The 52nd Force Support Squadron clinched their second consecutive intramural sports title after a grueling basketball championship game against the 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron Feb. 21.
LRS took an early lead in the first half and tried to maintain an aggressive game plan.
“We went out there at the beginning of the game and had a game plan to go in there and score real quick on them,” said Krystofer Benson, who played for LRS. “We knew their defense from the last time we played them.”
LRS finished their final game in the playoffs just moments before the championship game started, so their initial momentum slowed and FSS slowly started to whittle away at their lead.
Three-pointers and a couple of crucial layups kept LRS in check and by halftime, the score was tied 21-21.
The second half was all FSS, who came onto the court with a second wind while the exhausted LRS team struggled to keep pace.
FSS players Christopher Malcolm and Stephan Perryman carried the team, scoring seven and nine points in the second half, respectively.
As the final minutes of the game ticked by, LRS desperately attempted to equalize the score and amassed six personal fouls to slow the FSS scoring streak. Each personal foul forced FSS to shoot free throws.
“I was just praying that I made those free throws at the end of the game,” said Malcolm, who went 4-7 at the free-throw line. “They fought hard and didn’t want to lose, but we managed to keep one step ahead of them.”
With just 30 seconds left on the clock, LRS trailed by only four points. An attempt to get the ball to the 6-foot-7 LRS center Odarrie King on the inside lane failed to make a difference as the clock continued to tick.
The buzzer finally sounded and FSS won 46-41.
Fans of the FSS team cheered and rushed onto the court to congratulate the victors.
"The second half, they really came out strong and wanted to win," said Benson. "In the end, they just had the heart to take it all. It was tough."
FSS also won the football championship last year, which was the last intramural sport to come to a close.
Competition is just one aspect of intramural sports as the thrill of the game stretches beyond the victories and losses.
"I love basketball, I love the crowd, I love my squadron, I just love it," said an exhausted Reggie Thompson, who netted five points for FSS.
Both teams congratulated each others with handshakes, hugs and smiles.
"It's a lot of fun to come out and meet new people who love the same game — it's a good thing," said Benson.