News: Matchup of undefeated teams leaves Quantico with first loss
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
QUANTICO, Va. - It’s hard to describe a team with 12 players suited up as short-handed but that’s exactly what the Quantico Bulldogs men’s varsity basketball team was as they faced off against Joint Base Meyer-Henderson Hall in a battle of two undefeated teams at Barber Physical Activity Center on Sunday.
When the game was over, JBM-HH stood alone at the top of the standings, having defeated Quantico 80-77. But despite missing two of their starters, Quantico wasn’t hanging their heads over this loss.
“We lost our starting power forward, Quintrell McCreary, a couple weeks ago when he tore his Achilles tendon, so that changed the rotation,” said James Jones, the head coach of the Bulldogs. “Then we lost our leading scorer, Chris Harris, who is in school at Camp Johnson, N.C. It’s not why we lost, but it did change our game plan.”
The team that took the floor Sunday was still the same dangerous, confident, group of players that had been dominating the league thus far. Led by effective guard play from Willie Nathan, Brandon Mitchell and Sean Seaman, the Bulldogs controlled the first half.
Their pesky defense flustered JBM-HH and Quantico quickly built a 14-point lead. Nathan was unstoppable as he poured in 10-points by himself and then had a assist to Nathan Sales that brought the bench players to their feet to end the run.
But JBM-HH is a team with championship talent as well and they weren’t going to roll over and quit. They chipped away at Quantico’s lead and at the half they trailed 43-37.
That lead disappeared within minutes after halftime as JBM-HH went on a seven-point run to take their first lead of the game. From there, the skill level of both teams was on display as they battled for every possession, trading blows like two professional boxers unable to get the knockout punch.
In the end, JBM-HH was the better team; for this game at least. This was merely one game in a long season and, for these two title-worthy, familiar competitors, a 80-77 victory in January won’t alter the course of the season.
“That game could have gone either way at anytime,” Jones said. “We can beat them and they can beat us, but it was a good game. Next time we play them, we’ll have Harris back, so that will help.”