By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 6, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The 2017 Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball Post Championship Tournament kicked off this week and, for one team, the tourney got off to a good start.
The A Company, 1st Battalion, 145th Aviation Regiment's Heat Check took on the Headquarters, Headquarters Company, 164th Theater Airfield Operations Group Warhawks during the first championship game of the season at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center April 4, but it was the Warhawks that would come out on top, edging out their opponents, 58-51, to advance in the tournament.
"We just tried to play strategically and keep it slow," said Sgt. Eric Owens, Warhawks team captain. "We just wanted to keep our fundamentals -- move the ball, pass the ball and simple scoring."
Both teams came into the tournament with a clean slate, and both started the game on the right foot as they appeared evenly matched throughout most of the game, but the 164th TAOG seemed to have the stamina to outpace their opponents to take the win.
Heat Check took possession first at the toss up, and although they didn't manage to score with their first possession, they would be the first to get on the scoreboard.
The 1-145th was off to a hot start, outpacing their opponents offensively while keeping a strong defense to take an early lead, keeping the Warhawks on their toes.
The TAOG team wasn't letting up so easily though, and they were able to come back from an 8-point deficit to tie the game, 12-12, as the first quarter wound down.
Both teams were showing promise as they went shot for shot for the remainder of the quarter, and neither had the clear advantage over the other.
Heat Check managed to pick up the pace, though, and break away from their opponents once again to retake a comfortable lead, 25-19, with minutes remaining in the half.
The 164th TAOG again closed the scoring gap, and they managed to take the lead for the first time in the game with less than a minute remaining in the half.
Both teams fought hard to get ahead as they ping-ponged the lead back and forth, but it would be Heat Check to hold on to the lead at the end of the half, 29-28.
Although the 1-145th had the advantage going into the second half, it was the Warhawks who would be first to score to take the lead.
The 164th TAOG came back stronger than before, able to suppress the opposing offense to pull away and, for the first time, the game was tilting in the Warhawk's favor.
This didn't sit too well with Heat Check, though, as they stayed on their opponent's heels, determined not to fall too far behind.
They trailed the TAOG team for most of the third quarter and the Warhawks fought hard to hold on to their lead.
The Warhawks managed to keep a tight offensive game as they slowly pulled away from their opponents, but the game was still far from over as they led Heat Check, 50-43, going into the final quarter.
The 1-145th couldn't seem to keep up throughout the quarter as the 164th TAOG's defense didn't let up, but neither team was able to advance much in the final minutes.
Luck was on the Warhawk's side, though, since they held on to a nearly 10-point lead at the 2-minute mark.
Although Heat Check attempted a last-minute rally, they couldn't break the opposing defense, and the Warhawks took the win, 58-51, to advance in the playoffs.
The win boosted the team's morale and made them confident in their ability throughout the rest of the tournament, said Owens.
"The rest [of the tournament] will be a challenge, but we got it," said the team captain. "I think we've got the defense to stop the No. 1 offense, but we've just got to capitalize on our offense."