Army captured gold to unseat the eight-time defending champions Air Force at the 2016 Armed Forces Men’s Basketball Championship at Barber Fitness Center aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on November 7th.
Army dominated pool-play going 6-0 against teams from the Marine Corps, Navy, and Air Force to reach the championship game.
Air Force, looking to defend their title for the ninth-straight time, came out sluggish in the beginning, but fought back to take the lead before halftime.
Air Force extended their lead by seven points and maintained control for much of the second half.
Army’s Spc. Rodney Clinkscales of Fort Hood, Texas led the charge scoring 26-points as Army gained the lead in the final two minutes of the game.
“We expected them to come out strong from the start. They have a long lineage of being champions, we had to come out fighting,” said Head Coach Capt. Carl Little.
”They pressured us and threw together a good game plan. Once our guys settled down and got adjusted we were going to be ok.”
“We knew it was going to be hard,” said Army Spc. Mamadou Seck of Fort Stewart, Georgia.
“That’s the reason we’re here…we’ve been trained to do this.”
Seck scored 100-points and averaged led the tournament with 16.7 points-per-game.
As time drew down, Army held on to their lead to finish out the game 67-61 to win the gold for the first time since 2004.
Navy and Marine Corps battled it out in a close contest in the bronze match.
Marine Corps built up a six-point lead near the end of the first half, but Navy bounced back to close the half 37-34.
In the second half, Navy’s Petty Officer Third Class Derrick Sumpter of the U.S. Coast Guard seemed unstoppable, hitting eight three-pointers and scored a tournament high 31-points.
Navy extended the lead to 11-points, but the Marines refused to go down easy. Ultimately, Navy won 71-67 to take third place in the tournament.
Sumpter led the tournament with 105-points, earning a spot on the All-Tournament Team.
Throughout the championship, five of the best players from across the Services shined. The following players rose to the challenge and earned All-Tournament Honors:
PO3 Derick Sumpter - Coast Guard; SPC Marcus Heath – Army; SPC Mamadou Seck – Army; SrA Jahmal Lawson – USAF; SPC Derell Henderson – Army
Note – Coast Guard personnel compete for the All-Navy team.
With the championship over, the next phase begins as the U.S. Armed Forces Team was selected, who will compete in the annual SHAPE International Basketball Tournament in Mons, Belgium from 28 November to 3 December. Selections were based on player and coach availability, as mission requirements take priority.
The selections were:
Head Coach - MGySgt Elonzo Higginson
Assistant Coach - TSgt Roderick Green
SrA Travares Peterson – Air Force
1st Lt Michael Fitzgerald – Air Force
SrA Daveon Allen – Air Force
LT Kaleo Kina – Navy
Arron Lester – Marine Corps
Montonio Kenen – Marine Corps
SrA Anthony Morris – Air Force
ENS Tilman Dunbar – Navy
1st Lt William Kammerer – Air Force
LT Jevon James – Coast Guard
SSgt Anthony McDowel – Air Force
SrA Dorian Donald – Air Force
Visit www.armedforcessports.defense.gov for more information and photos.