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Just Ball/No Talk downs Avengers to win intramural crown

Players battle for the toss up during the 2016 Fort Rucker Intramural Post Championship Game at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center March 8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Players battle for the toss up during the 2016 Fort Rucker Intramural Post Championship Game at Fortenberry-Colton Physical Fitness Center March 8. (Photo by Nathan Pfau)

Published: March 21, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (March 21, 2016) -- Coming off a shorter-than-usual season, teams competing in the 2016 Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball season were eager to get into the championship game, but only one team could come out on top.

Fort Rucker’s Department of Defense Education Activity team Just Ball/No Talk made a comeback to take the championship title from the 1st Battalion, 11th Aviation Regiment Avengers during the 2016 Fort Rucker Intramural Basketball Post Championship Game March 8 in a double-elimination tournament that had players and spectators on the edge of their seats.

“It was a tough game,” said Sgt. Warren Johnson, Just Ball/No Talk team captain. “We played a tough defense and denied the three pointers, and we came out and kept pushing the ball up and down the court on every rebound.”

Just Ball came into the double-elimination tournament in the winner’s bracket, needing only a single win to take the championship, but wasn’t able to pull out a win in the first game for the title, losing to their opponents by 14 points. Johnson said it was his team’s strong defensive capability that allowed them to muster and take the championship.

“During the second game we switched up the defense because we were a bit undersized – they were bigger than us,” he said. “We switched the defense and denied them from getting the offensive rebounds, and once we got the offensive rebounds away and denied them from their threes, it was easier after that.”

The Avengers got off to a quick start pulling out an early lead against Just Ball, whose defense couldn’t seem to keep up early on.

The DODEA team managed to stay on their opponent’s heels for the first few minutes, but the 1-11th’s offense started to prove too much for their opposing defense.

The Avengers seemed to be quicker on the rebounds and were able to pull a 20-point lead in the first quarter, and although Just Ball tried to close the gap, their defense continued to stumble, allowing their opponents to extend their lead to 48-23 at the end of the half.

Just Ball managed to get off to a solid start going into the second half starting off with a 3-point shot, but the Avengers just matched their pace.

The 1-11th seemed to be losing a bit of their momentum, but not enough to allow their opponents to close in on their lead.

Try as they might, Just Ball couldn’t close the gap before the sound of the buzzer that ended the first game, 75-61, sending the championship bout into a second game.

This was the DODEA team’s chance to come back and take the title, and they did just that, starting off strong with possession at the tossup to get on the scoreboard first.

Both teams went into the second game with high energy and both teams were evenly matched for most of the game.

As Just Ball switched up their defense, it kept the Avengers on their toes as their opponents held on to a small lead for most of the first half.

The 1-11th managed to steal the lead on a couple of occasions, but the DODEA team wouldn’t let up as their defense held strong to get as many rebounds as possible.

As the game progressed, the Avengers opted for a more aggressive play style, which might have cost them the game, as they gave up more than 12 free throws throughout the second half alone.

The 1-11th were able to stay within reach of their opponents, but the abundant fouls were beginning to catch up to them, with one of their players fouling out in the second half.

Before they knew it, Just Ball was up by 13 points with only minutes left in the game, and try as they might, the Avengers were unable to close the gap before the final buzzer sounded, ending the game 58-50 with Just Ball as the champions.

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