By Scott Prater
Fatigue has been a problem for 50th Comptroller Squadron/Force Support Squadron basketball team all season.
The team, made up of small, but quick players, typically played well in the first half of games, only to succumb to tired legs in the second.
With the return of two back court players Jan. 5, 50 CPTS/FSS not only had superb guard play, but improved depth, which it used to knock off defending league champion, 3rd Space Operations Squadron, 60-43 in Schriever intraumural basketball action.
“We’re old,” said 50 CPTS/FSS forward Karl Seppa. “Up to this point, we always seemed to have only five or six guys… we’ve simply run out of gas. It wasn’t uncommon to see us stepping on our tongues in the second half of games.”
Jan. 5 marked the first time this season that 50 CPTS/FSS started a game with 10 players. Meanwhile, guards Josh Chambliss and Aaron Kirchoff proved they are two of the league’s best during their debuts.
Kirchoff, who just returned from temporary duty, led 50 CPTS/FSS with 20 points, while Chambliss, who recently returned from a deployment, conducted the team’s offensive scheme.
50 CPTS/FSS had its hands full against 3 SOPS and 6-foot-10 former Air Force Academy standout John Frye, who controlled the paint on both ends of the court.
Frye finished with a game-high 30 points and led 3 SOPS on an inspired comeback effort midway through the second half, but in the end, 50 CPTS/FSS’ quick tempo proved too fast for 3 SOPS.
“The thing about intramural basketball is you don’t always get consistent participation,” Frye said. “You can practice as a team and set rules and guidelines for players to follow, but sometimes you get players who are unfamiliar with your systems. They don’t always know their responsibilities, and that hurt us today.”
Following a tight first 10 minutes, Kirchoff put 50 CPTS/FSS up for good with a three-pointer from the left wing. Chambliss stole a pass and dished to Steve Gilmore for an easy fast break bucket on the team’s next possession and Angel Montalvo sank two free throws to give 50 CPTS/FSS a 23-16 first-half lead.
Cameron Jones drained a three-pointer from the top of the key in the closing minute to cut the lead, but the basket did little to hamper 50 CPTS/FSS’ momentum.
3 SOPS’ hopes rested with Frye, who scored 16 second-half points and pulled 3 SOPS within four points midway through the frame thanks to a four-point play.
After catching a pass down low, he drop-stepped to shed a defender, tossed the ball in off the glass and drew the foul. A 50 CPTS/FSS player protested to officials following the call and was tabbed for a technical foul as well. Frye drained two of the three subsequent foul shots, much to the chagrin of Seppa, who stewed on the sideline.
Sensing 3 SOPS had garnered new life from the play, Seppa entered the game determined to snatch momentum back. During the next four minutes he hit three three-pointers and scored 12 of his 16 points, helping 50 CPTS/FSS stretch its lead back to double figures.
“Again, since we had 10 players today, we were able to make substitutions and keep quickness on the floor,” Gilmore said. “We were able to play man-to-man (defense) the entire game, so we were able to tire them out and keep our legs fresh at the same time.”
Frye indicated that he’s not worried about his team going forward and that repeating as league champions remains the team’s goal.
“Once we get to the playoffs, we’ll have a core group of guys at every game and that will create some consistency for us throughout the playoffs,” he said.
For 50 CPTS/FSS the post season just got a lot brighter.
“We’ve got our reinforcements and we’re reloaded,” Seppa said. “This is a well-balanced team now.”