MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- Six varsity basketball teams from the Southwest visited the Combat Center Saturday and Sunday to compete in five games at the West Gym.
Men’s and women’s varsity teams from Camp Pendleton, Luke Air Force Base and the Combat Center played at the only varsity-level basketball competition to be held here this year.
One reason this is the only time this year the Combat Center will host this event, is because the base is at a disadvantage due to its location, in spite of this, it was good opportunity for the Combat Center’s teams to play at home, said Skip Best, Marine Corps Community Services Sports director.
“This was a great weekend of basketball, particularly for our teams to play at home,” said Best. “I was very pleased with the efforts of both our men and women's teams.”
The four games on Saturday began with the Combat Center’s women’s team taking on Luke AFB.
MCAGCC took the win, 73–49.
“The Twentynine Palms women's team took a recent set back with the loss of two key players,” said Best. “They did themselves proud this weekend with their efforts against two of the better military teams on the West coast.”
Game two featured men’s teams from Camp Pendleton and Luke AFB, which ended in a Camp Pendleton victory, 83–67.
The third game of the day pitted the Luke AFB women’s team for their second game against the undermanned Camp Pendleton females. To fill the holes in the roster, Combat Center women stepped up to play, but Luke still walked away with a 78–66 win.
Saturday’s final game was between MCAGCC men and Luke AFB. The game had some on the edge of their seats until the buzzer sounded with MCAGCC on top for a final score of 90–76.
“Today Luke had already played a game,” said Miguel Bridges, head coach for MCAGCC’s women’s team and a player on the men’s team. “They were tired, so we knew we had an advantage. Especially we as Marines, we’re always running and pushing the ball.”
The varsity league is much different from the intramural sport, said Bridges, who is also an intramural league basketball player.
“In particular, is it’s much more organized and practiced where intramural is just coming out and playing ball, almost like street ball,” said Bridges.
For Spencer Rutledge, coach and player for the MCAGCC men’s team, his team’s wins this weekend were a sign of progress made.
“This showed that we are getting better as a team and that our wins were not a fluke,” said Rutledge. “It’s always nice to play at home, too.”
The final installment Sunday morning again showcased the skills of MCAGCC’s men’s team against Camp Pendleton.
After an arduous road to victory, MCAGCC prevailed, 97–89.
“It just goes to show you that you just can’t take anybody for granted, especially Twentynine Palms,” said Bridges.
Both MCAGCC men’s and women’s teams will travel to the University of Arizona to take part in the National Intramural Sports Association Western Regional Basketball Championship March 3–5.