great guards and some excellent shooters."
The game started off as the Guardians took possession and drove the ball down the court, but were unable to score. The Eagles grabbed a rebound and tried to open up the game but were also unsuccessful in scoring during their first possession.
1-58th AOB retook possession of the ball and decided to start the game right by scoring the first points with a 3-pointer. Their opponents wouldn't be overshadowed, however, as they quickly returned to show they were in it to play hard and scored immediately after to stay on the Guardian's heels.
As the game progressed, the Guardians managed to slowly pull away from their opponent's just minutes into the first half with their seemingly superior offense, and a foul by the Eagles allowed 1-58th AOB to sink three free throws to extend their lead.
Another 3-pointer later and the Guardians secured a healthy lead against their opponents of more than 10 points.
The Eagles offense seemed unable to keep pace early in the game as they fell further behind, but their defense seemed to strengthen and they went to work to slow down their opponent's momentum.
The strategy seemed to pay off as they were able to creep up on the Guardians and close the scoring gap, but more fouls against the Eagles made it harder for them to make up for lost ground.
Both teams began to find their footing as they played aggressively, visibly tiring themselves early in the game with more than seven minutes remaining in the first half.
Fatigue seemed to settle in harder for the Eagles, however, and they continued their streak of fouls, which allowed the Guardians to score two more free throws and retake a healthy lead, 20-12.
1-58th AOB dominated their opponents, but that dominance didn't last much longer as they seemed to drop their guard, allowing the Eagles' offense to break through and close the gap.
The Eagles managed to score shot after shot as their defense went to work as well and held their opponents in place long enough to come within one point of the Guardians with less than two minutes in the half.
It wasn't long before a player for the Eagles fired a 3-pointer to take the lead for the first time in the game, 27-25.
As the clock wound down, the 1-58th AOB scrambled to regain their momentum and hit a 2-point shot just before the buzzer to tie the game at 27-27 at the half.
The Guardians would have to step up their game if they wanted to retake the lead and they took possession to start the second half and started strong by scoring within seconds.
Not to be outdone, however, the Eagles remained on their opponent's heels and drove the ball down court for a layup to keep the game tied.
Both teams seemed evenly matched at this point, but soon the Guardians' offense slipped as they missed a 2-point shot, allowing 1-11th the opportunity to score and take the lead.
The half was still young and neither team let up their aggressive play as the lead bounced back and forth, but the Eagles streak of fouls continued throughout the second half and allowed their opponents to gain headway with every free throw.
Despite the multiple fouls against them, the game remained tight and neither team showed superiority with less than 10 minutes remaining in the second half.
The Eagles managed to beef up their defense to make up for the free throws they gave up to their opponents, and their offense went to work as well as they recovered the ball to shoot multiple 3-pointers to break the back-and-forth scoring and take the lead.
With two minutes remaining, the Guardians proved they were still in the game as they managed to come back on their opponents and close the gap, staggering the lead for the remainder of the game.
The Eagles managed to take the lead with seconds remaining in the game, but it was a foul by the Guardians that allowed 1-11th two free throws that ultimately sealed their win.
Delaney said it was their superior shooting and good team mix that allowed them to come back and beat their opponents.
"I feel like we're better on the outside shots, but we're just lucky because we've got a little bit of everything," said Delaney. "I think we have a good chance to win this tournament."