By Randy Dela Cruz, Ho'okele Sports Editor
USS Bremerton (SSN 698) got out to a 27-11 lead at halftime and then hung on to defeat USS Chafee (DDG 90), 40-34, in an Afloat Division intramural basketball game on Feb. 22 at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.
Bremerton used a full-court press to jumpstart their offense and go on a 10-0 run in the first half and then kept up the heat to win their first game of the season.
With the victory, Bremerton now holds a 1-3 record in the Afloat Division while Chafee fell to 1-2.
“It feels great,” said Electronics Technician 2nd Class Mike Ortiz about getting the first win. “We were on a slump there, but we got our feet underneath us a little bit, we ran, learned from our mistakes from our losses and we came together today as a team.”
Midway through the first half, the score was deadlocked at 8-8 after Chafee post-player Cryptologic Technician (Technical) 1st Class Petros Emmanouil sank one of two free throws at the 9:48 mark.
Momentum took a severe upswing for Bremerton right after Emmanouil’s shot as the team dialed up its full-court press.
Electronics Technician 3rd Class Douglas Bacolini put Bremerton back out on top at 10-8 with a basket on the team’s next trip down the floor.
Then Ortiz converted a steal into a basket-and-one for a five-point lead before Bacolini pumped in a trey, was fouled and then knocked down the free throw for a four-point play and a 17-8 advantage.
Bremerton got a free throw from Lt. j.g Bryan Ortiz to pick up their 10th straight point within a five-minute span.
“We like to run,” Ortiz said. “We look for each other, so as soon as we get our hands on the ball, we try to turn the other way. Everyone’s moving with it.”
A trey from Chafee forward Electronics Technician 3rd Class Jonathan Miller finally broke the run for Bermerton, but back-to-back baskets by Bacolini and Ortiz with 2:36 remaining before halftime helped the team to a 16-point lead at the break.
“That was huge,” said Ortiz about the team’s big lead at halftime. “But at the same time, we knew in the second half they were going to come out at us with a lot of intensity.”
After intermission, Chafee slowly chipped the lead down to 12 points. They fell back behind by 15, but a basket by Emmanouil with 5:02 remaining on the clock completed a 12-2 run to cut the lead down to five points.
However, that was as close as Chafee would get, as Bremerton guard Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Thomas Chengcuenca got a lay-up and two free throws with a minute left on the clock to secure the game.
A total of six players got in the scorebook for Bremerton with Chengcuena setting the pace with 10 points, followed by Bacolini with eight points and Ortiz with seven points.
Chafee sank a total of four three-pointers with Miller connecting on two from long distance.
In gaining the first win of the season, Ortiz said that it took a lot of resiliency to pull away from Chafee each time the team made a run at Bremerton in the second half.
After putting an end to the team’s losing streak, Ortiz said he now believes that Bremerton is finally back on track.
“We feel like we’re going to have a good rest of the season,” Ortiz said. “We got a lot of momentum going for us now and we feel good about it.”