MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- The Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 13 Black Widows regained their station intramural basketball championship title Monday after defeating the Marine Attack Squadron 311 Tomcats, 44-34, in the championship game at the Station Fitness Center.
The Black Widows had a perfect season with an 11-0 record, which was reminiscent of their three-season 33-0 that ended last year when they lost to Base Service Department in the championship game.
High scorers in the game were Atonda Livingston, MALS-13 veteran guard, with 11 points, Jean Guerrier, MALS-13 forward, with nine points, six of which came late in the second half and Desmund Peete, VMA-311 guard with eight points.
The underdog Tomcats were able to grasp a one-point lead going into halftime, but it wouldn’t last for long.
“We had a lot of key players missing, but we came into the game with confidence,” said Keith Goodwin, VMA-311 coach. “I knew they would try to run us, and we’d have to slow down the tempo to dictate the flow of the game. In the first half, the majority of our shots were falling, and they were leaving the middle wide open, so we were able to gain the lead.”
“We had a mediocre first half,” said Donald Woods, MALS-13 coach. “We were trying to get a good feel for how the flow of the game was going to go. We had a score that we liked, but defensively, we gave up a lot of offensive rebounds. I just told my guys to come out the second half playing hard and playing our game, and at the end, we should be on top.”
Fueled by their mediocre play in the first half, the Black Widows forced their will upon the Tomcats with a 20-0 point run during the first nine minutes of the second half.
“That sealed the game right there,” said Livingston. “I didn’t play the last eight minutes. We were able to finish up the game by letting the guys who are going to be here next year get some extra playing time.”
“They came out more aggressive, and our big men weren’t able to adequately fill the position of our key players usually play,” said Goodwin. “Of course, you can’t put it all on them because it’s a team sport. Overall, we made too many mistakes.”
Before the game was over, VMA-311 gave a valiant final effort with a 12-0 run, which brought them within four points of tying the score. The Tomcats proceeded to make a few mental mistakes, which MALS-13 capitalized on and extended the lead to a game-ending 10 points.
“I try to tell all the players to keep their heads strong,” said Goodwin. “The game’s not over until that last buzzer. You can’t dwell on past calls.”
The second-half basketball season begins Jan. 9, and both the Black Widows and the Tomcats have positive outlooks for their possibilities.
“We’re losing five key players, but MALS always has players on the sideline ready to come in and fill the ranks,” said Livingston. “If they come together, I think they can be really good.”
“We’ll have all our players back and get some more practices in,” said Goodwin. “In the second half, we’re going to get first place.”