PCP beats JPJ to secure final playoff spot

Specialist Drew Freeman extends his reach to score on a lay-up.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In a head-to-head matchup for the fourth and final Afloat Division postseason berth, the Pearl City Peninsula (PCP) Warriors stepped up and secured the playoff spot by crushing USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53), 68-40 in an intramural basketball game May 5 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

Down by 8-2 in the early minutes of the game, the Warriors picked up the pace and rallied to outscore John Paul Jones by a margin of 27-4 for the remainder of the first half to take a huge 29-12 lead at halftime.

The Warriors ended the regular season with a 6-4 record, while John Paul Jones dropped their sixth game against four wins.

“We had to make every possession count,” said Warriors head coach Chief Electrician’s Mate Mario Spicer.

“We’ve been in playoff basketball mode for the last three weeks, so if we wanted to get into the playoffs, we had to evaluate every single possession. We started a little lack-adaisical, we regrouped and took off from there.”

In the beginning, John Paul Jones started off strong by moving the ball around and getting baskets from four different players to take an 8-2 lead.

By midway through the first half, PCP pulled to within a single point at 10-9 on a drive to the hoop by Spc. Drew Freeman.

Then on the next trip down court, Machinist’s Mate (Non-Nuclear, Submarine Auxiliary) 2nd Class Scott Drake picked up a dime on a toss to Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Gerald Jackson, who was fouled on the play.

Jackson converted the free throw for the basket-and-one to put the Warriors in front for the first time in the game at 12-10.

From that point on, the game belonged to the Warriors, as the team, led by a trio of players, took full control.

Six minutes after the Warriors secured their first lead, guard Bryan Mason, a military family member, split the defense down the middle of the lane and drove in for a lay-up that put PCP up by double digits at 23-12.

Mason then fired in a bomb from beyond the three-point arc to raise the lead up to 14 points at 26-12 with 4:29 remaining in the first half.

Mason scored seven points in the first half, while teammates Freeman and Jackson controlled the middle of the paint to combine for 20 points before halftime.

“It’s all about communication,” Spicer said. “In the beginning, we could not get everybody to get out here. But in the last couple of weeks, all three have been here at the same time, so they’ve learned how to play with each other. Once they developed their chemistry, it doesn’t matter who else is out there with them.”

After coming up with a couple of clutch shots in the first half, Mason started to really light up the net in the second half.

A basket by Mason with 16:59 left on the clock, gave PCP a 22-point advantage at 36-14.

For the game, Mason led all scorers with 22 points, while Jackson finished with 19 and Freeman threw down 17.

In addition to scoring inside the lane, the high-scoring trio also attacked from the perimeter and combined to sink five three-point shots.

While the Warriors look like a well-oiled machine, as it prepares to enter the playoffs, Spicer said that the team’s run in the postseason may depend on just how many players are able to participate in the games.

Against John Paul Jones, the Warriors played the entire game with only five players.

However, Spicer said that he expects some much needed help will arrive just in time for the playoffs, which are scheduled for May 15-17.

“We’re confident that we’re going to be hard to beat,” Spicer said. “Our only weakness is if we can’t get people to show up. If we can get our depth, we’re going to be tough.”

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Category: Sports