MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- The squeak of shoes, the rhythmic thud of the ball, the swish of the net and a really loud buzzer means that more basketball was played aboard the Combat Center Monday night.
The eighth set of three games in the Commanding General’s Intramural Basketball League was held at the West Gym as six teams passed, shot and dribbled toward a chance for victory.
The evening began with the top-rated Headquarters Battalion Team 1 facing Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School Team 1. HQBN 1 took the win, 75–62.
In the second game of the evening, MCCES 2’s 46 points were not enough to counter 1st Tank Battalion’s 54.
“This wasn’t an easy game by any means,” said Tanks head coach William Harvey. “They have some pretty talented players, some big players and they have come a long way since the beginning of the season. They are not to be underestimated.”
The Tanks and MCCES 2 match up began with Tanks taking a small lead in the opening minutes, but MCCES 2 never trailed by more than a few baskets. Both teams scored nearly point-for-point and used most of the shot clock before attempting shots.
As halftime approached, MCCES 2 held their own as they brought the score to within one point of Tanks. Both teams stole the ball from each other frequently, but MCCES 2 kept it close until the halftime buzzer sounded and rested the score at 22–21 with Tanks leading.
“I think the entire first half we came out pretty flat,” said Harvey. “We just weren’t motivated and didn’t have the intensity. I think we had the feeling that we could come out and win it easily.”
After words of encouragement from the coaches, players spent the remainder of halftime reviewing plays, practicing shots and taking a breather.
It was Tanks who delivered the first blow as the second half began, taking the lead at 30–24.
Although the ball remained predominantly on the MCCES 2 side of the court, Tanks seemed to have trouble taking it to the hole.
“In the second half we came out and played man-to-man and pressured the ball, but they did the same right back to us,” Harvey said.
That pressure was the cause of many missed opportunities for both sides as each failed to score, locking the board at 36–27, while five minutes melted off the clock.
“We could have done better this week if more people came to practice,” said Bruce Woolley, Tanks’ power forward. “We did well in the second half only because we started playing like a team.”
As Tanks took a 12-point lead, 46–34, MCCES 2 countered by snatching rebounds and sinking a few three-pointers. With less than one minute on the clock and an eight-point deficit, MCCES 2 could not muster a comeback.
The game ended at 54–46.
“We just took care of the ball better and made better passes, that’s all,” said Harvey. “We tried to slow the game down a little bit at the end — we wore the clock to our advantage.”
The final game featured the Robert E. Bush Naval Hospital’s win over HQBN 2, 66–45, which came after Hospital’s loss last week to MCCES 1.
The next set of games will be held Thursday at the West Gym beginning at 5:30 p.m.