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He experienced the first Martin Luther King Invitational Basketball Tournament as a 27-year-old Marine Corps sergeant. Sixteen years later, as he readies to bid Okinawa a final farewell, Barry Celestine wore two hats during the MLK’s revival after a four-year hiatus.

The seven-time All-Marine and four-time All-Armed Forces guard played for One Time, a men’s open team of mostly Okinawa Marines, and coached the Okinawa Mystics, a women’s team of soldiers and Marines.

“The girls needed a coach, and they asked me to do it,” said Celestine, 42, a master gunnery sergeant assigned to Camp Kinser. “And I love the game. I’m not big on coaching, but it’s an honor that they think that much of me that they asked me to coach.”

Celestine found himself surrounded by plenty of pedigrees, including eight-time All-Army swingman Evevetta Crawford and seven-time All-Marine Trinia Grant on the Mystics and eight-time All-Armed Forces guard Billy Shanks on One Time.

“It’s an honor to have him,” two-time All-Marine guard April Moss of the Mystics said. “Playing and coaching in a tournament is hard. He brings his experience to us when he can, and when he can’t be here, we take what he brings us and apply it on the court.”

Wearing two hats did prove to be something of a distraction during Sunday’s double-elimination playoffs. One Time polished off its 86-75 win over South Korea’s Yongsan Garrison as his Mystics took the court to face Camp Red Cloud of South Korea.

“I was hoping to get [to the women’s bench] earlier. I was ready to come over and coach, but Yongsan kept it close that I had to stay to the end,” Celestine said.

Still, he says he would not have wanted his final MLK any other way. His roots in the tournament go back to its first year, 1992, when just a handful of teams hit the courts of the Camp Foster Field House.

Celestine left Okinawa in 1996 and returned 10 years later after two tours of duty in his hometown of New Orleans and three years at Camp Pendleton, Calif. He’ll transfer to Camp Lejeune, N.C., in May.

Martin Luther King Invitational Basketball TournamentFoster Field House, Foster Athletics Complex, Camp Foster, Okinawa

Day 4 results

Men’s double-elimination playoffs

Sunday’s games

Game 1-Camp Humphreys, South Korea, 71, Kadena High School, Okinawa, 68Game 2-One Time, Okinawa, 2, The Other Kadena Team, Okinawa, 0, forfeitGame 3-Camp Humphreys 100, Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, 93Game 4-One Time 86, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, 75Game 5-Yongsan Garrison 78, Kadena High School 60; Kadena High School eliminatedGame 6-The Other Kadena Team 92, Camp Red Cloud 89; Camp Red Cloud eliminatedGame 7-Camp Humphreys vs. One Time, suspendedGame 8-Yongsan Garrison 92, The Other Kadena Team 80; The Other Kadena Team eliminatedMonday’s games

Game 7-Camp Humphreys vs. One Time, 10 a.m., completion of suspended gameGame 9-Game 7 loser vs. Yongsan Garrison, 12:30 p.m.Game 10-Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 3:30 p.m.Game 11-Game 7 winner vs. Game 9 winner, if Game 7 winner loses Game 10, 7:30 p.m.NOTE-Game 7 was suspended when one of game’s referees suffered a heart attack on the court.

Women’s double-elimination playoffs

Sunday’s games

Game 1-Mystics, Okinawa, 76, Yongsan Garrison, South Korea, 54Game 2-Camp Humphreys, South Korea, 59, Kadena High School, Okinawa, 51Game 3- Camp Red Cloud, South Korea, 45, Mystics 42Game 4-Kadena High School 35, Yongsan Garrison 33; Yongsan Garrison eliminatedGame 5-Camp Red Cloud 75, Camp Humphreys 60Game 6-Mystics 67, Kadena High School 36; Kadena High School eliminatedMonday’s games

Game 7-Mystics vs. Camp Humphreys, 9 a.m.Game 8-Camp Red Cloud vs. Game 7 winner, 12:30 p.m.Game 9-Camp Red Cloud vs. Game 7 winner, if Camp Red Cloud loses Game 8, 5:30 p.m.Sunday’s summaries

Mystics 76, Yongsan Garrison 54Halftime-Mystics 40, Yongsan Garrison 19. Scorers-Mystics, Evevetta Crawford 26, RaShaunda Singletary 18, April Moss 11; Yongsan Garrison, Breena Harrell 17, Annette Hunter 10, Shelia Soileau 10.

Camp Humphreys 59, Kadena High School 51Halftime-Camp Humphreys 27, Kadena High School 20. Scorers-Camp Humphreys, Kesha Harper 15, Lia Green 10, Beth Berry 10; Kadena High School, Monica Hayes 15, Aja’ Walker 11, Brittney Gilliam 10.

Camp Red Cloud 45, Mystics 42Halftime-Camp Red Cloud 27, Mystics 21. Scorers-Camp Red Cloud, Shavonne Holden 17; Mystics, RaShaunda Singletary 13, Evevetta Crawford 13.

Kadena High School 35, Yongsan Garrison 33Halftime-Kadena High School 16, Yongsan Garrison 14. Scorers-Kadena High School, Monica Hayes 11, Brittney Gilliam 10; Yongsan Garrison, Apri Gilmore 14. Noteworthy-Hayes’ jumper from six feet on the right side at the buzzer won it for the Panthers.

Camp Red Cloud 75, Camp Humphreys 60Halftime-Camp Red Cloud 42, Camp Humphreys 27. Scorers-Camp Red Cloud, Shavonne Holden 22 (19 first half), Laurie Aaron 15 (three three-point goals), Nicola Robinson 14; Camp Humphreys, Kesha Harper 20 (four three-point goals).

Mystics 67, Kadena High School 36Halftime-Mystics 28, Kadena High School 19. Scorers-Mystics, Evevetta Crawford 16, Amoni Suttice 11; Kadena High School, Jazzmine Baker 8.


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