By Reggie Jarrett
Editor, Jax Air News
The Naval Air Station Jacksonville (NAS Jax) Flyers basketball team need two overtime periods to defeat the number one team in the Southeast Military Athletic Conference (SEMAC) the Hurlburt Field Commandos 79-71 Jan. 6 at the NAS Jax gym.
The teams entered the game as the top two teams in the conference. Hurlburt Field in first place with a 7-1 record and NAS Jax in second with a 7-2 record.
Hurlburt Field is also ranked in the top five of armed forces basketball teams, and NAS Jax is ranked ninth.
Flyers' head coach, Command Master Chief Jeffery Waters was confident going into the game. "We match up pretty well with them," he said. "They have more shooters than we do, but athletically we match up pretty good."
The game started out tough for NAS Jax as Hurlburt Field built an eight-point lead in the first half.
The Flyers were able to chip away at the lead thanks to a change in defensive strategy. "We started playing some trap defense late in the first half and that started creating some turnovers," said NAS Jax Sports Director Bill Bonser.
They were able to pull to within three points at halftime.
"We stuck with our game plan of staying in a zone defense the first half to lull them to sleep," Waters said. "In the second half we put more action on them. A full court press in the second half really turned the game in our favor."
The Flyers took a lead in the second half, but were unable to hold it. "You can see the defensive intensity went up in the second half," Waters said. "We went up by seven or eight, then we let them back in the game."
Missed free throws down the stretch plagued both teams. "At the free throw line, we left about 10 points out there at the end of the game," Waters said. "We made it tougher than it needed to be."
The game was tough for both teams. "It was a physical game," Bonser said.
"I think the referees let them play."
NAS Jax took command of the game in the second overtime period and cruised to an eight point victory.
"It should not have been double overtime, because we really outplayed them," Waters said. "We still came out victorious and that is the name of the game."
The Flyers were led by Army National Guardsman PFC Peter Williams with 21 points and AO2 Robert Segarra of Naval Munitions Command with 16 points.
The win raised NAS Jax record to 8-2 in the SEMAC. The Flyers next game is scheduled for Jan. 27 at Maxwell Air Force Base.
NAS Jax Flyers knock off top team in double OT thriller
By Reggie Jarrett