JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C., –
With a 3-9 regular season win-loss record, the 628th Civil Engineer Squadron capped off a Cinderella season with a victory against the 628th Logistics Readiness Squadron in the final game of the 2013 Intramural Basketball Season March 25, 2013, at Joint Base Charleston - Air Base.
Earning the ninth out of 10 seeds in the playoffs, the 628th CES fought their way into the championship game beating the 628th Security Forces Squadron, the undefeated, number one-seeded 628th Force Support Squadron, and the 437th Maintenance Squadron.
The 628th LRS team finished the regular season with the second best record in the league (9-3) and earned themselves a number two seed in the playoffs. They cruised into the championship game beating the Army Basketball team and the 437th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron-1 team.
In their first match-up during the regular season, LRS got the best of CES; winning 45 to 35.
Their roles would reverse in the championship game.
"Our thoughts going into the championship game were 'redemption'," said Andrew Dean, 628th CES Basketball coach. "Last year, we went 14 and 0 during the regular season and LRS gave us our first loss in the playoffs. I have been telling my guys all season that all we had to do is make it into the dance. Regular season has no meaning. If we make the playoffs we have a chance to do something special."
The CES jumped out to a quick 5 - 0 lead, when Gerry Jamison scored the first points of the championship game with a quick inside move and Brian Haney added a 3-pointer.
LRS scored their first point when Jordan Pete was sent to the free-throw line after a foul.
A couple of scores from Andrew Harris, Jeston Freeman and Jamison expanded CES's lead to 13 - 3.
LRS began to chip away at the score and knocked down seven straight points. Todd Tolbert and Nathan Gullett added scores, while Richard Gilchrist hit a 3-pointer.
With 11.2 seconds left in the first half, Harris stole the ball from LRS Aaron Megger and scored on an easy fast break.
CES went into the locker room with a 26 to 14 half-time lead.
"Our coach's game plan was to put pressure on them [LRS] and to take them out of their comfort zone - guarding them behind the 3-point line," said Harris.
"We did a good job defensively, even though the score didn't reflect it," said Robert Degregorio, 628th LRS coach. "Our biggest goal was to stop their outside shooter from getting hot."
The CES team continued where they left off in the first half and increased their lead to 31 - 14. On the other side, LRS was unable to find their groove as they failed to score until nearly six minutes into the second half.
Harris continued to pour on the points as he added another nine points in a little over three minutes.
With the score 48 - 24 and 28.1 seconds left to play, LRS closed out the game with the final six points.
The deficit proved to be too much for LRS. As time expired, the final score was 48 to 30 with the 628th CES capturing the base championship.
"We just could never get going offensively," said Degregorio. "A big congrats to CES for the way they turned themselves around for the playoffs. This was a team that was 3 and 9 and they knocked out the number one seed on their way to the championship - a real Cinderella story. My hat is off to them on a well-deserved championship."
The top scorers for CES were Haney with 15 and Harris and Jamison with 12 each. Gilchrist had 13 points for the LRS team and Pete added another seven points.
"It was a hell of a season," said Dean. "Some ups and a lot of downs, but this is why you never quit. Stay on course and always look for something positive toward the future. My guys never quit on themselves or the team. The 628th CES basketball team is the 2013 JB Charleston champions and nobody can take that away from us."