Down to the wire…literally.  The championship game of the 2012 Armed Forces Men’s Basketball Championship was nearly decided by a wire that high across the gym floor of the Chaparral Fitness Center at Joint Base San Antonio – Lackland. 

In the final seconds of the game, the Marines closed the margin within two points against the defending champions from the Air Force.  The Marines tightened their defense for the inbound pass and caused the Air Force to force a long pass down the other half of the court.  As the ball the wire reaching high across the gym floor, the officials blew the whistle…dead ball…Marines’ ball. 

With a chance to tie or win the game, the Marines successfully passed the ball in play under their basket but stepped out of bounds with 0.3 seconds left.  Air Force took the ball over one last time and won 78-76. 

The week-long championship featured the best players from around the Armed Forces.  Before the tournament began, San Antonio Spurs’ Head Coach Gregg Popovich addressed the players recalling his playing days as an officer in the Air Force and the team captain of the U.S. Armed Forces Team that competed in several tournaments in the early 1970’s. 

(See “Coach Popovich speaks to Armed Forces Basketball Players”)                                                                                                                                                     

The Air Force entered the Championship game winning every game but their second game against the Navy finishing with a 6-1 record overall.  The Air Force has now won seven Armed Forces Championships in a row. 

 The Marines finished with an overall record of 3-4 and the silver medal. 

In the consolation game, Army defeated Navy 77-64 in to take third place.  With high expectations for the Army this year, the team fell short of the goal to lock in a rematch with the Air Force. 

(See All-Army men third in Armed Forces Basketball Championships)

The Armed Forces Basketball Championship not only serves to secure bragging rights of the best Service team, but the U.S. Armed Forces Basketball Team is selected among the available players.  Team USA will play at the SHAPE International Basketball Championship 26 November to 3 December in SHAPE, Belgium. 

The Armed Forces Basketball Championship is held annually normally in November prior to the SHAPE Championship.  The only time the championship is held at a different time, is when there is a CISM Championship. 

Click here for complete box scores and results
Click here for photos from the tournament

All-Tournament Team

SSgt Jamar Major – USAF
Capt Nicholas Welch – USAF
SN Chris Linton – USCG
Sgt Christopher Harris – USMC
1LT Cleveland Richard – Army

U.S. Armed Forces Team

SN Chris Linton - USCG
Capt Nicholas Welch - USAF
1LT Cleveland Richard - Army
Cpl Richard Pollock - USMC
SSgt Ollie Bradley - USAF
A1C Jason Stromvall - USAF
2Lt Shawn Hempsey - USAF
AC3 Marquise Price - Navy
PV2 David Turner - Army
1LT Marcus Nelson - Army
SSG Terry Daniels - Army
1Lt Matthew Holland - USAF

Head Coach: Mr. T L Albers - USAF
Asst Coach: LT Micah Bonner - Navy
Athletic Trainer: Mr. Tony Milunas - USAF
Team Captain: Mr. Eddie Goad - USAF