By Sgt. Shanika L. FutrellAugust 16, 2012
The crowd roars as their favorite brigade basketball team from the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) steps on the court to compete in the final round of the 2012 Week of the Eagles basketball tournament.
It started out with 13 teams Aug. 13, Aug. 15 only two remained.
The anxious Soldiers from both teams stepped out on to the court to catch a glance at the opposing team as they warmed up, hoping to see who is having an off day.
The 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, were the final teams to enter the court to show the Fort Campbell, Ky., populace which brigade possessed the better set of basketball players and, of course, the bragging rights that go along with it.
The buzzer sounded, and the teams were anxious for tip off.
"Whooo, let's go Second Brigade," cheered the fans.
Standing at half court in the middle of the two teams, the referee threw the ball into the air. The 2nd BCT team gained possession of the ball first, resulting in a missed basket; however, they drew a two-shot foul and made both shots starting the game off right.
"That's what I'm talking about," yelled a spectator after the 2nd BCT Soldier made his shots.
The points did not stop there.
Cheers came with every basket and fast break 2nd BCT had, but there was no doubt about it that 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, team wanted this championship and would push themselves to the limit to get it.
"Slow it down," said Master Sgt. Michael Negron, a 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, player. "We have to gain control over the game. Those guys are tired over there. Now is the time our shooters need to step up to the plate."
Sweat dripped from everyone's face, causing the referees to wipe the floors every now and again.
"Sub, sub," yelled Spc. Wayne Bowles, a 2nd BCT team player, to get the attention of the referee.
Loud whistles signified half time. At half, the teams were tied, 23-23.
"OK, bring it in," said Sgt. Charles Joseph, the coach for the 2nd BCT. "If you are going to attack, attack. Look around, and if you are not trapped, take the first shot. Don't argue with the (referee); let me get the (technical foul). Call stuff out to your teammates, pick left, or pick right. OK, bring it in."
The 2nd BCT huddled together before the next half began.
"One, two, three break!" yelled the 2nd BCT team.
The buzzer started the second half, and both teams had their game faces on.
Swish went the sound of the net as the basketball gently went into the basket.
"Yeah, baby, that's called coaching!" said Negron, addressing the 2nd BCT coach with excitement.
The sound of the shoes screeching on the court filled the air. The crowd went wild in hopes their team will be the victor.
The 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, called for a time out with 2nd BCT in the lead, 45-48.
"We're only down by three (points) let's go down low and … give them big boys some trouble," said Negron, as he addressed his teammates.
The 2nd BCT team started to foul, incidentally causing the 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, to go to the foul line. They made every foul shot, plus a two-pointer, which put them in the lead.
"We have been playing together for a couple of years now, so we know each other's game very well," said Spc. Vincent Conriquez, a 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, team player. "We used our strong points in the last minute of the game, subbing personnel in and out for certain situations."
Third Bn., 5th SFG, won the game, 56-51.
Somber faces left the 2nd BCT side of the stands, but 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, celebrate happily with their commander and first sergeant at their side.
"Words cannot express how happy and excited we are," said Staff Sgt. Jason Pinkney. "We couldn't have gone against a better team to push our team to the max. It goes to show, hard work pays off."
"Yeah!" yelled Sgt. Taven McKinney, a 3rd Bn., 5th SFG, team player, as he pumped his fist and smiled from ear-to-ear before departing the court.