By Scott Prater
When Aaron Kirchoff and Bob Black gathered players for a practice prior to the regular season they weren’t quite sure what type of team might develop.
Tasked with melding players from the 50th Comptroller Squadron, and the 50th Force Support Squadron, the dual captains basically held a scrimmage to find out who could play.
Both were pleasantly surprised.
As it turns out, the combined 50 CPTS/FSS team might just rank among the Schriever intramural basketball league’s best.
With Jan. 13’s 51-28 victory over defending-league champion 11th Space Warning Squadron, 50 CPTS/FSS improved to 2-0 and now sits atop the early-season league standings along with 3rd Space Operations Squadron and 4th Space Operations Squadron.
“It’s kind of odd,” Black said “We’ve got a bunch of guards and a bunch of big men. We’ve got age, experience and some young kids who can play as well.”
The team showed its depth against 11 SWS which dropped to 1-1, when nine different players scored.
Maurice Gale, 11 SWS’ lone returning starter from last year, sank the game’s first basket, but 50 CPTS/FSS pumped in the next 16 points to take a commanding lead in the game’s first 10 minutes.
Cody Marion buried a long 3-pointer from the left wing to start the run and hit two more long-range shots on subsequent possessions. Adam Gray followed with another 3-pointer at the 14-minute mark.
Black called time out midway through the first half just so he could provide playing time for his entire squad. Karl Seppa and Matt Pincus, two of the league’s top players from last season, bolted off the bench only to face opponents who were still reeling from the 50 CPTS/FSS starters.
By halftime, 50 CPTS\FSS had stretched out to an 18-point lead.
“This is actually the deepest team I’ve played on out here,” Seppa said. “We’ve got talent and skill at all of the positions and have enough depth to where we can field a competitive team even when guys can’t show up on any given day. We’re looking forward to a fun season.”
Meanwhile, 11 SWS clearly missed its departed stars from last year. Gale still managed a game-high 15 points, but without stalwarts Joe Johnson and Jacob Burtschi to help carry the scoring load, he caught the full brunt of 50 CPTS\FSS’ defensive efforts.
Roderick Holland provided a spark for 11 SWS with four of his seven points late in the first half, but FSS\CPTS kept on rolling in the second, thanks in large part to Kirchoff, who fired up the team’s fast-break offense.
“We got a chance to practice and have an intra-squad scrimmage, so we may be ahead of some other teams,” he said. “Right now we’re averaging 58 points a game and only giving up 23.”
Kirchoff finished with 11 points while Gray scored 10 and Marion added eight. Gale showed some of the magic he displayed during 11 SWS’ 2010 playoff run, hitting turn-around jumpers and beating defenders off the dribble, but his efforts only kept 11 SWS from falling further behind. Officials ended the game early, citing the league’s mercy rule as 50 CPTS\FSS led by more than 20 points with two minutes to play.