By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 24, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Every point counts, and that couldn't have been more evident than during a game between two Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball teams who battled it out on the court March 21 -- with the winning shots coming in the form of two clutch free throws after time had expired.
The 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment's Heat Check edged out the 1st Bn., 14th Avn. Regt. Head Hunters, 80-79, in overtime at the Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center, and although both teams were formidable, in the end it all came down to determination, fouls and free throws, according to Capt. Dan Prial, Heat Check team captain.
Heath Check only had five players to utilize throughout the game, so there was no switching out players, but that wasn't something that was going to keep the team down, the coach said.
"It was tough for us because we only had five players and they're a great team," Prial said. "We played pretty much as well as we could -- we hit a couple big shots and it just went our way this time.
"We haven't been very competitive in any game so far (this season), but during this game once we were winning by three at half time, we just tried to stay in the game -- I think adrenaline took over at that point," he continued. "Everyone was tired and we haven't come this close to winning a game all season, so if this was going to be our one shot, we were going to make sure we got carted out of here on a wheelchair if we had to."
The game got off to a good start for Heat Check, although Head Hunters took possession to start. The 1-145th was able to recover the rebound to take it back for a three-point shot to take a lead early on.
The 1-14th wouldn't fall far behind, though, as they settled into their stride to keep up with their opponents, and both teams seemed in it to win it as they ping-ponged the lead throughout much of the first quarter.
Neither team seemed able to get a leg up in the first quarter, but it was Heat Check who managed to pull away in the second quarter as the Head Hunters' defense couldn't manage to keep up.
The 1-14th's offense was lacking, also, as their shooting game slowed, throwing up brick after brick, allowing their opponents the chance to get the rebound and pull away.
Coupled with a string of fouls against Heat Check, the 1-145th was able to take a comfortable lead, 28-20, with just 5 minutes remaining in the half.
Head Hunters weren't giving up so soon, though, despite being down by nearly 10 points.
They came back with an aggressive offense and tightened up their defense, surprising their opponents and eventually taking the lead, proving that it was still anyone's game.
Both teams once again bounced the lead back and forth in the remaining minutes of the game, but it was Heat Check who would be back on top at the end of he half, leading 37-34.
Both teams were more than capable of putting up a fight, and the 1-145th kept their game strong with a three-point shot to start the half, extending their lead, but The Head Hunters wouldn't be left too far behind as they remained on their opponent's heels throughout most of the third quarter.
Despite their ability to stay close, Heat Check maintained their lead heading into the final quarter and managed to pull away with another string of fouls against them, allowing them to sink multiple free throws to take an almost 10-point lead.
Head Hunters once again tightened up their offense to close in on their opponents, managing to trail by only one point with seven minutes remaining.
The 1-14th seemed to tire out the opposing offense as they pushed to take the lead, but Heat Check managed to push through as Head Hunters continued their aggressive playstyle, continuing to foul and allowing for more free throws, giving the 1-145th a six-point lead at the 2-minute mark.
Both teams fought hard in the final seconds as Head Hunters managed to close the scoring gap and both teams went shot for shot as the 1-14th managed a layup to tie the game, 70-70, as the final buzzer sounded sending the game into overtime.
Heat Check went into overtime strong, starting off with a 3 pointer to take the lead, and both teams were giving it all they had as they fought in the final moments, staying within 1 point of each other.
Heat check had possession in the final seconds and was behind by 1 point, and although the Head Hunters managed to stop a buzzer beater, they did so too aggressively as a foul was called allowing Heat Check to sink two free throws to win the game, 80-79.