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Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013

203rd rolls into Commander’s Cup tournament as No. 1 seed

Team looks to keep momentum going in postseason

  • Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013
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The 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team overcame a sluggish start Wednesday to defeat the 192nd Infantry Brigade, 54-46, and head into the Commander’s Cup tournament as the No. 1 overall seed.

The 203rd improved to 12-1 on the season despite falling behind 10-0 in the first few minutes of the game.

After a timeout, however, the 203rd roared back into the game with an 18-3 run to take an 18-13 lead.

“We just had to get the feel of each other,” player and coach Brandon Wheeless said. “We’ve had a week and half off, so people probably weren’t in the gym like they should have been during that time. But, once we took a timeout and got ourselves mentally focused, we were able to get back in the game and go on a run.”

Wheeless was key during the run, scoring 10 of his team’s first 18 points.

The 192nd, who finished the regular season 7-6, regained momentum in the last few minutes of the first half, taking a 26-22 lead.

However, the 203rd took the lead for good in the closing moments of the half, going on a 7-0 run to take a 29-26 lead heading into halftime.

The 192nd cut the lead to two early in the second half, but could never get any closer, as Wheeless torched the 192nd defense for 13 second-half points.

“As a leader of the team, you just don’t want to let them down,” Wheeless said. “I wanted to get in there and work hard and lead by example. Basketball is a game of runs, and I was a little hot, so I just kept shooting.”

Early on, it appeared as if the 192nd’s Patrick Gregg would be the star of the game.

Gregg scored the game’s first six points on a pair of 3-pointers that helped build the early 10-0 lead. He also had three rim-rattling dunks in the first half, which provided the 192nd with a momentum boost.

However, late in the first half, the 203rd made a key defensive switch, as Wheeless took on the task of defending Gregg for the rest of the game.

After scoring 15 points in the first half, Gregg managed just three in the second.

“We let him have a couple of fast breaks and he was able to put on a little show,” Wheeless said. “But, after we gained our composure and locked down on defense, he wasn’t able to get those easy points anymore.”

Wheeless led all scorers with 25 points, while Gregg finished with 18. The 203rd’s Kenneth Robinson added 12 points, and Chervan Newsome of the 192nd scored 11.

As the 203rd turns its attention to the playoffs, Wheeless said the last regular season game was big for his team, as several players have recently redeployed.

“We had a lot of players who are just getting back from deployment, so we’re just trying to get everybody to gel together,” Wheeless said. “It was nice to have everybody here together for the last game to see where we’re at. We just need to keep our guys focused, and be ready to make a nice run in the tournament.”

The tournament run Wheeless referred to got off to a rocky start Monday, as the 192nd defeated the 203rd in a first-round Commander’s Cup tournament rematch, 65-63.

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