Army men repeat, Navy women get redemption winning gold at Armed Forces Basketball

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Christopher Frost and Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Emiline L. M. Senn, Defense Media Activity | U.S. Armed Forces Sports | November 08, 2017

Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas -- The week-long Armed Forces Basketball Championship concluded at the Chaparral Fitness Center on Lackland Air Force Base, Nov. 07. Men’s and women’s teams from all branches of the military played a double round robin ending with the Army men and Navy women taking home the gold. 

In the men’s final, Army had five players with double digits in scoring, as Army grounded Air Force 95-85 to capture their second-straight title.

In the 2016 Men’s championship, Army ended the Air Force’s eight year championship win streak. One player, U.S. Army Capt. Ella Ellis, assigned to Fort Sill, was on the Army team that lost to the Air Force in the championship game in 2014. After Ellis was drafted to the NBA G-league affiliate of the Boston Celtics in 2015, he returned to the Armed Forces Basketball Championship in 2017 to redeem himself.

“We put on silver medals, and watching someone else put on gold medals was hard,” said Ellis. “Coach [Carl] Little worked with me and worked with my chain of command to get me here.”

Training twice a day in a gym with no air conditioning, called “the dungeon”, the Army team built a strong resilience. That resilience, and coach Little’s ability to put him in the right place at the right time, gave them the advantage they needed to win, said Ellis.

The most important part of the tournament is that it “allows us to build bonds with our brother and sisters services,” said Ellis. “I think that’s a pretty big because we work with each other a lot when we deploy.”

Navy defeated Marine Corps 87-82, placing 3rd and Marines finished 4th.

On the women’s side; team captain for the Navy women’s team, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Christi Ayers, assigned to the National Geospatial Center, Pearl Harbor, lead the Navy to victory scoring 23 points in the women’s final game, clenching the gold winning 79-63.

“I feel so much better…” said Ayers, “It was really depressing losing on the buzzer last year. So I was excited for the chance to come back and win gold.” 

Ayers, along with her teammates, U.S. Navy Seaman Danika Dale, assigned to Point Mugu, Calif., and U.S. Navy Hospitalman Kamille Horne, assigned to the Naval Post Graduate Dental School, Md., have been selected for the 2017 Women’s All-Tournament team. 

“We trusted each other, we played together, and we relied on each other,” said Ayers. “Nobody tried to be the hero and win the game themselves. Teamwork is what has gotten us this far.” 

Air Force defeated Marine Corps 60-48 to place 3rd and Marines finished 4th.

For more information, full game stats, and tournament game replays visit www.armedforcessports.defense.gov. 

2017 Men’s All-Tournament team:
U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Hammonds, March ARB, Calif. (Forward)
U.S. Army Capt. Ella Ellis, Fort Sill, Okla., (Forward)
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Derrick Sumpter, Sector Maryland, NCR (Guard)
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Kevin Alter, MCAS Miramar, Calif. (Guard)
U.S. Army Spc. Derell Henderson, Fort Carson, Colo. (Forward)

2017 Women’s All-Tournament team:
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Christi Ayers, Springfield, Va. (Guard)
U.S. Army Sgt. Donita Adams, Maryland National Guard (Guard)
U.S. Navy Hospitalman Kamille Horne, NPG Dental School, Md. (Forward)
U.S. Navy Seaman Danika Dale, Point Mugu, Calif. (Forward)
U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Kiana Doliveria, Fort Carson, Colo. (Forward)

U.S. Armed Forces Men’s team (Scheduled to compete at SHAPE IBT)

U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Justin Hammonds, March ARB, Calif. (Forward)
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Derrick Sumpter, Sector Maryland, NCR (Guard)
U.S. Marine Corps 1st Lt. Kevin Alter, MCAS Miramar, Calif. (Guard)
U.S. Navy Seaman Deonte Jones, USS Essex (Guard)
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Akeem Anderson, Bethesda, Md. (Forward)
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Marquel Delancey, Portsmouth, Va. (Guard)
U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Troy Snyder, Yokosuka, Japan (Forward)
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Ernest Hassel, Stuttgart, Germany (Forward)
U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Darian Donald, Misawa AB, Japan (Forward)
U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Corey Rucker, Misawa AB, Japan (Forward)
U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Ollie Bradley, Luke AFB, Ariz., (Forward)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Charles Leans, Barksdale AFB, La. (Forward)
U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maurice Hargraves, Dover AFB, Del. (Guard)
U.S. Air Force Airman 1st Class Justice Graham, Grand Forks AFB, N.D. (Forward)
Coaches:
U.S. Air Force Tech Sgt. Rodrick Greene, JBSA-Lackland, Texas
U.S. Army Capt. Carl Little, St. Augustine Univeristy ROTC, Fla.
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