By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterApril 20, 2017
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball season came to a close as the two top teams battled it out for the championship title in a game that had spectators on the edge of their seats.
The 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment, Control Freqs downed the Department of Defense Education Activity, Just Ball/No Talk, 69-66, to take the title of post champions at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center April 13.
Both teams fought hard throughout the game, but it was the Control Freqs' superior shooting that kept them comfortably ahead for the majority of the game, and although Just Ball managed to rally in the final minutes of the game, the importance of free throws was never felt more than in this game.
"We played tough and had to switch up our defense a couple times, but we stuck it out and hit free throws when it mattered," said Sgt. Jacob Durski, player for Control Freqs. "We've done well, and it feels good to actually win the season and tournament -- we finished it off strong."
Just Ball took possession at the toss up but couldn't get on the scoreboard and Control Freqs picked up the rebound, but the DODEA team was there to keep them from sinking a basket.
Possession bounced back and forth for the first few minutes of the game, but it was Just Ball that would get on the board first with a three-point shot.
Control Freqs quickly followed up with a 3-pointer of their own to tie the game, and they again managed to regain possession with a steal and although they weren't able to sink another three-point shot, a foul against them allowed them to sink free throws to take the lead.
The 1-11th followed up with another 3-point shot to start pulling away, but Just Ball wasn't going to fall too far behind as they matched their opponent's shooting prowess with threes of their own.
Control Freqs seemed to keep a tighter defense, though, not allowing their opponents to get under the net, making them rely on their shooting to score, which was managing to keep them in the game.
The DODEA team managed to find their stride and take the lead as their offense outpaced their opponents to take a comfortable, 6-point lead.
Control Freqs managed to readjust their play style, though, and close that gap, but a strong offense from their opponents and some unfortunate fouls against Just Ball allowed them to maintain their lead, 27-21 with just minutes remaining in the half.
Despite being down with little time, Control Freqs once again adjusted and managed to pull themselves back up to tie the game at the 2-minute mark.
The 1-11th didn't slow their pace and kept a strong offense as the seconds wound down to end the half on top, 32-28.
Control Freqs managed to go into the second half strong, starting with a 3-point shot, and they continued to outpace their opponents, gaining a near 10-point lead, and although Just Ball managed to close the gap a bit, they couldn't maintain and the 1-11th managed to once again pull away.
Throughout the third quarter, Control Freqs held onto their lead and managed to go into the final quarter ahead by 12, leaving Just Ball with a daunting task.
The Control Freqs continued to sink threes throughout the half to hold on to their lead, and try as they might, Just Ball couldn't seem to catch up.
A break came in the form of a series of technical fouls against Just Ball that allowed for free throws, but it wasn't enough to close the gap as the 1-11th held onto their lead.
Control Freqs might have gotten too comfortable, though, as they allowed Just Ball to come from behind to pull within a basket with 1 minute remaining in the game.
Both teams were feeling the pressure as the seconds wound down with just two-points separating the two teams in the final seconds.
Free throws were the deciding factor as a string of fouls against Control Freqs allowed them to extend their lead in the final seconds, winning 69-66.