Port Royal Admirals hold off JPJ Revolution

Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dre Clark finishes off a fast break for two of his 13 points.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

USS Port Royal (CG 73) Admirals kept their record perfect with a hard-fought 41-34 win over USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) Revolution on Feb. 17 in an Afloat Division intramural basketball matchup at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

The Admirals built up an 11-point lead to start off the second half, but saw the lead shrink down to four as the Admirals made a run late in the game.

However, a clutch three-point basket by Gas Turbine System Technician (Mechanical) 2nd Class Ariel Malagon with 4:29 remaining on the clock gave the Admirals the boost they needed to stay out in front for the rest of the game.

The win raised Port Royal’s record to a perfect 3-0, while John Paul Jones dropped their second game in a row and fell to 1-2.

“Basically, these guys they play consistent, they play unselfish, play together, so a lot of stuff they’re doing is recognizing what’s going on the floor,” said Admirals head coach Chief Electrician’s Mate Jermaine Moore. “For a lot of the coaches, it’s just maintaining and telling them what’s missing.”

The Admirals got out to a slow start in the first half and when the Revolution got back-to-back three-points baskets from Sonar Technician (Surface) 2nd Class Kalvin Popkes and Fire Controlman (Aegis) 1st Class Jared Borders, John Paul Jones took a 10-4 lead that forced Moore to call a timeout.

The short talk seemed to rally the Admirals together, as the team shut down John Paul Jones while picking up the pace on offense.

A turnaround jumper by Electronics Technician 2nd Class Jorge A. Gonzalez inside the lane completed a 9-0 run by Port Royal, which game them a 13-10 lead.

“Mostly, I just told them to settle down,” Moore said about his pep talk during the timeout. “Once they settled down, they got into their offensive rhythm, set screens for each other, and got some good rapport on offense. It was on autopilot after that.”

A basket by Fireman Jeffrey Jones ended the skid for John Paul Jones with 4:26 remaining in the first half, but it wasn’t enough to lead the Revolution back, as Port Royal took a 22-14 lead at halftime.

“I told them to go and play at your natural ability,” Moore said. “If you recognize that they’re playing off of you that means they don’t want any part of you. So take it to the defense and make them work. Make them respect you. That’s what I told them to do.”

Right after the break, guard Information Systems Technician 3rd Class Dre Clark took the coach’s words to heart and started off the second half with a long bomb from beyond the arc to give Port Royal their biggest lead of the game at 25-11.

The lead ballooned up to 14 points, as the Admirals outscored the Revolution 8-2 to take a 30-16 advantage in the early minutes of the second half.

Instead of folding, the Revolution staged a comeback and pulled to within four points at 35-31 on a basket by Jones.

That’s when Malagon deposited his cutch three-point shot that not only gave Port Royal some needed breathing room, but also provided the momentum to seal the win.

“At the end of the day, if these guys are going to play tight and collapse, I tell my guys to express yourself and go ahead and take that trey,” Moore said. “If not, play hard ball and take it inside and get to the line.”

As the leaders of the division, Moore said that while the pressure may be on the team to hang on to the top spot, he wants his message to be loud and clear.

“I want to make sure to send a message to everybody out in the fleet that we’re coming and we’re serious,” he said. “That’s what we want to do.”

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Category: Sports