94th Engr. Bn., 1-48th Inf. Bn. to vie for post championship Print E-mail
Wednesday, 24 March 2010
Story and photos by Matt Decker
Leisure/Sports editor

The 94th Engineer Battalion battled point by point in the final seconds of the Commander’s Cup Tier A final to take home the championship trophy, while the 1st Battalion, 48th Infantry Regiment dominated their final from the start to finish to claim the Tier B crown, Monday night.

Both trophy-holders will meet tonight in the main event of the “Finals Basketball Nite” at Davidson Fitness Center to see who will wear the title “post champion.”

After his team’s 59-28 thumping of the 787th Military Police Battalion, 1-48th Inf. Bn. coach Adam Finley said he couldn’t wait to take on the Engineers.

“We want the 94th,” Finley said. “We lost to the 94th earlier, and it was the only loss we had all season, so we want to face them again. … It’s going to be one heck of a battle — come see it.”

Likewise, 94th Engr. Bn. coach Roger O’Neal said he was looking forward to tonight’s game after his team pulled off a 42-41 victory in a nailbiter against the previously undefeated 58th Transportation Battalion.

“Like I’ve said before, we’ve got a championship team. I don’t think there’s anyone who can stop us,” O’Neal said. “I expect us to take first place overall.”

Post basketball fans can see a trio of championship games begin at 6 p.m., tonight, with the Over 30 League championship, followed by the Women’s League championship at 7 p.m., and the post championship game at 8 p.m. All games will be played on the full court at DFC. The Finals Basketball Nite had previously been scheduled to happen Monday, but was moved to tonight to better accommodate the start of the intramural soccer season, according to Danny Howell, Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation sports specialist.

“We’ve been playing two games a day in the Over 30 League to get all the games in. There is a need to get (the basketball season) done so that it doesn’t conflict with soccer,” Howell said.

Here’s how each of the tier championships broke down:

Darius Porter, 58th Trans. Bn. (4) tries to block a shot by Quentin Richard (13), 94th Engr. Bn. in the Tier A final, March 22.

Tier A

The 94th Engineers dominated the early minutes of the Tier A championship, building up a 17-8 led by Quentin Richard, Jerae Woods, Anton Dixon and John Dixon. But the 58th Trans. Bn. was able to make up ground, with several long-distance shots by Neal Robinson and support inside by Sherron Goffigan and Travis Goss that cut the 94th’s lead to 22-21 at the half.

The 94th was able to maintain a four-point lead throughout most of the second half, and tried to run the clock down in the final minute. A three-pointer by the 58th’s Harley Jhanson and a pair of free-throws by Goffigan narrowed the lead to one, but the 94th was able to hang on the final eight seconds for the win.

After the game, O’Neal said the 58th Trans. Bn. was “the best team we played all year.”

“Overall, we’ve got a good squad. We have a lot of depth on the bench. We average between 60 to 65 points per game.” O’Neal said.

The win was the high point of a season that didn’t start out successfully for the 94th.

“At the beginning of the season, we started out slow. We forfeited our first two games due to the fact that we had conflicting schedules. After that, once I put the team together and realized who I had, I knew I had a championship team. Most of the teams we’ve played so far have been all right, but they haven’t been up to the caliber of our team — we’ve been winning games by 15, 20 points,” O’Neal said.

Carlos Fernando, 58th Trans. Bn. coach, said that despite the loss, he was pleased with his team’s performance in the Tier A final.

“They played a great game. We had all the elements we needed for this game, but we just came up a little short,” Fernando said. “Believe me, we’ll be back next year, and we’ll be as strong as ever.”

The loss was the first for 58th Trans. Bn., which won the Conference A trophy for the regular season earlier this month.

“We had an undefeated season. This was our first loss all season — I couldn’t ask for a better team,” he said.

Donnell Raby, 1-48th (15) focuses on the basket to make a jump shot as 787th MP defender Jonathon Farner looks on, March 22, in the Tier B final.

Tier B

A three-pointer by Marcus Mitchell gave the 787th Military Police Battalion a 3-2 lead on the second play of the Tier B championship, but it was the only lead the Praetorians would enjoy, as the 1-48th Inf. Bn. team went on a scoring tear, led by Brandon Harris and assisted by Donnell Raby, Charles Prince, Leslie Russell, Spencer Harvey and David Green.

The 1-48th Inf. Bn. led 33-11 at the half, and mercy ruled the 787th with two minutes left in the second half. Harris punctuated each half with a slam dunk.

“Our entire team is nothing but all-stars. They are the heart and soul of the 1-48th,” Finley said.

The 1-48th coach added that the team wanted to “make a statement.”

“We played the MPs in our first game, and it was a close game. We wanted to come out tonight and show we were ready to go. My guys delivered. They came out and played their butts off. This is the best game I’ve seen them play all year. I’m just waiting for the championship, because it’s going to be even better,” Finley said.

Speaking for the 787th MP Bn., player Tom Collison said his team had problems with pacing and hitting their shots.

“We got (to the championship) because we ran the ball, and they kind of took us out of our element, so we had a real hard time keeping pace with them,” Collison said. “We also weren’t able to make shots for some reason. They were simply the better team tonight, and they won.”

More images available in the 2010 Commander's Cup Basketball Photo Gallery.
Last Updated ( Thursday, 08 April 2010 )