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Week of the Eagles Basketball Tournament sees 5th Special Forces Group edge out Strike for Gold

 

Written by Spc. Paul Russ
2nd Brigade Combat Team PAO

Fort Campbell KY, 101st Airborne DivisionFort Campbell's Week of the Eagles

Fort Campbell, KY – Basketball is just one of the 14-events that took place during the Week of the Eagles, 2012. The Strike team, made up of Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), has provided much excitement during the basketball tournament.

This inter-division 3-day competition, held at Fort Campbell’s Lozada gym began August 13th. The Strike team gave fans that came out to support more than their money’s worth.

The first game for the Strike Team seemed like an easy one. It started with tough defense, which was the focal point for the team during the competition.

Soldiers from 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), shake hands prior to the tip off on August 13. The basketball game was held at Lozada Gym as part of Week of the Eagles. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Paul Russ, 2nd BCT PAO, 101st ABN. DIV.)

Soldiers from 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), shake hands prior to the tip off on August 13. The basketball game was held at Lozada Gym as part of Week of the Eagles. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Paul Russ, 2nd BCT PAO, 101st ABN. DIV.)

“Defense is what gets us going,” said Spc. Antione McNeil, from Company C, 1st Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, during a post-game interview.  “Defense is the key for us to win and continue on in this tournament.”

The Strike team defensively dominated the court against the team representing 63rd Chemical Company with an overwhelming 70-23 win in Game 1 of the quarterfinals.

Game 2 would not be such a walk in the park for the Strike Team as they gave up a lot of rebounds and turn-overs in the first half to a strong opponent, 159th Combat Aviation Brigade. The Strike Team took to the second half and got their game together, then prevailed with a 59-41 victory.

“We started out a little sluggish today, but came together and did everything we needed to do to put together a win for this team,” said Staff Sgt. Casey Potts, from Strike’s 2nd Brigade Special Troops Battalion.

Potts also commented on his team’s strategy for the semifinal game.

“Play better than we did this game,” laughed Potts.

The Strike fans could not sit down as the excitement overwhelmed the seats at Lozada Gym for game 3 of the semifinals against 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, August 14th. The Strike Team trailed most of the game, but caught up to tie 67-67 at the end of regulation, which sent the teams into overtime.

In the final seconds of overtime, game still tied, Potts got fouled which sent him to the free-throw line. Potts made the foul shot leaving no time on the clock for the opposing team to score. The Strike team won with a final score of 72-71, which sent them to the championship game.

“It’s a great feeling to me,” said an excited Spc. Thaddeus Luster, who is from Company F, 526th Brigade Support Battalion. “Its like kind of going to a championship in the NBA finals.”

Game 4, the championship game, was a game filled with mixed emotions as both teams took the lead numerous of times. The Strike team led by coach Sgt. Charles Joseph, an infantryman with Company B, 2nd Battalion, 502nd Infantry Regiment, faced up against the team that represents 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, who would turn out to be more than just a worthy opponent.

The game was tied-up in the final minutes, but due to fouls caused by 2nd BCT, 5th groups team pulled ahead to win 56-51. The Strike team received the silver medal for second place, which was much deserved by a team that was put together just two months prior.

‘We have come together quite well,” said Potts, after an emotional defeat. “ I am proud of this team and what it has accomplished.”

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