Navy defeats Air Force, takes bronze

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Mareshah Haynes
  • Defense Media Activity
The Air Force wheelchair basketball team fought to the end against the Navy, but it wasn't enough as the Navy edged out the Air Force 13-12 in the bronze-medal game May 20 during the 2011 Warrior Games here.

The game started with Air Force possession. After a missed shot by the Air Force, the Navy took possession, and Matt Pirrello committed the team's first foul against the Navy's Angelo Anderson.

With the Navy in control of the ball, they missed an opportunity to get on the board, and after an Air Force turnover, got called on a three-second violation, giving possession back to the Air Force. Possession continued to go back and forth between the teams as the Air Force racked up three team fouls to the Navy's five by the 7:43 mark, but neither team scored after nearly 10 minutes of play.

The Navy team called a time out to regroup at 7:43 and regained possession of the ball, but to no avail. The Air Force's Claude Owens grabbed the rebound, but the Air Force lost control on the fast break. The Navy shot, but still no points were scored.

At 3:54, the game was still locked at 0-0. Each team had been to the free throw line, but neither could sink a shot to get on the board. With less than four minutes left in the half, the Navy stole the ball and put up the first two points. Soon after, the Navy's Dan Hawthorn fouled Jennifer Stone, sending her to the free throw line where she made one of two shots, giving the Air Force its first score at 2-1.

With 16.5 left in the first half, the Navy stole the ball and sunk a 3-pointer, securing the lead at half time 5-1.

The Air Force began the second half by quickly turning it over the ball, but Pirrello stole it back and passed it to Stone for a score.

The Navy scored again, bringing the score to 7-3.

The Air Force regained control, and Matt Sanders drew a foul but missed both attempts, and the Navy lead 7-5.

At 11:58, the Navy pulled ahead, leading again by two and scored again.

Air Force stole possession again, and Sanders closes the gap with a two-point score.

With just less than six minutes left in the game, the score was 11-9, with the Navy in the lead. Sanders made an assist to Stacy Pearsall, who shot for two and scored, tying the game.

The Navy scored the final point of the game at the free throw line, pushing past Air Force 12-11 at 1:03.

"We've accomplished our goal," said Sanders, the Air Force point guard. "In our eyes, we won that game because nothing else -- the bronze, gold or silver -- matters. We're here for a different purpose, and we put our hearts out there in that game tonight."