The Young I’s get back on track with big win

Tech. Sgt. Robert Ford goes up for one of his trademark hook shots near the basket.

Story and photo by Randy Dela Cruz

Sports Editor, Ho‘okele

In need of a win after facing two back-to-back tough defeats, The Young I’s (8th Intelligence Squadron) rode the back of star guard Tech. Sgt. Robert Ford and pulled away early to gain an easy 74-27 victory over Pit of Misery on March 6 in an Over 30 White Division intramural basketball game at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.

The Young I’s notched their fourth win to go against two defeats and are only a half game out of first place in the White Division, while the struggling Pit of Misery dropped their sixth game of the season.

Ford, clearly one of the top guards in the league, put on a show with some hot shooting from the perimeter and a dazzling array of sweeping hook shots off the glass to score a season-high 29 points, with 20 coming in the first half.

Right from the start, Ford opened up in a sprint and let it fly from beyond the arc for his first basket of the game.

Ford stayed hot for the rest of the first half as he proceeded to splash down his first four shots from beyond the three-point arc and then added eight more points on four drives to the hoop.

The outburst by Ford, coupled with another strong outing from teammate Tech. Sgt. William Yeaman, who tossed down 11 points in the first half, raised The Young I’s into a dominating 41-9 lead at halftime.

“Generally, I’m not a three-point shooter by any means, but I take what the defense gives me. If they leave me open, I’m going to shoot it and if it feels good, I’m just going to keep shooting it if the defense lets me. If they don’t, I’ll keep driving and doing what I do.”

Ford closed out the first half on a basket from a dime by Yeaman and then attacked the hoop at the buzzer to score one more time.

Overall, The Young I’s got balanced distribution of the ball with a total of six players getting in the box score with three players scoring in double figures.

Ford led the way with 29 points and was followed by Yeaman with 15, military family member Kendal Giles with 10 and Tech. Sgt. Christopher Yarbrough with nine.

Coming off an 18-point loss at the hands of defending champs 647th Civil Engineer Squadron from the previous week, Ford said that the game against Pit of Misery was a huge boost for The Young I’s.

The Young I’s had only six players for their matchup against the 647 CES. With the team back to a full squad, Ford feels ready for the final push of the season.

“Tonight, this really helped boost our confidence,” Ford said. “It helps us establish the same continuity that we had before. Now that we have our full squad back, I feel like we’ll have the same continuity throughout the season.”

While Ford has been the top scorer for The Young I’s for the entire season, he said that the team plays at its best when more team-mates get in the box score as he distributes the ball.

“It’s crucial that we get people like Yeaman and Yarbrough more involved with our offense,” Ford said. “I definitely don’t want to be the only guy who is a factor or the only guy to depend on. The game that I like to play is run the ball and if I only score five points per game, I’m happy as long as I can share the ball and get everyone involved in the offense.”

As The Young I’s prepare for the final push of the year, Ford said that as long as the team keeps focused, it should be ready to play its best ball of the season.

“Just like we did before, we just need to work as a team,” he said. “The keys are going to be sharing the ball, get good rotations and our defense has played really well.”

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Category: Sports