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NEWS | April 5, 2013

802nd takes the basketball crown in spirited match

By Jose T. Garza III JBSA-Lackland

The 802nd Force Support Squadron claimed the intramural basketball championship in a 47-37 victory over the 543rd Support Squadron during the Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland intramural tournament, March 20, at the Warhawk Fitness Center.

The victory avenged losses from last season and earlier this year for the FSS team.

The new base champions would hand both the Air Force Public Affairs Agency and the 37th Training Support Squadron comeuppance with quarterfinal and semifinal wins at 62-48 and 44-37 respectively, March 18 and 20.

AFPAA had dished FSS a 45-33 loss Jan. 17 during a regular-season game that was supposed to be a win, according to FSS guard Maurice Jenkins-Day.

"That (regular-season) game; AFPAA players were just hitting shots that I didn't think they could hit. But during the quarterfinal game, we let them know that they should have not beat us the first time," said Jenkins-Day, who scored a team high of 13 points.

The 37th TRSS was the next foe to conquer after it eliminated the No. 1-seeded FSS 62-49 last season. The 37th struck again this season when it handed the new champions a 64-57 loss during another regular-season game, March 14.

"To redeem ourselves by beating the 37th TRSS (during the semi-finals) was huge. We know most of their players so it was good, competitive, back-and-forth action. They say revenge is real sweet," said 802nd FSS Coach Kenneth Plummer.

One more team was left to overcome during the semi-finals: the defending base intramural basketball champions, the 543rd.

The FSS set the tone early in the March 20 game with a 29-18 first-half lead, then carried its momentum into the second half, tallying a 19-point lead.

SPTS was not going to readily give up its base crown and scored eight straight points to chip its deficit to 11, with six minutes left in the game. FSS preserved its lead with a floater from point guard Calvin Conliffe that sparked a short 6-0 run for a 17-point lead with 5:30 left.

FSS clinched the game by playing team ball and staying relaxed, Plummer said.

"We just went up and down the court like we normally do. Everybody was smiling and having fun. The bench was having fun. Nobody was frustrated or mad at each other. We played team ball and pulled out the win."

Jenkins-Day said the championship was a long time coming. "Last year, I felt we robbed ourselves. We had the best record but we eliminated ourselves in the first round. This year, it has been teamwork and we stayed disciplined."