Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point -- The Day Walkers of Marine Aircraft Group 29 clenched the intramural basketball league championship Dec. 9, defeating the Rams from Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron during a nail biting match up at The Marine Dome on Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
The Day Walkers fought their way to a 56-52 victory over the Rams.
The league, assembled with the support of Marine Corps Community Services, boasted a 16-teams competing in a 15-game regular season followed by a single elimination playoff.
The Day Walkers and Rams, both considered underdogs heading into the playoffs, entered as the fifth and seventh seeds. A combination of unselfish play and a sound understanding of fundamentals lead both teams to the championship game.
“Some people doubted us being able to make it through the playoffs,” said Vernty Bryant, a forward for the Day Walkers. “The key for us was just sticking together and getting through the season as a team.”
Bryant led the Day Walkers with 26 points in the final game, establishing himself as an offensive weapon, especially down the home stretch.
“The key to our victory was being able to make our free throws,” said Bryant.
The Day Walkers sank four key shots from the foul line in the last two minutes of the game, slowing the Rams last-minute surge. Behind 28 to 19 at the half, the Rams came to within one shot of the lead, feeding their big men down low.
Time was not on the Rams side, however, with fouls in the final minutes giving Bryant and his team an opportunity to pad their lead from the Rams charge.
“We couldn’t buy a shot,” said Jeffrey Gibson, a guard and the team captain of the Rams. “Our defense was sound. We just weren’t making the baskets when we needed them.”
“Both teams refused to give up,” said Gibson. “It was a great game to be a part of.”