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The Champs: 1-11th Eagles win hoops crown

Marcus Hart, player for the Eagles, pushes past an opposing player during the 2014 Fort Rucker Intramural Post Championship game at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center April 3. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Marcus Hart, player for the Eagles, pushes past an opposing player during the 2014 Fort Rucker Intramural Post Championship game at the Fort Rucker Physical Fitness Center April 3. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: April 10, 2014

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (April 10, 2014) -- Two teams took to the court to determine the winner of the 2014 Fort Rucker Intramural Post Championship game, but penalty after penalty allowed one team to walk away with the title April 3.

The 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Eagles beat Get Down & Lay Down, a team made up of Soldiers from various units, in two games to win the championship for the second year in a row.

“You just can’t underestimate the heart of a champion,” said 1st Sgt. Michael Delaney, coach for the Eagles. “(My team) brought everything they had tonight and laid it all out there on the court. I don’t think they were going to go home tonight unless they won.”

Like last year, the Eagles came up from the loser’s bracket after losing to Get Down earlier in the playoffs, so they had to win two games in a row to take home the championship.

With superior shooting and a strong defense, the 1-11th managed to stay ahead of their opponents. Delaney made sure to sub out his players frequently throughout the game to give his players the opportunity to stay rested for what he knew to be a long two games.

“We were just a little more intense (than the other team),” said Delaney. “They didn’t sub as well during that first game while I was rotating all the players I could to give everyone time to rest while we had the lead. (Get Down) seemed like they were really tired that second game and it seemed easier to get them out of their rhythm.”

The games started as the Eagles got the tipoff, followed by a layup to score the first shot of the game.

Their defense held strong to keep their opponents from scoring and managed to extend their lead further before Get Down had a chance to get to the basket.

Get Down was able to get onto the scoreboard minutes into the game and pushed hard to stay on the heels of the 1-11th.

Despite multiple steals, the Eagles managed to tighten their defense and hold on to the lead, which didn’t last long as Get Down stepped up their offense to take the lead about halfway through the quarter.

Personal fouls against the Eagles gave them the chance to sink two free throws and retake the lead as the quarter ended, 10-8.

The lead bounced back and forth for much of the first half as both teams played strong, but fouls against Get Down gave the 1-11th the chance to pull ahead, and they managed to gain a comfortable lead by the end of the half, 25-14.

Going into the second half, Get Down had their work cut out for them if they wanted to turn things around, but the Eagles managed to score first despite not having had possession to start.

The 1-11th continued to play strong and their opponents were able to match their intensity, but not before the Eagles commanded a 15-point lead before the end of the third quarter.

The teams were going point for point in the fourth quarter and the Eagles weren’t letting up to give their opponents the chance to catch up.

A string up personal fouls against both teams allowed Get Down to sink free throws to slowly close the gap, but they couldn’t outpace their opponents offensively to do enough damage before the first game ended, 55-44.

With everything riding on the final game, both teams started off aggressively and Get Down managed to score right out of the gate, but the Eagles followed suit and the teams went point for point for much of the first quarter.

Get Down, again plagued with personal fouls, gave up points to their opponents, allowing the 1-11th to take the lead by six points going into the second quarter.

Get Down was able to pull back up on the heels of their opponents and come within one point, but more fouls gave the Eagles the chance to, again, pull away.

The over-aggressive play style by Get Down made it difficult for them to overtake their opponents with the constant penalties, but they managed to keep the score close for most of the half.

As the second half started up, the Eagles offense managed to break through their opponent’s defense and gain a 10-point lead.

As time was running out, Get Down, only four points behind, dug deep to close the gap during the closing seconds, but penalty after penalty held them back and the Eagles took the championship, 53-47.

This article was originally published at http://www.army.mil/article/124236/

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