Dover intramural basketball heats up
Maurice Neal Jr. goes for a layup during a game between the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron and the 436th Comptroller Squadron Jan. 13 at the Fitness Center. Despite Neal's performance, AMXS lost to CPTS 56-33. (U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Samuel Taylor)
by Airman 1st Class Jacob Morgan
436th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
1/18/2011 - DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. -- Every year, Team Dover members compete for top honors on the basketball court in the Fitness Center. The competition gets heated and there are some exciting moments. On the court, the atmosphere could be described as leave your rank at the door and be ready to play.
Five weeks of play have already transpired this season and it seems as though the returning champions, the 436th Force Support Squadron, have a real chance to take the title for the second year in a row.
The league, which is run by members of the 436 FSS, is made up of two divisions. The two divisions, the American and National, divisions are comprised of 15 teams, eight teams in the American division and seven in the National division. Each team is eligible to have active-duty members, active-duty dependants at least 18-years of age, civilians, contractors and reserve members.
Each team can pick its division based upon the days they want to play, said Brian Sosa, the program sports manager and member of the 436 FSS basketball team.
Certain rivalries have been known to get intense. For instance, the 512th Airlift Wing team won the championship in the 2008-2009 season against the 436 FSS. When the 436 FSS beat the 512 last year for the 2009-2010 season title, the rivalry became serious.
An undefeated 436 FSS team played a 4 win and 1 loss 512 AW team Jan. 10. The 512 AW won the game and the 436 FSS's record dropped to 6 and 1. The game was intense, said Sosa. "I wish we would have shot better."
"We respect everyone, but we don't have friends on the court," said Sosa.
Each team has a coach from their respective work center. Tom Tarantella is the assistant coach of the 436th Comptroller Squadron/Airlift Wing team. Currently ranked in the lower half of the league, they earned an important victory Jan. 13 over the 436th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron team, which brought the 436 CPTS/AW team to a record of 2 wins and 3 losses.
The CPTS team has members from the 436th Logistics Readiness Squadron as well as from the 436 AW offices. If a squadron can't fill an entire team, the league places the unassociated players into a pool and assigns them to teams that already exist, said Tarantella.
The regular season started on Dec. 6, and will run through Feb. 22. After the regular season, a double-elimination playoff tournament will begin with four teams from each division being eligible.
With only four teams from each division making the playoffs, some of the upcoming games are receiving more attention.
"I played last year," said Tarantella. "People get competitive out here."
In the National division, the 436th Operational Support Squadron and the 436th Maintenance Squadron face off Jan. 25 at 5:30 p.m. in a match up that could decide who makes the playoffs. Laron McLean from 436 OSS averages 23 points a game and Curtis East from 436 MXS averages 15.
In the American division, the 373rd Training Squadron takes on the 436th Communications Squadron Jan. 26 at 7:30 p.m. as two of the highest scorers in the division face off. Hunter Myers from 436 CS averages more than 20 points a game while Randall Ard from the 373 TRS averages about 15.
As the post season approaches, competition gets more intense, and Tony Krawietz, a member of the 436th CPTS/AW team, is all for competition.
"Competition is a part of our wingman culture," said Krawietz. "Being competitive out here makes us better on the flightline."
When the playoffs draw to an end and the victor is crowned, there will be a special treat for all of the teams this year. For the first time, the wing intramural league will be holding an All-Star game the day after the championship to add an explosive ending to a great season.