News: Quantico places 2nd in Capital Classic
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
Quantico, Va. - The 2012 Capital Classic Basketball Tournament brought 18 military teams from across the East Coast together from Feb. 17-20 to compete for a shot at the title. The Quantico Bulldogs Men’s Varsity Basketball Team were one of those teams.
The Bulldogs made it to the final game, but lost to Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall 92-81.
“It’s a tournament we have won before, just a huge tournament,” said head coach James Jones. “I’m real proud of the players, and I told them that before the game.”
The multi-pool, double elimination tournament meant that whichever team made it to the championship game would be playing their fifth game in four days. Quantico was ready for the challenge as they swept through their side of the bracket undefeated. Along the way they beat the tournament’s defending champions, Fort Bragg, as well as Camp Lejeune, MCAS New River, and the VA Mavericks. They didn’t play a single team from their conference until the championship game, but weren’t caught unprepared by any of the other teams.
“It’s military basketball, everyone knows who is who,” said Brandon Mitchell, a guard for the Bulldogs. “You might have one or two new players you have to get used to, but, for the most part, it’s the same players.”
But the rigors of battling for two games on Saturday, one game Sunday and then a semi-final game Monday morning just to get to the final game took a toll on the team.
“Fatigue really comes into play when you play that many games in such a short period,” said Tim Cox, a forward for the Bulldogs.
To advance past each game, the Bulldogs needed to rely on every player to fulfill their role and more, which also helped the team bond together.
“We came together as a unit,” Cox said. “The camaraderie was there for this tournament.”
The team also came together around their coach, who lost his voice during the game against Fort Bragg. With Jones unable to shout his usual commands, his players and staff did the vocal blasting for him.
“When they saw I didn’t have my voice, they backed me up and sounded it out for me,” Jones said. “It was a team effort. That’s just what Marines do, they adapt and overcome somehow.”
The loss against JBM-HH was the second time they couldn’t crack the code against that familiar foe. On Jan. 29, the Bulldogs lost to JBM-HH, 80-77, at Quantico. Despite missing several of his players due to injuries, especially leading rebounder Quintrell McCreary, Jones did not make any excuses for the loss.
“Even if they had been there, I don’t know if that would have changed the game,” Jones said. “Those guys just played really hard and they really deserved that victory … But the season’s not over yet.”