PCP Warriors keep playoff hopes alive with huge win

Bryan Mason leaps up above the defense of Ensign Brandon Green to score two of his game-high 18 points.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In a do-or-die game, the Pearl City Peninsula Warriors needed a win and, boy, did they deliver.

Needing a win to stay alive in the chase for the fourth and final postseason berth, the Warriors dismantled the tough USS Port Royal (CG 73) Admirals by a score of 55-32 in an intramural basketball showdown of Afloat Division powers April 28 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam.

The impressive win came against a Port Royal squad that entered the game with the most wins in the Afloat Division and placed the Warriors in a virtual tie with USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) for the final playoff spot with identical records of 5-5.

“There was a sense of urgency,” Warriors head coach Chief Electrician’s Mate Mario Spicer said. “We looked at the standings, (and) we were sitting in fifth place, so every possession mattered.”

Bryan Mason, a military family member, led the charge once again, as he scored 18 points, with 13 of them coming in the clutch moments of the second half.

Mason’s basket late in the first half, gave the Warriors a 13-point lead at 22-9, as the team went on to outscore Port Royal, 31-14, at halftime.

“When the game is on the line, we know who we’re going to,” Spicer said. “There is never any pressure when he’s (Mason) out there because I know that he’s going to come up with something.”

Against Port Royal, Mason wasn’t the only Warrior that was making things happen, as he got plenty of help from his teammates.

Port Royal had several opportunities to come back, but each time the Admirals made a move, someone from the Warriors was there to answer the call.

One instance came in the closing minutes of the first half, as Port Royal scored two times in a row to keep the game within striking distance at 26-14.

However, Machinists Mate (Non-Nuclear, Submarine Auxiliary) 2nd Class Scott Drake quickly put a stop to Port Royal’s mini-run by zeroing in on trey from the left corner, before adding another basket inside the lane to boost the lead back up to 15 just before the half.

“The goal was to get all of our free throws and get at least 15 to 20 assists per game,” said Spicer about the team’s game plan. “That means everybody is distributing, everybody is having fun and everybody has an opportunity to score.”

The Warriors continued their assault in the second half and immediately got their biggest lead of the game, when a trey by Mason put the team up by 20 at 34-14.

Back-to-back free throws by Spc. Drew Freeman preserved the 20-point lead at the 13:19 mark and four seconds later, Freeman picked up a dime on a pass to Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Gerald Jackson that made it 40-18.

This wasn’t the first time that the Warriors have shown that they could defeat a team in the upper level of the division.

On March 24, the Warriors handed division leader USS Missouri (SSN 780) its only loss of the season.

“You never know what you’re going to get each week,” explained Spicer about the team’s up and down season. “One week we’ll have a full roster, next week, we’ll be depleted. So we’ve got to go with what we have. Hopefully, when we are depleted, we’ll still come out with a win.”

With the playoffs right around the corner, Spicer said that if the Warriors get in, they should be able to compete with any team in the tournament.

“In the beginning, we have to figure out who we’ve got,” Spicer said. “Now, everyone knows what they have to do. Today, we’re missing our center and starting point guard. Once we get those guys back, it will be just in time for the playoffs. I’m pretty confident that we’ve got a good chance.”

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Category: Sports