By Staff Sgt. Jacob Barreiro
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The 19th Operations Support Squadron’s basketball team rebuffed the late-game advances of the 53rd Airlift Squadron’s team in an intramural matchup, defeating them 47-45 Monday in the Fitness Center gymnasium.
In an aggressive game featuring scoring swings and hard-nosed defense, the 19th OSS’s defense was able to stop the 53rd AS, which had two opportunities to tie the game in the closing seconds, but missed both shots.
The 53rd AS jumped out to a 6-0 at the start of the game, and looked to be in control of the tempo. Implored by their coach to “slow it down,” and control the ball, they out-rebounded and shot their rivals at the beginning of the first half.
Undeterred by their slow start, the 19th OSS regrouped and was able to take over the game, flipping a 6 -12 deficit into a 16-16 tie with 7:30 left in the first half. After getting beat on the boards at the beginning of the game, the aggressive play of the 19th OSS in the paint led them to a surge on offense, and they shot ahead of their opponent 26-21 at halftime.
Building on the momentum they captured in the first half, the 19th OSS shot out of the gates after halftime, racking up a 33-23 lead with 14:43 left in the game.
After exchanging some baskets, the deficit barely budged for the 53rd AS, but down 31-40 with only eight minutes remaining, they regrouped and charged back into the game.
Capturing momentum, as well as playing with renewed aggression, the 53rd AS executed masterfully on offense, nailing several three-pointers and closing the gap to 45-47 with 33 seconds left.
Their defense stopped the 19th OSS on two possessions, but was unable to tie the score at the end, and the 19th OSS celebrated with a hard-earned victory.
Free-throws were crucial to the outcome of the game. In the final three minutes of the game a 53rd AS player missed both of his free-throw attempts, a two-point difference that could have sent the game into overtime.