By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 21, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 21, 2013) -- The Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball playoffs began March 18 and the A Co., 1st Battalion,13th Aviation Regiment Warriors started off on the right foot as they took out the 158th Airfield Operations Battalion Guardians at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility.
The Warriors dominated the Guardians 95-39, in a game that set the 1-13th as a force to be reckoned with throughout the competition, according to Staff Sgt. Mandrell Douglas, coach for the Warriors.
"I think our team was really ready because this is the first playoff game of the year, and they came out and did what they were suppose to do -- they showed a lot of hustle," he said. "We had a lot of good defense out there tonight and since this keeps us in the winner's bracket, other teams will fear us when they play us."
The game started as the Warriors took possession and scored the first basket within seconds of the game. They started the game aggressively as they fought hard to keep their opponents behind.
The Warriors strong early offense coupled with their superior defense allowed them to continually take possession of the ball and pull far ahead of their opponents within minutes of the first half.
The Guardians struggled to keep up and were unable to match the Warriors' pace.
The Warriors continued to dominate through the early portion of the first half and didn't slow their momentum to allow the 158th AOB to breathe.
The Guardians started to seem too eager to make up for lost ground, but were unable to as they continually fouled their opponents. This only allowed the Warriors to sink multiple free throws and extend their lead.
Just seven minutes into the game, 1-13th was 20 points ahead of their opponents, who had yet to score a single basket -- a testament to the Warriors' superior defense.
The Guardians tried to play more aggressively, but that didn't seem to affect their opponents as they continued to pull away.
Ten minutes into the game, 158th AOB finally got on the scoreboard with a three-point shot that seemed to boost the team's morale.
This didn't shake the Warriors, however, as they continued to play headstrong and sink shot after shot to stay far ahead. Their superior shooting and ability to defend kept them comfortably ahead, but complacency never set in for the 1-13th.
Well into the first half, the Warriors showcased their strengths and showed that they earned their place in the tournament, and managed to pull more than 30 points ahead of their opponents, 42-11.
The Guardians continued to struggle to keep up, scoring sparingly during moments when the 1-13th briefly dropped their guard, but moments that were negated by continual fouls that allowed the Warriors to regain any ground lost. And despite their commanding lead, they played as if each basket determined the outcome of the game until the half ended, 59-19.
As slim a chance as it seemed, the Guardians still had an opportunity to come back during the second half as they started with possession. But the Warriors weren't letting up as they came back into the half just as they started the first -- all in.
They took the first rebound of the half and returned to score the first shot as they didn't lose any of their momentum during half time.
Despite being down by more than 50 points, the Guardians never gave up.
A strong spirit wasn't enough to bring them out of the depths, however, and the Warriors continued to extend their lead.
With about three minutes left in the game, The 158th AOB managed to pick up some speed and slowly closed the scoring gap, but their second wind came too little, too late as they were now short on time to close the enormous gap.
As the clock wound down, the Warriors were poised to break 100 points, but they were unable to and they were satisfied with the win.
"This is the most points we've ever scored throughout the whole season," said Douglas. "We did an excellent job. We had good team cohesion, and as long as they keep that up, we'll keep winning games like this."