Ho'okele Staff | Apr 14, 2017
Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz Sports Editor, Ho‘okele
There are a lot of bad things that can happen at the start of any game, and having only four players to start a basketball game is certainly one of them.
In the battle for fourth place in the Red Division, Naval Health Clinic Hawaii (NHCH) managed to defend the fort as they walked out on the court with only four players in their game versus Sentinel Warriors from the 8th Intelligence Squadron on April 12 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.
Although NHCH was out-manned for the first five minutes of play, they kept the game close with the Sentinel Warriors, who held a one-point 5-4 lead at the time.
Once NHCH got enough players on the court, the team quickly turned things around and then held on for the 45-37 victory.
“Well, we knew our players would come, so we slowed down the tempo and then we tried to draw them out, Hospital Corpsman Bradley Williams said. “When they came out, we scored.”
Williams was a huge reason why NHCH was able to hang around before taking the lead, as he clicked for 11 points in the first half.
The game was tied three times in the first 11 minutes, but once Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Carlton Dyke filled in as the team’s fifth player and got warmed up, the tide began to turn.
Up by only a basket, Dyke got a lay-up for two points and then added two free throws to give NHCH a 16-point lead at 15-9.
“He’s (Dyke) an energetic player,” Williams said about his teammate. “When we saw him, he gave us the energy to push forward, set the pace, and get our points up.”
Williams remained hot and with the clock ticking down to halftime, he stepped up and dropped a long ball from beyond the arc to give NHCH their first double digit lead at 22-12.
In the second half, each time the Sentinel Warriors tried to cut into the lead, NHCH somehow managed to respond and maintain their 10-point advantage.
The Sentinel Warriors cut the lead down to six points, but with only 4:00 on the clock, Dyke scored on a drive to the basket to put NHCH back up by 10 at 37-27.
“We’re just all a lot of gritty players,” Williams said. “We never give up, so we just had to keep that attitude the whole game and it helped us win.”
One of the biggest reasons why NHCH was able to hold the Sentinel Warriors at bay was the ability of NHCH to control the boards — especially while on offense.
“Offensive rebounds, that’s something we practice,” Williams said. “We tell our people to crash every time.”
While things were looking good for NHCH, the Sentinel Warriors had one last run up their sleeves.
After the basket by Dyke, Sentinel Warriors guard Kendel Giles, a military family member, fired in a trey to make it 37-30.
Then on the team’s next trip down the court, teammate Staff Sgt. Ouinton Daulton copied Giles with a three-point shot of his own to further cut the lead down to four at 37-33.
Instead of folding, NHCH got a big putback basket by Cryptologic Technician (Maintenance) 1st Class Tim Taylor, another late arrival, that may have broken the Sentinel Warriors back with only 1:03 left in the game.
With the playoffs right around the corner on April 29-30 and May 1, Williams couldn’t give a prediction as to how the team will do.
Although he did admit that NHCH could pull off a surprise or two in the postseason.
“We might,” he said. “You never know. All I know is that we’re going to play our best every game. We’ll give it our all and leave it on the court.”