By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 29, 2018
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- The Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball regular season came to a close with two teams going head-to-head in the culmination of the double-elimination playoff tournament to determine who would be crowned post champs.
The 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment team, Champs, beat out the 1-14th Avn. Regt. team, Squad Up, 62-41, in the final tournament game at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center March 26.
Both teams started on equal footing to start the game, but the Champs showed their prowess in the second half, where they dominated their opponents and took the title of post champions.
"We did a great job, but we had to play some defense -- defense is what won us the game," said Sgt. 1st Class. Latif Tariq, Champs coach. "Our folks hit some good shots out there, and the other team was a great team to play and they were the team to beat."
Tariq said although they seemed evenly matched in the first half, it was mostly because their opponents were boxing in their star player, Senior Airman Tony Hart, Champs player, but once they switched up their strategy to compensate, the second half was smooth sailing.
"They tried to play a little bit of boxing with our MVP, Toni Hart, and once they did that we started to go inside in the middle once we called that play out," said the team coach. "Once we started to do that … they couldn't hold it. The defense won it for us, though, and the defense is what helped to bring out our offense, and our offense really showed."
As the game started, the Champs took possession first, but it was Squad Up that would come out as the dominant team early on, managing to pull ahead of their opponents.
Both teams were going hard trying to get the advantage, but it was the 1-14th that managed to stay ahead for most of the first half.
Squad Up exhibited tight defense and seemingly superior shooting early on that allowed them to stay ahead, but the Champs were doing everything they could to stay on their opponents' heels.
Despite a strong defense by the 1-14th, the Champs managed to start to creep up on their opponents with a string of three pointers and, with just two minutes left in the half, the 1-11th team managed to tie the game with another three-point shot, but a foul against Squad Up allowed the 1-14th to retake the lead, but only slightly.
Trailing 28-27 at the end of the half, a foul against the Champs at the buzzer allowed for free throws, which put the 1-11th ahead of their opponents at the end of the half, 29-28, a lead they wouldn't give up for the rest of the game.
At this point, it was still anybody's game, but Squad Up had the advantage going into the half. Although they had possession to start, the Champs managed to be the first to score in the half, and continued that trend with rebound after rebound to pull ahead of their opponents.
The Champs brought their A game when it came to shooting and managed to sink multiple three-pointers to extend their lead, leaving their opponents behind, pulling ahead by more than 10 points just minutes into the half.
Squad Up seemed to throw any strategy out of the window and were desperately grasping to sink a shot, but despite their attempts, the Champs' defense stayed solid, keeping their opponents at bay.
The 1-14th team finally managed to score with a lay up almost 10 minutes into the half, giving them some hope, but despite their minor victory, their pace didn't improve and the Champs stayed comfortably ahead.
The 1-11th continued their onslaught of three-pointers and layups to gain a near 20-point lead, and as the clock wound down stayed true to their name and claimed the title of post champions, winning 62-41.
The Champs were presented a post championship trophy and medals following the game, and Hart was named season MVP.