By Senior Airman Regina Agoha
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Camp Robinson’s basketballers showed up Army strong and rolled like an Abrams tank division over the 19th Medical Group, winning 77 – 44 and 64 – 49, in the April 2 double-elimination base intramural championship games.
After losing their first game of the tournament, the Camp Robinson team climbed the loser’s bracket marching their way to a finals match-up with the red-hot 19th Medical Group team, the league’s defending champions.
To claim the championship crown, Camp Robinson had to win a marathon match of two out of three games. There were no signs of doubt in the Camp Robinson team, even though they knew the champs would not surrender their title willingly. The intensity from both teams in the first half of game one made it hard for on-lookers to immediately pick a champion. One after another, the teams answered volleys of shots with assists between the legs, steals, three-pointers and lay-ups.
Though the 19th MDG’s defense was strong, Camp Robinson’s offense was Army strong as they slowly established a 20-point lead to close the first half, 44-24.
During halftime, each coach rallied their troops and reiterated their battle plans for the second half.
The Medics’ coach, Peter Elefante, said his team was playing “lax”, and the team’s defense needed to be more aggressive.
Camp Robinson’s coach, Ron Bailey, said his team was doing well, and he encouraged them to simply continue doing what they were doing. He said they had played the Medics before and knew they were a really good team. He was confident in his team’s abilities to win the championship.
In the second half, the 19th MDG attempted to surgically cut into the 20-point deficit, but their turnovers coupled with Camp Robinson’s tireless rebounding led to an Army win in game one , 77-44.
“That was a good game,” said Bailey. “The Med Group is going to come back hard. We just have to keep playing with the same intensity, and we will most definitely win [the championship].”
The Medics did answer the emergency siren and did indeed come back hard, jumping to the lead and maintaining it for the first 10 minutes of game two. All signs pointed to a third game in order to determine base basketball bragging rights.
Then Camp Robinson launched an 8-0 offensive counterattack, tying the game, 34-34. The Army artillery barrage fired up their fans and ignited excitement in the entire gym. Camp Robinson’s hoopsters fed off that energy that moment on, and there was no slowing down the onslaught.
It was almost a complete repeat of the game one after Camp Robinson captured the lead and never retreated, cruising to victory, 64-49 and hoisting the Little Rock Air Force Base Intramural Basketball Championship trophy.