EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
The 96th Security Forces Squadron edged the 96th Maintenance Squadron 43-37 for their first intramural basketball league win here Jan. 24.
The SFS team, with a 0-2 season start, was hungry for a victory. Maintenance, at 1-1, needed a ‘w’ to boost their stats into positive territory.
Both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the early minutes, each plagued by loose passing, missed shots and turnovers.
Maintenance’s Jerid Jento sunk the game’s first three-pointer at 13:12 for an early 3-2 lead. The teams stayed close for the next three minutes until DeMarcus Miles’ lay-up put SFS in front, 8-5.
From there, the base enforcers raised their game with tighter defense and improved shot-making.
Maintenance fought through free-throw shooting difficulties and offensive miscues to keep up. The Cops outpaced the maintainers 13 points to 10 and left the court with a 21-15 advantage at halftime.
Chanese Hall and Michael Vega, Maintenance’s coaches, said their team felt the Cops’ zone defense pressure.
“They’re preventing us from driving to the basket,” Hall said. “We need to find a way to break through in the next half.”
The Cops’ defensive crush and offensive adjustments made them uncatchable, according to Xavier Dorsey, the coach.
“We were a little sloppy on offense at first, but we got better towards the end of the half,” he said. “We’ve got to stay strong on defense in order to win.”
In the first minute of the second half, Maintenance closed the gap to 21-18 with a successful free throw from Dylan Ehrlich and two from Michael Whisman. SFS’ Keith Miller answered with the first of his two second-half three-pointers to lift the score to 24-18.
The Cops’ swarming defense kept Maintenance rattled throughout the half. At the 6:11 mark, Maintenance trailed 35-23, the largest point deficit of the game at 12.
Both teams then fell into a three-minute scoring drought. With SFS leading 37-26 at 2:50, Maintenance attempted a comeback, spurred by baskets from Jento and Dylan Ehrich. By 39 seconds to go, they cut the lead to two points, 39-37.
Clutch free throws from Dorsey and Miller ended Maintenance’s late surge. SFS notched their first win, 43-37. Miller led all scorers with 14 points.
“We kept the pressure on and made our free throws when we needed to,” said Dorsey. “We’re going to get better as the season progresses.”