Kenyatta Prince, #1 of 31st Operations Support Squadron, performs a lay up as Sherwin Severin, #11 of 31st Security Forces Squadron, attempts to guard him during the 30 and above intramural basketball championship game Feb. 16 at the Dragon Fitness Center. The 31st OSS defeated the 31st SFS, 59-51. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)
Members of 31st Security Forces Squadron and 31st Operations Support Squadron, go for a rebound during the 30 and above intramural basketball championship game Feb. 16 at the Dragon Fitness Center. The 31st OSS defeated the 31st SFS, 59-51. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)
Ryan Burke, #12 of 31st Security Forces Squadron, performs a lay up over David Maurice, #8 of 31st Operations Support Squadron, during the 30 and above intramural baskeball championship game Feb. 16 at the Dragon Fitness Center. The 31st OSS defeated the 31st OSS, 59-51. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes)
by Staff Sgt. Julius Delos Reyes
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs
2/18/2011 - AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy -- "Always a bridesmaid, never a bride" seems to be the 31st Security Forces Squadron's theme for the last two 30-and-above intramural basketball championships as they fell to the 31st Operations Support Squadron, 59-51, during the final game at the Dragon Fitness Center here Feb. 16.
Going to the playoffs as underdogs, the 31st OSS gave the 31st SFS their first and only playoff loss, and ultimately clinched the championship trophy.
"We knew it was going to be a very tough game and we were going to have to play our best in order to pull off a victory," said Jeffrey Thomas, 31st OSS coach. "After they beat us in the regular season and handed us our only defeat, we knew we would be seeing them again in the playoffs and knew what we were going to be up against. They are a team with great chemistry that plays very well together. They have a very strong center and inside game, and you pair that with the players they have that shoot well from the outside and you have a very balanced and strong team."
From the start of the game, the 31st OSS played a zone defense to pressure the 31st SFS's outside shooters while trying to contain their inside game.
"We didn't want to get beat in the paint, and we felt if we made them shoot jump shots, we had a great chance of winning the game, and that plan paid off," Thomas said.
The first ten minutes of the game was a battle between offenses as both teams tried to grab the lead, shot after shot. However, 31st OSS's Will Smith's five three-pointers helped widen the gap between the teams. Laniya Cundiff, Kenyatta Prince, Michael Cox, Sascha Richardson and James Hardin also contributed to the 31st OSS's 35 points during the first half, beating out the 31st SFS's 27 points.
During the second half, the 31st SFS tried to narrow the gap, almost succeeding during the last eight minutes, narrowing the gap to two points, but a series of mistakes and fouls plagued the team. Prince powered up eight points to rally the 31st OSS for the victory over the 31st SFS, 59-51.
Talking about their bridesmaid finish, 31st SFS coach Stephanie Davis said their loss is hard to take in but she commended her team's performance.
"The guys played their best; they never gave up," she said. "They played with dedication and motivation. They pulled together well as a team. No matter what their workdays were, they always came out and give 110 percent. As far as I am concerned, they won."
According to Thomas, the 31st OSS had a great season overall, and despite the work schedule and high operations tempo, they always managed to put a full team on the court.
"It was a great win for the squadron, especially when you consider we are a fairly small squadron by the numbers, and to win a base championship is always very rewarding," Thomas said. "Considering this was the first time that the majority of our team played together, our teamwork throughout the season progressively improved. By the end of the season we were a very cohesive unit that played very well together and understood each other's strengths and weaknesses."