JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas –
The 543rd Support Squadron Spartans came out the gate early, fell behind in the second half and then battled back to defeat the 59th Medical Logistics Readiness Squadron Log Dogs 49-40 in Division I Intramural Basketball Tuesday.
Guards Julian Jones and Brandon Hawkins set the tone by putting the Spartans up 4-0 immediately after tipoff.
Hawkins, who lead the team with 18 points, said a good pregame warm-up helped them in scoring early.
"We just wanted to get a real good jump on them," Hawkins said. "We focused on pressing to get some easy buckets.
"If we get some easy buckets early then it sets the tone for the rest of the game so we just pressed to keep them on their toes."
The Spartans scored 13 of the game's first 15 points, highlighted by Jones dishing an alley-oop to Hawkins to make it 11-2.
The Log Dogs followed with a short run, going on a 7-0 blaze before Hawkins was fouled going to the rim.
The guard hit both free throws, putting the 543rd up 15-9.
After the Log Dogs scored four points, Hawkins followed with five straight points shortly thereafter to give the Spartans a 20-14 lead.
The Spartans leading scorer said the reason for his 18-point performance was simply because he was feeling good and had fresh legs, taking a week off after his squad's 40-25 victory over 717th Military Intelligence Battalion Nov. 29.
"I felt like I had an advantage over the other team's guards, so I tried to get in that mental state to where no matter what, we were going to get some points on the board."
The Log Dogs, with only five players suited up, battled back to go on a 9-2 run,which gave them the lead for the first time, 25-24.
Spartans forward Stanley Riley, who had 15 points, stopped the bleeding, scoring five straight points to put his squad back up for good at 29-27.
"We let them get easy buckets, and we let them hit some wide open three-pointers," Hawkins said. "We knew they could shoot. I think four of their five guys were 3-point shooters, and instead of playing good defense, we laid back and let them get easy buckets.
"It started to give them the momentum so we had to focus on locking the defense down and not let them get easy buckets," he said.
After Riley's buckets, the Spartans built momentum, outscoring their opponents 20-13 the rest of the way.
"This game was a tough learning experience," Hawkins said. "We got out to an early lead, got comfortable, and then faced some adversity after the half.
"Last week was a bit more of a blowout so we weren't mentally prepared," he said. "We had a team that gave us a good run, so we had to play some real good basketball."