By Jeremy Wise, Army Flier staffApril 1, 2010
FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- DeMorris Kilow exploded for 29 points and Joseph Brunkhorst contributed 20 in U.S. Army Aeromedical Center's 74-54 playoff-opening win over Old Skool March 24.
Despite the large final deficit, the game remained close throughout the first quarter and most of the second. Old Skool, representing 1st Battalion, 13th Aviation Regiment, took the initial lead when Zach Moore canned a trey to open the game.
Old Skool finally lost the lead with 6 minutes, 39 seconds left in the first quarter when USAAMC's L.B. Miller notched a basket, giving the medics a 9-7 advantage.
Old Skool stormed back with a 7-0 run, spurred by a 3-pointer from Shawn Curlee. Both teams swapped leads and baskets in the waning seconds of the first stanza, but USAAMC gained some distance when Kilow knocked down a buzzer-beating 3 to give them a 22-18 lead.
USAAMC extended their lead to 27-18 on a Brunkhorst basket, but Old Skool rallied once again to cut the lead to 5 with 4:08 left in the first half.
USAAMC responded with a 9-2 run to build their lead to 12, but Jarel Whitehead notched a trey with 19 seconds to slice the halftime margin to 37-28.
"It always takes us at least a quarter to warm up," Minnie Miller, USAAMC head coach, said of the early close-knit battle.
USAAMC clicked on all cylinders from there, using a 15-4 spurt to grab a 52-32 lead, paced by 7 points from Kilow. After three quarters, the medical staff led 54-36.
Despite making a few charges in the first half, Old Skool never mounted another run in the fourth quarter, leading to the final 20-point deficit.
In addition to Brunkorst's and Kilow's totals, Carl Johnson scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds to help USAAMC victimize Old Skool.
Dax Barkley led Old Skool with 14 points and seven rebounds. Flemister Williams contributed 12 points, while Moore added 11.
With the win, USAAMC remained undefeated on the season and advanced in the post's intramural championships. Old Skool played to keep their season alive March 29 in a loser's bracket game after the loss.
Old Skool head coach Frank Wilson attributed the loss to a lack of team unity.
"A lot of the people we usually play with are in school. Hopefully, we'll get a practice in with the same players and get some chemistry," he said.
After the game, USAAMC players and coaches cited teamwork and team chemistry for the victory.
"They've been playing together for a while. We had a couple of new players, but they just fit right in," Minnie Miller said.
"We work hard together," Carl Johnson added.
L.B. Miller attributed the win to good ball movement.
"Good passing will hurt any kind of defense. They went to a zone, and we were breaking them. They went to man, and that was the end of the story," he said.
Despite the perfect record, Minnie Miller said her team must keep egos in check during the playoffs.
"Just keep the focus and don't get too confident," she said.