By Randy Dela Cruz, Ho'okele Sports Editor
Down by as much as 11 points in the second half, USS Chosin (CG 65) kept their playoff hopes alive by coming back to beat USS Chafee (DDG 90) Bulldogs 39-34, in overtime on March 15 in an Afloat Division intramural basketball game at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam Fitness Center.
With the game tied at 34-34 in overtime, Logistics Specialist Seaman Terron Outlaw put the game away by sinking a free throw before putting back a missed shot for a basket to give Chosin a 37-34 with only seconds remaining on the clock.
The win raised Chosin’s record to 3-2 and kept them in a tie for fifth place in the Afloat Division – only one position out of the coveted fourth and final playoff spot.
“We definitely needed this one after that last loss,” acknowledged interim co-head coach Logistics Specialist 2nd Class John Dumas. “We had a letdown after that loss.”
Early on, it seemed as if Chosin wouldn’t need any last-minute heroics to overcome Chafee which, despite putting together a competitive team, entered the matchup with only one win against three losses.
Although Chosin stormed out of the gates to build an 11-2 advantage, Chafee fought back and caught their opponent at 12-12 on two free throws by Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Nil Edward Tamo with 7:05 remaining on the clock before halftime.
Then up by two points with time running down before intermission, Chafee got back-to-back, fast-break baskets to take a 20-14 lead at the break.
“When substitutions went in, we had mismatches. That is what got them (Chafee) into the game,” Dumas admitted. “We were doing four or five (substitutions) at a time because we got a lot of bodies. I had to make the decision to put the right people back in there.”
With Dumas trying to find the right combination to put on the floor, Chafee continued to exploit the mismatches well into the second half.
A putback by Tamo with 13:03 left in the game raised Chafee to their biggest lead at 27-16.
However, Chosin started to turn things around and with 1:37 remaining on the clock, a basket-and-one by post-player Sonar Technician (Surface) 3rd Class Daniel Russell closed the gap to two points at 32-30.
Yeoman Seaman Brandyn Nichols missed a golden opportunity to tie the score by missing two free throws, but after Tamo got called for pushing off, Nichols got a second chance and tied the game at 32-32 with a putback to send the teams into overtime.
“I started going with a big lineup,” said Dumas about the second-half comeback. “We had three bigs in there all the time and that made a whole lot of difference. We got better on the boards and was able to get second-chance points.”
In overtime, the teams traded baskets at the start, but Chosin closed out the game by scoring the last five points to earn the win.
“Toward the end of the game, our guys just weren’t taking care of the ball,” said Chafee head coach Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Chris Mountain. “I was hoping this was going to be a win, but we got the Chung-Hoon next. That’s the guys I want to play. I’ve got a game plan for them and we just got to get there.”
Chafee will get the opportunity to square off against the 5-1 USS Chung-Hoon (DDG 93) on March 22, starting at 10 a.m., at the fitness center.
Operations Specialist 1st Class Arthur Richardson, interim co-head coach of Chosin, said that while it feels good to remain in the hunt, he understands that the team has a long way to go before the playoffs.
“I’m not going to lie; we got a lot of work to do,” Richardson said. “But we’re going to make some noise.”