LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, TEXAS –
The Lackland Varsity Basketball Team hosted the 32nd annual Joe Hall Basketball Tournament, which was held on Dec. 8 and 9 at the Chapparal and Warhawk Fitness Centers. By the end of the tournament, the Warhawks were the new champions, playing six games in two days.
The tournament featured 10 military base teams from around the country. Lackland's first game was against Holloman AFB, N.M.
Both teams started sluggish; however, Lackland broke out of its funk to take a 49-26 lead into halftime.
"I was a little worried about playing so early in the morning, but my team was very confident and that was evident in their play," said head coach Jerry Riley.
Lackland kept up the intensity it found late in the first half and defeated Holloman 100-72.
Lackland had five players that scored in double figures and were led by small forward Terry Daniels, who scored 20 points in the game.
"I was a little upset about the team having to play so early but they eased my mind during the pre-game huddle when Rodrick Greene gave a speech," Riley said. "He is one of the quieter players on the team, so that told me that they were ready to play."
Lackland's next game was against the defending champion of the Joe Hall tournament, Air Force Academy Preparatory from Colorado.
"Ideally, you would want to have seen the team play at least once but we were not afforded that opportunity," Riley said. "The prep school is a disciplined, young team that is in excellent physical shape."
Lackland's defense in the first half against the AF Prep's Princeton offense was good enough to give them a 32-23 lead at halftime.
AF Prep cut the lead to five, but small forward Carl Little's acrobatic play and timely shooting preserved the Lackland victory by a final score of 83-73.
Little finished the game with 28 points. Point guard Eli Lozano added 11 points.
Fighting fatigue in its third game of the day, Lackland faced an athletic team from Barksdale, AFB, La.
The game was tight at halftime, with Lackland clinging to a 41-36 lead, but Lackland was able to break the game wide open in the second half, winning 90-59. Little and shooting guard Greene were the team's leading scorers, finishing the game with 19 points each.
Lackland's first game of the second day of the tournament was against Sheppard AFB.
The Sheppard team was supposed to be one of the toughest teams in the tournament, after adding a new player. Still the outcome was the same, and Lackland ran away with the game, winning 74-59. Small forward Terry Daniels scored 17 points in the game.
The victory over Sheppard put Lackland in the championship game, which was a rematch against AF Prep. Lackland took a 41-34 lead into halftime and looked poised to score a huge victory over AF Prep, but Lackland surrendered a 20-point lead to a surging AF Prep team, and lost 69-62.
Lozano finished the game with a team high 24 points.
Due to double elimination rules, Lackland faced AF Prep again to decide the eventual champion. Lackland took a comfortable 32-19 lead into halftime.
This time however, they held off AF Prep's comeback to win 70-66. Daniels finished the game with 15, while Lozano chipped in 14 points of his own.