Interservice basketball: Hickam, Mystics claim March Madness titles
ANDERSEN AIR FORCE BASE, Guam — They used to coach alongside each other with South Korea’s Osan Defenders. Now, former assistant coach Dietrick Glover seems to have his former mentor’s number.
Led by forward Charles Billingsley and guard Carlos Ramer, Glover’s Hickam Air Force Base Flyers downed the Defenders and former coaching partner Tony Jones 78-67 Saturday in the second of two March Madness Pacific Regional Basketball Tournament title games. Osan forced the second and deciding game by beating Hickam 87-80 earlier.
On the women’s side, Okinawa’s Mystics came back after a year in hiatus, with center Angela Hampton, forward Andrea Nix and guard Brittany Blessard leading the way to an 82-59 triumph over the host Andersen Bombers.
Glover coached two teams to tournament titles against Osan while stationed with the Air Force at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa.
Now retired and working for security forces at Hickam, Glover, 37, called the victory "bittersweet. It’s hard. I coach my team, but I’m rooting for him to reach the final. We tell each other to do our part, and we’ll see each other at the dance."
Ramer and Billingsley "led the team with killer instinct, always put the team on their backs," Glover said. "It was a total team effort. But these two always gave it a little bit more."
Back in the dance after taking 2008 off, the Mystics cruised through the eight-day tournament unbeaten behind tenacious defense, coach George Griffin said.
"Defense carried us the whole tournament," he said of his 3-2 press and 3-2 matchup zones. "It feels really good to be back on top."
The tournament concluded the Pacific’s open tournament circuit for 2008-09. Only the Marine Far East Regional Tournament remains, scheduled for April 6-10 at Okinawa’s Camp Hansen’s "House of Pain."