EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The 592nd Special Operations Maintenance Squadron basketball team triumphed over the Air Force Research Laboratory team in the third week of intramural basketball league competition here, 41-32, Jan. 24.
The 592nd team, from Duke Field, took the court with a 1-0 record after crushing the 96th Security Forces Squadron in their Jan. 11 opener, 44-27.
AFRL looked to level their 0-1 record with a win following a 41 – 31 drubbing by the 33rd Maintenance Group Jan. 10.
Maintenance, with good ball handling, passing and shot selections, led AFRL from the opening tip to the game-ending buzzer.
Both teams were slow to score. Maintenance’s Matt Johnson finally nailed a two-point jump shot at 18:45 into the opening half to put his team on the scoreboard first.
AFRL’s Berret Hardin posted his team’s first numbers by draining a three-point shot from the right court at 15:21, to bring the score to 5-3.
The Lab pulled even with the Duke squad at 14:52 for a 5-5 tie, but never took the lead.
From 12:27, the score was frozen at 11 – 8, for more than four minutes, in Maintenance’s favor, before David Freeman hit a three-pointer at 8:10 to gain a 14 – 8 edge.
A steal and slam dunk from Freeman at 7:05, and a three-pointer from AFRL’s Ethan Dobrot at 1:29, were the remaining first-half highlights, which shone through missed shots and muddled defensive efforts. The teams walked to their benches at halftime with the 592nd in front, 24 – 16.
“We’re missing some easy shots and we’re not boxing out,” said Dobrot, AFRL’s coach, during their huddle. “We need more energy on defense if we’re going to win.”
Adam Raaymakers, the 592nd coach, asked his team to stay in control with their winning plan.
“We’re a tall team, which helps,” he said, referring to his “trees,” the 6-foot-7 inch Adam Cummings, 6-foot-6 Zack Miller and 6-foot-4 Freeman.
“We’re going to settle down, pressure them down low, move on offense, set picks, make cuts and rotate,” he said. “Simple, easy stuff is going to win us this game - nothing fancy.”
The teams picked up the pace in the second half.
AFRL’s attempts to make up ground were thwarted by the Maintenance big guys’ rebound domination and misses on several fast breaks, free throws, uncontested shots and easy lay-ups.
Maintenance kept the heat on AFRL throughout the second half. At one point, their lead stretched to 15, after a tip-in bucket from Jonathan Wright at 13:50. AFRL closed the lead to eight, but could not catch Maintenance, as they cruised to a 41 – 32 win.
Freeman led his team to 2-0 in the league standings with 17 points, scoring nine of those from three-point range.
Hardin connected on four three-point shots and was the Lab’s high scorer with 15 points.
“We had some good defense and scored on some turnovers,” Raaymakers said of the victory. “The second half was a little ugly. We have some things to work on. Having our big guys is going to be one of our keys to a winning season.”