By Nathan Pfau, Army Flier Staff WriterMarch 28, 2013
FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 28, 2013) -- With 1 second left on the clock, silence fell across the court as the final free throw soared through the air to determine the outcome of the 2013 Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball Post Championship game.
That was the scene March 26 at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Facility where the 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Eagles beat the A Company, 1st Bn., 13th Avn. Regt. Warriors in overtime, 70-64, during the final two games of the championship.
The Eagles came up from the loser's bracket to win two games in a row against the Warriors in the double-elimination tournament to be named post champions, and were also named league champions, having gone 14-0 through the regular season.
"We slipped up in the first round of the playoffs and we were beat and had to go into the loser's bracket. It was tough, but we played together as a team and pulled out a win," said George Scott, player for the Eagles. "It feels great to finally win the championship. It was a long, tough road, but we kept pushing and we knew if we kept playing like that, good things would happen."
The first game started as the Eagles took possession and drove the ball down court to take the first shot, but the Warriors defense went to work to keep their opponents from scoring and recovered the rebound.
They wouldn't hold the ball for long, though, as the Eagles retook possession and fired off a 3-point shot to start the scoreboard and take the lead, a lead they wouldn't give up for the remainder of the game.
The Warriors stayed on the heels of the 1-11th and both teams seemed evenly matched early in the game, but the Eagles began to show superior shooting power as they began to sink multiple 3-pointers to pull away from their opponents.
The A Co. team seemed to be able to keep up offensively, but their defense seemed all too eager as they continually fouled the Eagles, allowing for multiple opportunities to extend their lead.
Ten minutes into the game, the 1-11th pulled ahead by more than 10 points as their aggressive play style never let up.
The Warriors seemed to be losing their momentum as their opponents picked up the pace, and the Eagles continued to shine throughout the half.
Soon, A Co. was down by more than 20 points, but their strong team spirit was evident by the cheers coming from their teammates, despite their opponent's commanding lead.
With their spirits high, their momentum seemed to pick up as the Warriors slowly began to close the gap between the two teams, but the Eagles were determined not to give up their substantial lead and started to match their opponent's stride as they went score-for-score, eventually retaking their 20 point lead as the half ended, 39-19.
The Warriors took possession of the ball to start the second half and scored within seconds, but as determined as they were, they seemed unable to break the Eagles progress.
The 1-11th maintained their 20-point lead throughout most of the game, helped by multiple free throws that negated any ground that their opponents had gained.
With less than five minutes remaining in the first game, the Warriors were down by only 15 points but were unable to gain anymore ground on the Eagles, and the first game ended, 66-47, sending the teams into a second game for the championship.
With everything riding on the second and final game, both teams were determined to defeat the other, but only one would come out on top.
The Eagles took possession to start and started strong with a 3-point shot to take the lead early, mirroring their previous game, but things wouldn't be the same this time around.
As the Warriors took possession, they returned with a 3-point shot of their own, followed by a second 3-pointer to take the lead for the first time in the night.
They wouldn't hold the lead for long as the Eagles were determined to keep their opponents far in their rear view, a feat that would prove difficult throughout the second game.
The 1-11th managed to pull ahead by 10 points early in the game, but the Warriors were determined not to let history repeat itself as they picked up the pace and put their defense to work to keep their opponents from extending their lead any further. Within minutes, they trailed their opponents by only 2 point, 17-15.
The A Co. team's determination fueled their drive and their actions weaved their thoughts into reality and they once again found themselves in the lead with just 2 minutes remaining in the first half.
The lead ping-ponged back and forth between the two teams before the buzzer ended the half with the Eagles in front, 32-31.
It was now anybody's tournament and there was no clearly superior team, and both teams would find themselves digging deep to try and pull out a win.
The second half started as the Eagles took possession, but the Warriors would be the first to score and retake the lead from their opponents.
The A Co. team came back strong as they retrieved rebound after rebound to score and finally managed a lead of more than 4 points for the first time in the night.
As morale soared for the Warriors, so did their shooting as they continued to extend their lead against the Eagles by almost 10 points.
The 1-11th retaliated with multiple 3-pointers, but that wouldn't be enough and A Co. maintained their lead for most of the half.
Although the Warriors had found their second wind, their downfall would be fouls brought on by their aggressive defense, which led to multiple free throws for the Eagles allowing them to get back on the Heels of their opponent and retake the lead with 2 minutes remaining.
As the game wound down, the lead bounced back and forth between both teams until the Eagles seemed set to win as they led, 62-61, but a foul against the Warriors with 1 second left gave them two shots to win the game.
Only one of those shots would find the basket and A Co. sent the game into overtime.
With 3 minutes back on the clock, the Eagles hit the first basket to take the lead, and this time, they made sure not to give it up.
They met their opponents at every turn and prevented them from scoring and the Eagles extended their lead to ensure victory as the buzzer sounded.
Scott said regardless of how things look throughout the game, it's the mindset of his team that helped them overcome and win the championship.
"We've won and we've faced adversity all year, so we never think we're out of the game," he said. "The entire time we think and keep in our mindset that we're going to win the game so we keep pushing and keep pushing. We knew that we had a job to do and that's what we did tonight."