Ho'okele Staff | Feb 10, 2017
Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz
Sports Editor, Ho‘okele
Defense was the name of the game for Naval Computer Telecommunications Area Master Station Pacific West (NCTAMS PAC West) basketball squad. The players blanketed Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 1 with a torrid attack in gaining a 44-28 win on Feb. 8 in a Red Division intramural basketball matchup at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.
NCTAMS held MDSU to only a dozen points in the first half and finished them off by holding them to 16 points the rest of the way.
After dropping their opening game three weeks ago to Navy Information Operations Command (NIOC) Hawaii by only seven points, the win by NCTAMS was the second in a row and has solidly reestablished the team as one of the frontrunners in the Red.
“We’re still a work in progress,” said NCTAMS head coach Master Chief Patrick Walker after the team’s biggest win of the season. “I’m not happy with the offense, but the defense is keeping us in the game, so as long as we stay consistent on one, the other will follow.”
At first, it was a good thing that the team’s defense was ready to go right at tipoff, as NCTAMS found it difficult to get in sync on offense during the first minutes of play.
The team finally found the basket on a lay-up by Information System Technician 1st Class Levan Blackwell six minutes into the game.
After seeing the slow start on offense, Walker called for a change and ordered his team to take the shot from the perimeter and that seemed to fix what the team needed.
“I told them to shoot over the zone,” Walker said. “The shot wasn’t there at the free-throw line, so shoot over the zone and they started doing everything I told them to do.”
Among those who took the coach’s advice to heart was Information System Technician 3rd Class Miltuan Williams.
Inserted to spark some life into the offense, Williams delivered with four long balls from beyond the arc that slowly began to break the backs of MDSU.
“Everybody on the bench started breathing,” Walker said about the hot shooting from Williams. “Then we started to settle in. You know, things like that are contagious. Once he (Williams) was hitting, everything started clicking. Then before I knew it, I looked up and we were up by 10.”
Up by a score of 18-12 at halftime, Walker said that he came out in the second half looking to speed things up and make MDSU uncomfortable in their offense.
The teams traded baskets early after the break, but a putback by Yeoman 3rd Class Kenneth Nance three minutes into the second half seemed to turn the tide totally in favor of NCTAMS.
“We noticed that when they came out and played, they played like the Virginia Cavaliers,” Walker said. “They were playing slow, so I said that we’ve got to make them uncomfortable and speed them up. Once we did that, they started making bad passes and we started getting a lot of the deflections.”
The coach’s decision seemed to pay dividends for the entire team as more players got involved in the scoring column.
In the first half, only four players scored for NCTAMS with Williams chipping in with a dozen of the team’s 18 points.
Then in the second half, eight different players scored for NCTAMS, which provided just the right balance that the team needed to run away from MDSU.
While the win was a huge improvement from the team’s opening night defeat, Walker said that there’s plenty of improvement to go around, but he likes where the team is at right now.
“We can still be a streaky team,” he said. “But if we come out and play consistently on both sides of the court, I think we’re unbeatable in this league. I haven’t seen the other divisions, but as far as the division we’re in, I think we can run the table.”