Photo by Rachel Larue
Nicole Pittman, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Lady Generals player, goes up for a basket Feb. 16, during the first game of the women’s portion of the Capital Classic Basketball Tournament against Fort Bragg. The women’s team from JBM-HH won the weekend tournament.
There was a President’s Day weekend sweep of Armed Forces basketball squads at the 2014 Capital Classic tournament on Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, as the hosts Fort Myer Generals and Lady Generals ran through bracket and pool play to claim titles in the 19th annual military hoops get-together.
The storyline in Feb. 17’s men’s championship contest featuring the Generals versus Fort Bragg was the ever-changing point margin and lead held at the Fort Myer Fitness Center gymnasium. Sometimes large and expanding and moments later, paper-thin and shrinking, the Generals never trailed during the 40-minute contest, but had numerous brushes with falling behind. But like in the quarterfinal and semifinal games, a group of Generals took turns dominating game segments throughout the team’s championship run.
"That’s pretty much what we do," Cap Classic most valuable player and General guard Montavious Waters said following the 93-90 championship game victory over Bragg. "We have so many guys who can dominate. It seems like we just take turns. That makes it tough to deal with us."
The Myer men grabbed an early 21-6 lead five minutes into the title game as
Kevin Clark took control. The Generals forward scored nine points in a span of four minutes as the hosts expanded the lead to as large as 18 points.
Bragg continuously whittled into the Myer lead and trailed 41-40 with three minutes and 55 seconds to play in the first half, when Waters went on his own personal scoring streak. The past All-Army guard dropped down the General’s next nine points and dished an assist to Lavor Postell to give Fort Myer a 52-40 lead with 1:04 remaining before the halftime break. Waters tacked on an additional field goal and technical foul shot, and the Generals led 55-40 after 20 minutes of play.
Bragg, the defending Cap Classic champs, trimmed an 18-point, second-half deficit to have prime opportunities to tie or take the lead. At the 5:54 and 4:42 marks of the final half and during the final two minutes of play, Bragg possible go-ahead possessions were turned away by the General’s defense.
"Defense played a major role in the last minute of the game," Generals coach Marcus Hall said. "We had been playing man-to-man throughout [the] majority of the game; we decided to give them a different look by playing a match-up, 3-2 zone to eliminate their guards from penetrating to the basket."
During the final five minutes of play, Myer’s largest lead was four points following Terrell Moorer’s field goal with 4:09 remaining. Moorer scored 10 of his 14 points in the final half.
Clark led the championship game scoring effort with 20 points as five Generals finished in double figures.
With just two female teams participating in the tournament, the Lady Generals and Fort Bragg Lady Dragons played a best of three series. Myer scored a pair of Feb. 16 victories by the scores of 88-65 and 86-78, and Lady General Syreeta Bromfield earned the most valuable player nod. Teammates Erneisha Bailey, Keyanna Wakefield, Kathy Brown and Charlisa Cummings were named to the all-tournament team.
During the women’s opener, the Lady Generals traded the lead 10 times in the first half, but despite scoring 25 points in game one, Bromfield felt finishing off a two-game sweep was the most important factor of the tournament.
"I was kind of surprised [by the MVP award] because I felt like I didn’t play very well in the first game but did OK in the second game," Bromfield said. "We had our mind made up to just take care of business on Sunday because we didn’t want to play them a third time on Monday."
In near dawn to past dusk action on Sunday, the Myer men posted their first win against Bragg during an 8 a.m. contest followed by a 97-82 victory against Camp Lejeune. In the 98-94 win over Bragg, a Clark baseline jumper with 36 seconds to play combined with Ernest Hassell’s one and the bonus free throws cemented the victory. Waters and Postell both scored a team-high 18 points in the initial Bragg encounter.
Against Lejeune, Postell led the Generals with 26 points and the tournament’s male three-point champion, Sean Hackshaw added 11 points.
To open the Cap Classic Feb. 15, Fort Myer nearly topped the 100-point plateau in a 97-83 win over Fort Carson. Waters led Myer with 25 points; Hackshaw scored 15 while Deon Coleman and Albert Glover notched 12 points and 10 points, respectively.
Moorer, Hassell and Clark, along with Fort Bragg’s Kendrick Fox and Chadrick Dewitt and Camp Lejeune’s J. Demarcus White, were named to the Capital Classic all-tournament team.