By James Brabenec, Fort Sill CannoneerApril 1, 2010
Basketball fans witnessed the Tatum Rules again as George Tatum's smooth jumper led the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Field Artillery to a 66-48 win to claim the men's intramural basketball championship March 25 at Rinehart Fitness Center.
Tatum nailed five three-pointers and 18 points for the game as the 2nd-2nd FA beat Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 6th Air Defense Artillery to cap an undefeated season. It was Tatum's second straight championship as he led the 1st Battalion, 30th Field Artillery team to the IM crown last year. Khallid Shabazz topped the 6th ADA with 18 points as he hit three long-range bombs.
"Team chemistry showed throughout the year as these guys played team ball and out hustled their opponents," said Robert Nuttall, 2nd-2nd FA coach. "This is a very good team, because they have a lot of basketball knowledge and know how and when to apply it to take the other team out of its game."
The scoring opened with who else, Tatum, the biological highlight reel, who sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around one from Shabazz, then took the wing on a fast break receiving a pass from Earl Moseby resulting in a foul on the way to the bucket. Tatum hit one of two free throws to stake the 2nd-2nd FA to a 7-6 lead.
Double Deuce big men James Dix, Brent Robinson and Chris Hamilton, owned the paint early on as they either engulfed rebounds or out jumped their opponents and tipped balls out to teammates. This strong inside presence coupled with a scrappy backcourt tandem that stole numerous passes established momentum on the 2nd-2nd FA side.
Dix got on the stat sheet with a nice post up move then Tatum went downtown again to double up the 6th ADA 12-6. But, the 6th ADA answered with a couple baskets down low, one by Mayowa Miller. The two teams established a rhythm where the 2nd-2nd FA would sprint out with a couple baskets and the 6th ADA would respond staying within shouting distance.
Moseby, the 2nd-2nd FA point guard, played a steadying influence on his team as he netted 13 points, including five-of-five foul shots. He also displayed a sharp eye finding teammates down low for easy scores. Playing on the wing on a fast break, Moseby took a pass finding his three-stroke from the corner with a swisher-sweet jumper and a 17-10 lead. On the ensuing play he stole a pass and drove the length of the floor taking the ball right at a 6th ADA defender before using his body to screen off the shot-blocker and bank in a nice reverse layup upping the score to 19-10.
"Being a point guard, I pride myself on hitting my free throws, because it is something a point guard should do for his team," said Moseby. "More than scoring, it excites me to look for the open guy and pass the ball, especially to find the big men down low and keep them happy."
Kim Koo answered again for the 6th ADA as he tossed in a three-pointer to put an end to the 7-0 2nd-2nd FA run.
Tatum then worked his magic again as he calmly walked the ball up court like a hired gunslinger. Dribbling twice to establish his rhythm, he rose up and pulled the trigger hitting another three for a nine-point bulge at 22-13.
Three more points by the 2nd-2nd FA found the team poised on the edge of a blowout at 25-13, but the 6th ADA dialed in their offense as Warren Gaines' gritty inside play netted him two points plus a foul shot. Although his charity toss glanced off the rim, Miller snagged the rebound and scored for a four-point play as the 6th ADA drew close again at 25-19.
The double deuce then went to Robinson who bulled his way inside but was called for an offensive foul giving the 6th ADA a chance to expand its run and further cut into their opponent's lead. However, another steal by the feisty backcourt men of the 2nd-2nd FA stole momentum away for a 27-19 lead. They capped the first half scoring with a 7-2 run to secure a 13-point cushion, 34-21, at halftime.
The second half opened with more of the same as Tatum knocked down another three-pointer and a Chris Hamilton steal-and-drive basket netted another deuce for the biggest lead at 39-21.
Shabazz finally stopped the bleeding for the 6th ADA as he battled down low and hit a basket and a foul shot to cut the deficit to 15 at 39-24.
Moseby then showed his offensive skills as he dribbled into the paint with a defender on his back. Taking a step back, he hit a soft turn around jumper.
"I've always enjoyed this part of the game, getting a defender on my back and using my my speed and ability to get off a good shot," he said. "I like to look at how he is defending me, and if he leans one way, I go the other to throw him off balance."
Shabazz answered moments later as he in-bounded the ball with a no-look pass to Koo who broke into the paint for an easy layup.
The two teams traded buckets over the next several minutes before the 2nd-2nd FA spread the floor to run time off the clock. Even then the team looked for good scoring opportunities like Tatum threading a pass to Chris Hamilton for an easy two plus a free throw.
Shabazz once again made his mark on the night with the shot of the game. Seeing the game slipping away, Shabazz hit a three-pointer from nearly 26 feet out, or the approximate length of an adult male orca, to close the gap to 53-42.
Should the precious metals market see prices spike, Tatum's den may become a repository for wealth as he claimed his fifth basketball championship trophy to go along with three for football and two for softball crowns.
"I'm getting older so each time I win one of these, it means a little more, because it shows I can still compete," said Tatum, a 34-year-old major.
He said he got a charge out of Shabazz early on as the two men traded threes. He credited practice on jump shooting fundamentals as his key to getting off his smooth-as-silk shot. Tatum said he likes to shoot about 500 jumpers each week and practice shooting on the move.
"No matter where I catch the ball if I can set my feet, get a quick release off and find a rhythm it's hard to stop," he said.
Tatum said his teammates on the 2nd-2nd FA play with a tenacity and discipline that baffled opponents all year. He said the team doesn't take too many chances overplaying the ball or reaching in to draw cheap fouls.
"A lot of teams get frustrated why we're shooting foul shots while they're still in-bounding the ball," he said. "It's the little things like minimizing fouls, making free throws (the team hit 14 for the game) diving for loose balls and rebounding that wins championships."
Nuttall praised Jeff Anderson and Cedric Richardson for their contributions to the team throughout the season. Due to duty commitments, neither player was able to suit up for the championship game.
Other scorers for the 2nd-2nd FA were Chris Hamilton with 14 points; Dix, 12; Robinson, 4; James Karlen, 3; and Donte Hamilton, a deuce. Santana added 11 points for the 6th ADA; Gaines, 7; and Miller and Willie Woodberry each chipped in a half dozen.