YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – What Anthony Showers began in the first quarter, Marlow Smith ended in the fourth. As a result, Osan Air Base captured yet another Pacific-wide interservice basketball tournament title.
Showers netted 16 of his 20 points in the first half, nine in the first 4:23, and Smith tacked up nine of his 11 in the final period as the Defenders pulled away at the end, beating host Yokota 90-68 on Monday to capture the Warrior Classic title at Yokota’s Samurai Fitness & Sports Center.
“Showers, he’s been the backbone of the team, a coach on the floor, somebody we can really turn to and count on,” coach Tony Jones said of Showers, a former All-Air Force tryout camp invitee who played for Yokota last decade and returned to his old stomping grounds for the first time since.
Showers sandwiched a long three-point goal between a pair of thunderous slam dunks to give Osan a 17-4 lead just 4:23 into the contest. Yokota rallied for eight straight points and the lead swayed back and forth between five and 12 points until the final period.
When the Defenders went flat, committing nine turnovers in the third quarter, Jones brought Smith off the bench to provide an offensive spark.
“He made a great difference,” said Jones about Smith, who scored those nine points in the first 3:30 of the fourth period. “We needed another scorer to step up for us, and he did.”
With the victory, Osan captured its 21st Pacificwide invitational or open tournament since Jones took over the team in 1993, including three Warrior Classic titles.
He credited defense for helping Osan go unbeaten in the five-day event. “Defense has been our bread and butter the whole time since we’ve been here,” Jones said. “The offense caught up to the defense in the fourth quarter.”
Yokota was playing its third game in a six-hour span and simply lost its legs, coach Travis Quarles said. “We gave it our all; a couple of things didn’t work in our favor,” he said. “If we’d have fresh legs, it would have been easier for us to try and win.”
The Warrior Classic was revived this year after going on hiatus for three years due to lack of funds. The tournament was run entirely by the base team, with help from the Samurai Center and American Forces Network-Tokyo.