Pearl City Peninsula rebounds to outlast Jefferson City/Chicago

Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Gerald Jackson muscles up a shot between two defenders to score a basket.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

The Pearl City Peninsula (PCP) squad got off to a slow start, but got things going in the second half to overtake and defeat USS Jefferson City (SSN 759)/USS Chicago (SSN 771), 35-24, on Feb. 17 in an Afloat Division intramural basketball game at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

Down by four points after scoring only 10 points in the entire first half, PCP outscored Jefferson City/Chicago 10-2 in the first three minutes of the second half, before holding on down the stretch for their first win of the season to even their record at 1-1.

“Throughout the week, because of the jobs that we have, we can’t get everybody to practice at the same time,” said PCP head coach Chief Electrician’s Mate Mario Spicer. “It showed in the first half. But as the second half got going, the guys got comfortable to where they’re spacing and where they’re supposed to be at.”

At the start, PCP came out so rusty that the team managed only four points on baskets by military family member Bryan Mason and Machinist’s Mate (Auxiliary) 2nd Class Gerald Jackson in the first 12 minutes of play.

A basket-and-one by Yeoman 2nd Class Jusuf Jenkins at the 7:52 mark in the first half placed Jefferson City/Chicago ahead by a score of 11-4 and helped the team hold a 14-10 advantage at the break.

However, in the second, things finally began to click for PCP. The team caught Jefferson City/Chicago at 14-14 on a basket by Jackson with 18:42 remaining in the game.

“We got more comfortable,” Spicer said. “The first half was almost like a practice — the practice that we missed. So once we got comfortable to where everybody is supposed to be at, as far as spacing and defensive assignments, then we could come out in the second half and be a little more aggressive because everybody knew where they’re supposed to be.”

Jenkins scored a basket to regain the lead for Jefferson City/Chicago at 16-14, but that was the last time that the team would hold an advantage.

A basket by Jackson retied the game at 16-16, before two more baskets by PCP increased the lead to four at 20-16.

Jenkins scored another basket to pull Jefferson City/Chicago to within three points at 23-20, but back came Jackson on a putback that put PCP back out to a five-point lead at 25-20.

“Our team is built around Jackson,” Spicer said. “We want to establish an inside-outside game. Once we can establish it inside, then we can work on our outside. We want to dump the ball down low to him (Jackson), so he can get comfortable.”

With Jackson working down in the paint, Mason started to come up with some big shots of his own.

Mason slammed home a dunk with 3:18 remaining in the game to give PCP a double-digit lead. Then, on the next trip downcourt he connected on another basket that just about secured the game for the team with 35-22 lead.

For the game, Jackson scored eight points while controlling the boards. Mason led all scorers with 16 points, with 13 of them coming in the second half.

“I think with those two guys doing it at the same time we’re pretty tough to beat,” Spicer said.

The win gave PCP a record of 2-0 to start the season, but Spicer cautioned that this team would only be as good as how much time it spends in practice between games.

“Like I said, it all starts with practice,” he said. “If we can’t get our team chemistry down, then we’re no better than the next team.”

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Category: Sports