545 TC holds off Hopper to win hoops championship

Members of the 545 TC intramural basketball team hoist their hardware after winning the Joint Base championship.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

After losing the championship game in the Above 30 basketball division earlier this year, the 545th Transportation Company (545 TC) got another chance to redeem itself after earning a spot in the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam intramural basketball open division title showdown against USS Hopper (DDG 70) on May 17 at Hickam Fitness Center.

Although the contest between the last two standing teams was a tough back-and-forth affair, in the end, the 545 TC didn’t let this one slip away, as the team hung on to a 38-35 victory to become Joint Base intramural basketball champs for 2018.

“We had a monkey on our back, so we knew that we couldn’t come out here and lose twice,” said 545 TC center Staff Sgt. Alfonso Davis.

Sgt.Tommy Collins springs toward the basket for a lay-up.

“We knew that we had to come out here and get this win. We knew we had to come out here and give it our all, so that’s what happened.”

Early in the game, with the 545 TC clinging on to a 8-6 lead, Spc. Thomas Craig gave the 545 a little breathing room, when he splashed down a three-point shot and then followed up with back-to-back makes from the free-throw line for a 13-6 advantage.

On the next trip down the court, Craig attacked the basket once again, but missed the shot.

Luckily for the 545, as the ball rolled off of the front of the rim, it was immediately grabbed by Pfc. Zak Lee, who threw it down for a two-handed stuff shot that made it 15-6.

“I thought to myself, I’ve got to get this one,” Lee said about his thunderous jam. “It looked pretty good and it felt pretty good.”

The dunk kept the 545’s hot streak going, and on the next play Craig finished off a basket-and-one that gave the team its biggest lead of the game at 18-6.

During the impressive start, Craig and Lee were the team’s dynamic duo, as the players combined for 15 of the 545’s 22 points in the first half.

“It’s a big game and we just got to do our jobs,” Lee said. “It all comes down to the big things and little things. All of it matters.”

To try and keep the game close, Hopper called a timeout and that seemed to help it regroup just in time before halftime.

Over the next eight minutes, Hop per, led by 6-foot-4-inch forward Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Anthony Averett, outscored the 545, 10-2, with Averett dropping a three ball from beyond the arc that made it 20-16.

In the second half, the momentum continued to go in the direction of Hopper, as the team tied the score at 23-23 on two free throws by Boatswain’s Mate Seaman Recruit Jason Haddix with 15:12 remaining on the clock.

Haddix then gave Hopper its first lead of the game at 25-23 by adding two more free throws.

He then gave Hopper its biggest lead of the game at 28-23, when he connected on a bomb from the left wing for three points.

However, the 545 came back to score the next two baskets to retake the lead at 29-28 with 7:10 remaining on the clock.

From there, the game changed leads six more times, before Lee secured the win with two free throws that made it 38-35 with only 7.5 seconds left in game.

Davis, the 6-foot-8-inch center for the 545, came up huge for his team in the second half after scoring only two baskets in the first half.

Besides controlling the boards, Davis doubled his point production in the second half with eight points to finish with a dozen.

“I was just saying that I got to pick it up,” Davis said. “I knew that I was slacking a little bit. I couldn’t let my team down, so I had to get it going.”

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS

Category: Sports