MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan -- Once again, the season for intramural basketball has arrived with teams springing up across the station to compete in games at the IronWorks Gym here, Monday through Friday.
Teams do not need to consist of any particular unit or shop to participate.
Vincent Barnett, a player on the Marine Aircraft Group 12 team, said that teams could be comprised of Marines from multiple units.
“You can have anyone you want to on your team and we just call ourselves the MAG-12 team,” said Barnett.
The sports courts of the IronWorks Gym play host to many games at once. The center court hosted a game between Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron Air Traffic Controllers and the MAG-12 team, Jan. 31, 2013, with ATC emerging victorious.
“We were ahead for the entire game,” said Xavier Wethington a player on Team ATC . “Our guys are in great shape so we definitely hustled. Even if we are not making shots, we are getting rebounds and playing good defense.”
When playing sports, having a good time is always at the top of the ‘to do’ list, but so is winning.
“It feels great to win one, but it doesn’t really count for us till the playoffs. I feel our chances are good, especially since we were the pre-season champs,” said Wethington. “During the regular season we just play to have fun, try to figure out everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. So, from the beginning, we wanted to get everyone some playing time and see what combinations work the best.”
Part of being a good team is having the ability to work together as one cohesive unit.
“The other team was good,” said Wethington. “But it didn’t seem like they had played together that long, or at least as long as we have, we all know each other really well so we have great chemistry and you can see it on the court.”
The ATC team won the preseason tournament, giving them high hopes for the regular season and the upcoming playoffs, and though the MAG-12 team did not emerge victorious this game, it did not diminish their hopes toward a winning season.
“We just got into the regular season,” said Barnett. “I think our team played really well, we get better and better each game. We started off not working together very well and so far we are really getting to know every one's strengths and weaknesses. It’s really fun whether we lose or win. We are still having a good time.”
With games scheduled Monday through Friday, each team plays approximately two games per week.