MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. - March Madness has officially come to a close for the Marine Corps Community Services’ Quantico Youth Sports’ Basketball League as their championship games were played at the Youth Center on March 9.
From March 4 - 9, teams were fighting within their division for a spot in the championship game. There are three divisions in the youth league: Pee Wee, Bantam and Junior. The Pee Wee division is for 5 to 6-year-olds. Bantam division ranges between 7 to 9-year-olds and the Junior division holds 10 to 12-year-olds.
The Pee Wee games were played March 4. Since the players were between 5 and 6-years-old, the games were more about learning the game and teamwork, than being worried about points or who won the game.
The semi-finals for both the Bantam and Junior divisions were filled with excitement and last minute game changes that left friends and family in the bleacher on the edge of their seat. Arguably, one of the most intense of the semi-final games was the match that had the Quantico Huskies up against the Bears on March 9.
The Huskies easily controlled the ball and put up shot after shot, grabbing the rebounds. Their strategy seemed to be more of a run and gun offense, with precision passing guiding them toward the basket. Meanwhile, the Bears were passing the ball to their star players hoping that they would lead them to victory.
Late in the second half, with two minutes left, teams’ strategies were out the window and every player on the court had one thing on their mind: taking their teams to the championship. This made plays unpredictable and the game much more exciting. The deciding factor came down to foul shots. The Bears sneaked in a victory, 12-11.
“It was a pretty good game,” said Dameon, 9, co-captain of the Huskies. “We knew we could beat them but it just didn’t work in the end. Most of us will be back next year and I’m sure we will take first next time. But we did have fun though.”
After three hours of semi-final games, the four teams headed to the championship were chosen and ready to go head-to-head. First up, in the Junior division, was the Rams against the Junior Buckeyes.
The Buckeyes went 8-0 early in the game and had little to no problem keeping the Rams from gaining any momentum offensively. The Rams came out swinging in second half, scoring the first three points and improved their defensive authority on the court. The Buckeyes didn’t let the Rams’ burst of energy slow them down too long, though. In the end, the Buckeyes claimed victory over the Rams 27-7.
In the Bantam division, it was the Bears versus the Bantam Buckeyes for the championship.
Defensively, the teams seemed to be at a stalemate. There were turnovers from both teams every few seconds. The Buckeyes turned things around in the second half and dominated their opponents, winning the game 14-8.
“This was the first time that Youth Sports actually kept score, had a playoffs and championships,” said Lindsay Payne, assistant director, Youth Sports. “I can definitely say that March Madness went pretty well.”