MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII --
The intramural basketball season came to a close with a brutal tug of war between Headquarters Battalion and Postal, resulting in Headquarters Bn.’s win, 43-37, at the Semper Fit Center gym, March 27, 2013.
The two rivals had seen the likes of each other on the hardwood once before, at the beginning of the season — their very first game.
“I’m glad we had two teams both out of the same unit in the championship game,” said Postal coach James Warren. “That’s good for our battalion so I’m happy about that. We’ve already beat them early, the first game of the season we beat them in a pretty lopsided victory."
Headquarters Bn. shared the same sentiment, ready for a rematch with its foe.
“We’re excited,” said Levi Gothard, coach of the Headquarters Bn. team. “We have an intercommand rivalry. We’re just ready to go out there and win.”
Warren did lament that the team was unable to seek revenge on Patrol Squadron 9, to whom they lost during the season. Gothard agreed that VP-9 was the toughest team to contend with this season, with experienced players.
“They had great outside shooters and they had great coaches,” Warren said. “They played very well together.”
This was the last game for Warren. He said he plans to retire from playing basketball and spend more time with his family.
“I can’t do the same things that I could do a season, even two seasons ago,” Warren said. “It’s time for me to ride off into the sunset. I’ve had a good time this season,” Warren said.
As for this last face-off, Warren expected Headquarters Bn. to return with a vengeance.
“I’m sure they’re going to come better prepared this time around for us,” Warren said. “Kudos to them on fighting through and making it to the championship game.”
That evening, basketballs slammed against the hardwood floor, as the teams awaited the battle ahead.
At the sound of the whistle and the initial tip-off, Headquarters Bn. and Postal wasted no time, and immediately started filling both ends of the scoreboard in the blink of an eye. Pools of sweat spread across the floor, and referees paused the game for a quick towel sweep.
With as little as four minutes left in the game, Headquarters Bn. and Postal were literally fighting like children over a valued toy. The clock repeatedly came to a halt as the shrill whistle of the referee stung the ears of everyone in the gym, and players kept earning shooting fouls.
With 9.5 seconds left, Postal grabbed the ball and made one last dash down the court, only to have Headquarters Bn. snatch it back and hang on until the buzzer blared.
“Overall we found out what our weaknesses are and some stuff that we’ve got to work on to better ourselves for the 101 Days of Summer,” said Postal player Tony Gaisoa. “So, as a team it’s a good experience, that way we can grow together … being number one got us all comfortable. But, you win some, you lose some.”
The Headquarters Bn. players received water bottles and T-shirts for their first-place win.
“It was a hard-fought victory,” Gothard said. “It was a close game. Two defensive teams against each other was a huge defensive struggle. We scored 43 points and we’re usually scoring 50 or 60 … we’ve been waiting for this game all season, so we’re glad we pulled it out. They had to start fouling us at like three minutes because they couldn’t keep up with us ... we’re the real Headquarters Battalion team.”