PACOM/JIOC secures divisionalch ampionship

Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC) shooting guard Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Lorenzo Nichols scores on a breakaway during the team’s game versus the 324th Intelligence Squadron (324 IS) in a Hickam Intramural Basketball League Monday-Wednesday Division game at Hickam Fitness Center gym, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 21.

Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC) shooting guard Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Lorenzo Nichols scores on a breakaway during the team’s game versus the 324th Intelligence Squadron (324 IS) in a Hickam Intramural Basketball League Monday-Wednesday Division game at Hickam Fitness Center gym, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 21.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor

In a battle between the top two teams in the Hickam Intramural Basketball League’s Monday – Wednesday Division, Pacific Command/Joint Intelligence Operation Center (PACOM/JIOC) solidified their place as the division’s kingpin by thumping the 324th Intelligence Squadron (324 IS), 56-38, at Hickam Fitness Center gym, Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam on March 21.

The win clinched the division’s regular-season title for PACOM/JIOC, which has lost only one game to date, while the 324 IS fell to their third defeat of the season.

In the first half, PACOM/JIOC used their height advantage in the frontcourt to overpower the 324 IS and take a 35-20 lead into halftime.

Six- foot – seven – inch Navy Lt. Adam Hudson, along with forward Staff Sgt. Allen Birtcil, led the charge for PACOM/JIOC, which got a dozen close-range baskets by Hudson and eight points from Birtcil in the first half.

“It was patience,” said Hudson, who was the target of pinpoint lobs near the hoop. “We moved the ball around and it opened up everything else. When you’re patient, its tough for a defense to keep playing at a high level. You just wear them down and you can get any shot you want.”

While PACOM/JIOC had their way early in the game, the team hit a cold spell in the second half and only managed to score three points, on a free throw guard Intelligence

Specialist 2nd Class Josh Kelly and a basket by Birtcil, in the half’s first 10 minutes of play.

The drought let the 324 IS back into the game, as the team went on an 8-0 run to open the second half.

Two free throws by 324 IS pivot Airman 1st Class Lonnie George cut the margin down to 10 at 35-25, before Airman 1st Class Joseph Schaub tossed in a shot from downtown to further reduce the lead down to seven.

Schaub was especially effective from beyond the arch, as the 324 IS guard connected on a total of six 3-pointers, five in the second half, to keep his team within range of PACOM/JIOC.

“We were rushing the ball,” explained PACOM/JIOC head coach Senior Chief Logistics Specialist Latonya Veasley. “We know the offense is there, we just got to be patient. We had to work as a team. We recognized that we had to get it together.”

Soon after the run by the 324 IS, PACOM/JIOC started to find the range once again and extended their lead back to double digits on a basket by Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Lorenzo Nichols.

Although another trey by Schaub cut the lead back to nine at 43-34, Nichols returned the favor on his next trip down the floor, as PACOM/JIOC withstood the challenge to retake full control of the game in the final minutes of play.

“We hit a bunch of shots in a row, but then it quit falling,” said Schaub about the team’s failed comeback. “Unfortunately, we also got out-rebounded, so we couldn’t keep them off of our backs.”

With the playoffs scheduled for March 26-28, Hudson said that the win over its closest divisional rival was a good way to spring into the postseason.

If the team has all of its players, said the PACOM/JIOC center, then it should be in a good position to win it all.

“We can’t do it if we just show up,” Hudson noted. “But we’re confident in our ability and like our chances.

Meanwhile, Veasley said that she has two things on her mind, as she prepares her squad for a championship run.

“I’m a little worried,” Veasley shared. “Some people couldn’t play because of real-world scenarios. I’m over at JIOC. We’re the intel community, so we’ll probably be sending out more people. I’m hoping that we have a team.”

Veasley also admitted that she is a bit concerned about squaring off against 3-Peat, which has won back-to-back Navy intramural basketball titles while competing as Naval Station Pearl Harbor (NAVSTA) over the past two years.

“I hear they’re stacking, so we need a roster check,” Veasley said. “If you’re going to do it, do it fair. That’s all I ask.”

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Category: News