MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Marine Corps installations from along the East Coast sent their most talented basketball players to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point for the East Coast Regional Basketball Tournament held at the Cherry Point Marine Dome March 17-19.
“This tournament is held every year a few days before the start of the All-Marines team tryout camp,” said Gil George, assistant athletic director for Cherry Point. “The five teams play for the championship, but the key reason for this tournament is to give the coaches a view of players they may want to see more at the camp.”
This year’s tournament participants were Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River, MCAS Cherry Point, Tri-Command and National Capitol Region.
Tri-Command consists of Marines and Sailors from Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island, MCAS Beaufort and Naval Health Clinic Beaufort, S.C., and NCR represents Marines from MCB Quantico and Marine Barracks 8th & I.
The tournament started with round-robin play to set up seeding for a single elimination tournament.
“Coming into the tournament I knew that NCR was going to be the toughest competition,” said John Revere, a captain and a starting guard for the New River team. “Last year the Quantico team destroyed us, so we were looking for revenge againt their players coming into this tournament.”
The final game came down to NCR and New River.
“We were coming into this game just looking to keep it close and to play this game our way,” said Latimer Amonte, a guard for New River. “The All-Marines selection wasn’t even in my head. I was in Afghanistan last year, so I was coming in here to this tournament to do my best and bring home gold for New River.”
Amonte’s dream seemed within reach at halftime, with NCR up by just seven points.
“I could not have asked more from my teammates in this first half,” said Revere. “NCR has blown everyone out by halftime, and we are playing hard and I will bet anything that seven point deficit will be gone within the first few minutes.”
Revere was right – within the first two minutes NCR’s seven-point defecit was gone and New River had taken the lead.
But in the end, NCR’s streaking offense was too much for New River as they fell 86-70.
“Both teams played extremely well, and all week we have had the honor of watching amazing game after amazing game,” said George.