By Airman 1st Class Curt Beach
2nd Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Team members from the 2nd Communications Squadron intramural basketball team huddle up prior to a game at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016. The team completed the regular season with a 9-3 record and toppled an undefeated team and tournament favorite before eventually falling to the team from the 2nd Security Forces Squadron in the championship game. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
William Muhlbach, 2nd Communications Squadron center, and Josh Porter, 2nd Security Forces Squadron power forward, elevate for the opening tipoff of a championship basketball game at Barksdale Air Force base, La., April 14, 2016. The 2nd CS Tigers squared off against the 2nd SFS Bayou Warriors for the title of base intramural basketball champs. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
Exzavior Webb, 2nd Communcations Squadron shooting guard, looks for the open man, during a championship basketball game at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016. The 2nd CS team finished the regular season with a 9-3 record and knocked off an undefeated team and championship favorite on its way to the season’s final game. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
William Muhlbach, 2nd Communications Squadron center, prepares to drive to the basket during a championship game at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016. Coworkers, family and friends came out to show support for their teams in the intramural basketball playoff championship. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
Exzavior Webb, 2nd Communcations Squadron shooting guard, attacks the basket, during a championship basketball game at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016. Webb led his team with 18 points in the first game of the night’s series and 25 in the second. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
The 2nd Security Forces Squadron championship basketball team poses for a photo at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016. The team defeated the 2nd Communications Squadron team in back-to-back games to win the championship by scores of 66-57 and 55-49. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Curt Beach)
Two basketball powerhouses met in a heavyweight battle to decide the base champions at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., April 14, 2016.
After a 12-game regular season, the 2nd Security Forces Squadron Bayou Warriors met the 2nd Communications Squadron Tigers in the championship of a double-elimination playoff bracket.
The Tigers entered the contest as the favorite, having no playoff losses, while the Bayou Warriors had one. If 2nd CS were to win the game, they would be crowned the champs. However, if 2nd SFS were to win, thereby handing 2nd CS their first playoff loss, a rematch game would be played 30 minutes later with the winning team claiming the title.
“The expectation for our squadron is to maintain the highest level of fitness at all times,” said Senior Master Sgt. Cliff Young, 2nd SFS superintendent. “I believe when you have a winning sports program, it correlates directly to maintaining a fit-to-fight force. The level of commitment, determination and overall fitness required to win in intramural sports is the same as having a winning mindset in a combat environment.”
The Bayou Warriors came out hot, looking more like the Golden State Warriors, with a couple of quick 3-pointers.
The Tigers responded with a three of their own, but the Warriors retaliated with a few easy buckets in the paint and two more treys to claim an 18-5 advantage.
The Tigers called a timeout to regroup, which resulted in a modest 5-0 run, but had no answer for the Bayou Warriors’ 3-point snipers and fell behind 26-10.
“Our goal at the half was to slow down the 3-point shooting by changing up our defense which would isolate certain spots on the court and make it harder for them to work around, taking them out of their comfort zone,” said Exzavior Webb, Tigers shooting guard.
Just when it looked like the Warriors might run away with the game, the Tigers began to claw back into the fight. Riding the hot hands of shooting guards Webb and Marcus Toney, they put together a 22-10 run.
With 6 minutes left to play, Toney drained a three, igniting the crowd and cutting the Warriors’ lead to two, 46-44, the smallest since the opening moments of the game.
Aiming to ride their momentum and take the lead for the first time, the Tigers tightened up their defense.
But the Warrior offense proved too strong, and they pitched the upset victory 66-57, forcing a winner-take-all final contest.
In game two, the Warriors’ 3-point barrage continued, as they built a 42-26 lead with 11:22 to play.
Facing a do-or-die situation, the Tigers called a timeout in order to mount a final push.
Webb sliced through the Warrior defense several times for some quick buckets and cut the gap to single digits.
However, the Warriors sank some clutch free throws and hung on for a 55-49 victory, claiming the title of base champions.
The Warriors were led by Josh Porter, who led all scorers with a combined 48 points in the two games.
Webb led the Tigers with 43 points on the night, while Toney chipped in 38.