502nd MI Bn. 12 34 — 46
308th BSB 29 33 — 62
502nd MI Bn. — Tyrone Silver, 15; Radius Adams, 10; Adrian Kenny, 9; D’Andre Scott, 6; Michael Dorelin, 4; Jaivon Danzy, 2.
308th BSB — Luther Huling, 14; Antonio Valentine, 11; Donavan Murdock, 10; Jeremy McKenzie, 9; Clarence Moore, 7; Bryce Hall, 6; Brian Pryor, 3; Quintarius Norwood, 2.
The 308th Brigade Support Battalion established itself as the team to beat entering as the top-seeded team in the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Commander’s Cup Basketball Championship tournament June 7.
In the end, the team finished strong to defeat the 502nd Military Intelligence Battalion 62-46 in the championship at Wilson Sports and Fitness Center on Lewis North. The 308th BSB’s start was a big factor in the win.
The 308th BSB scored the game’s first 14 points early in the first half and extended its run to a 21-2 score before the eight-minute mark.
“We tried to stay in our mindset,” said Clarence Moore of the 308th BSB. “(We were) talking and communicating as if it was still a tie game. We didn’t want to take our foot off their neck.”
Nearly every player contributed on the 308th BSB side. Three players scored in double digits — Luther Huling (14), Antonio Valentine (11) and Donavan Murdock (10).
“Team composure, team consistency and team cohesion — it starts with the smallest section; ask LeBron (James),” Valentine said.
One might say the 502nd MI Bn. had some legitimate gripe. The tournament’s bracket was laid out in a way where the final night featured the second part of the quarterfinals in one hour, both semifinals the next hour and the championship in the third.
The 502nd MI Bn. found itself in that second half of quarterfinals and ended up playing three consecutive games. The team defeated the 509th Military Police Company squad 60-48 to start the night, which was rough when only three players arrived on time for the start of the game.
The other three players arrived halfway through the first half of the team’s quarterfinal win. Not having time to enjoy victory, 502nd MI Bn. defeated the 51st Expeditionary Signal Battalion, 50-46.
Stamina certainly played a factor in the slow start in the championship. The 502nd MI Bn. didn’t score its first basket until six minutes into the game.
“(There was) a lot of unfairness, but the ball still has to go in the basket,” said Darrell Reynolds of the 502nd MI Bn. team.
Reynolds had a tough night; he fouled out of the game early. He collected his fifth foul around the halfway point of the first half. Reynolds had to ask the game’s score keeper multiple times to confirm he was done that early.
“I still can’t believe five fouls happened that fast,” he said.
Even though the team didn’t have to play three consecutive games to win the championship, the 308th BSB certainly had its hands full during the semifinals game with the 62nd Maintenance Squadron.
The 62nd MXS was the 12th seeded team in the tournament, but league coordinators noted that it was a deceptive ranking considering the team played a large portion of the season with four or less players due to work. It even had a 24-21 halftime lead over the 308th BSB.
But the 308th BSB felt they were able to improve on all of the little things that sometimes go unnoticed by the average spectator, like exploiting mismatches and sharing the ball.
“The crowd only sees the score, but they don’t always see the game within the game,” Huling said.