HQ PACAF/613 AOC joins the list of top contenders

Tech. Sgt. Brandon Hawkins goes airborne for two of his 20 points.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In their best performance of the season, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces (HQ PACAF)/ 613th Air and Space Operation Center (613 AOC) toppled the previously undefeated and division-leading 545th Transportation Company (545 TC), 53-51, on Feb. 20 in an Over 30 White Division intramural basketball game at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

The upset victory placed HQ PACAF/ 613 AOC right back in the heart of the divisional race with a record of 2-2, which is only a single game behind co-leaders 8th Intelligence Squadron and 545 TC, who both have a 3-1 record.

It was the second win in a row for HQ PACAF/613 AOC and is a far cry from the team’s season opener, which ended in a 67-44 blowout at the hands of defending champs 647th Civil Engineer Squadron.

“That’s a really good feeling because the first game we played, I never thought we’d get this far,” Tech. Sgt. Brandon Hawkins said. “We kind of linked up. People are starting to figure out their roles, we’re playing well together and it’s coming together really nice.”

Like in HQ PACAF/613 AOC’s win over Pit of Misery, Hawkins filled the role of finisher against the 545 TC and is fast becoming the team’s go-to player when the game is on the line.

HQ PACAF/613 AOC held a nine-point lead for most of the first half, but 545 TC pulled to within a point on a trey by Army Sgt. Brian Robinson at 24-23 with 52 seconds left before halftime.

Hawkins, who had been quiet for most of the first half, finally awoke from his slumber and scored the team’s next four points on a basket and two free throws to take a 28-23 lead into the break.

“I was really trying to rely on my man (Lt. Col. Buddy Martens),” said Hawkins about Martens, who scored a dozen points in the first half. “He was getting a lot of buckets for us, when nobody else was. I knew if he was the only guy scoring, then we weren’t going to have a consistent offense.”

In the second half, with the 545 TC watching Martens more closely, Hawkins started to take advantage of the spacing and went wild on offense.

The 545 TC caught HQ PACAF/613 AOC at 30-30 at the 16:31 mark in the second half, but Hawkins responded with a basket to put his team back out in front.

The 545 TC took their first lead of the game at 33-32 on a free throw by Sgt. 1st Class Charles Monroe, but Hawkins, after a basket by teammate Master Sgt. Sammie Bolus, gave HQ PACAF/613 AOC a three-point lead on drive to the basket that made it 38-35.

Back came the 545 TC with a warmed up Robinson knocking down back-to-back treys to regain the lead at 41-39.

Robinson, the division’s leading scorer, arrived late to the game due to work and didn’t make an appearance until 9:50 on the clock in the first half.

Later, Hawkins connected on one of two free throws to tie the game up again, but Robinson zeroed in on his fourth three-pointer of the game to put the 545 TC up by three at 47-44 with 3:05 on the clock.

However, on a night of clutch shots, HQPACAF/613 AOC just wouldn’t go away, as Senior Airman Brady Keezer matched Robinson with a trey of his own that tied the game at 47-47.

Then with the 545 TC holding a seemingly secure 51-47 lead with 1:21 on the clock, Hawkins emerged once again to come up with a huge trey that pulled HQ PACAF/613 AOC to within a point at 51-50.

Hawkins later sealed the win with a basket-and-one for the final score of 53-51.

“It obviously feels good to hit a big shot when your team needs it — especially since I missed so many throughout the game,” said Hawkins, who finished with a game-high 20 points. “You rely back on your training and hope that they fall. It finally fell at the end.”

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

Category: Sports