Shake & Bake, Her-ricanes dig deep, rally for MLK hoops titles

MARINE CORPS AIR STATION FUTENMA, Okinawa – Shake & Bake and Her-ricanes each found a little extra in their gas tanks to rally them past their foes to win the titles in the 20th Martin Luther King Invitational Basketball Tournament on Monday.

Guard Adam Stevenson helped jump-start Shake & Bake, a Kadena Air Base men’s team, from a 6-0 deficit past the Warriors of Camp Kinser 57-43. Center Kimberly Deslius scored 31 points and Her-ricanes pulled away after a see-saw early second half for a 74-52 win over Storm.

“Defense and running. We dug deep,” coach Brandon Davidson said were the keys to Shake & Bake find itself after a rough start. He credited the playmaking of Stevenson, named the men’s tournament’s Most Valuable Player, and tipped his hat to the Warriors.

“He’s the glue that holds us together,” Davidson said of Stevenson, who finished with 12 assists. “(The Warriors are) always a worthy opponent.”

Shake & Bake, which did not lose in the tournament or pool play, raced in front thanks to a 10-1 run that made the score 10-7. They led by as much as 32-20 early in the second half before the Warriors used a 12-2 run to get within two. They would get no closer.

Kyle Duncan and Darnell Hobson each had 17 points to lead Shake & Bake. Jared Watson scored 13 of his 19 in the second half and Antonio Gibson added 12 for the Warriors.

Her-ricanes spotted Storm a basket, then went up by as much as 16-4 in the first half before Storm used a press defense to chip away at the lead. Stephanie Hauer tied it 30-30 with a three-point play, then gave Storm a brief lead 31-30 on a foul shot.

Deslius put Her-ricanes ahead for keeps with two foul shots early in the second half. It remained tight, tied three times over the next five minutes before Her-ricanes gradually pulled away in the stretch.

“Teamwork, desire, they wanted it and had confidence in each other, united for that mission to win it,” Her-ricanes Bernard Dogan said.

Deslius had 31 points, Tara Copeland 21 and Vanessa Hollins 11 for Her-ricanes. Hauer finished with 17 points and Quiana Scott 12 for Storm.

Storm reached the women’s championship by eliminating the last high school team left in the primarily military event, beating Kadena 60-37.

Asked what his Panthers could take from this tournament, coach Willie Ware said: “We learned to contest open shots. Their No. 21 (shooting guard Rebecca Wilkinson) lit us up. We didn’t box out well. And they came to play."

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