Whether on the diamond or hardwood, Osan Air Base varsity sports teams enjoyed more than their share of moments in the sun in 2006 — and for the Defenders’ men's basketball team, shining moments spanned parts of two seasons.
Osan went 33-9 in 2005-06, finishing second in the Korea Traveling League regular season but guard Romaine Hunter and the Defenders beat Kunsan Air Base 84-81 for the Koreawide post-level tournament title.
In fact, that became a family affair as Osan’s Ramon Moss and his wife, Teresa Moss, came away with gold medals as Teresa’s Yongsan Garrison post team edged Osan 65-63 for the women’s title.
Success continued into the 2006-07 season for the Defenders men, who entered the new year at 22-0 and won the Pacificwide Open Holiday Tournament for the seventh time on coach Tony Jones’ watch.
On the diamond, Osan’s Mustangs compiled a 60-11 record and won the regular-season crown and four of the five tournaments they entered, including the post-level tournament title. Osan’s women struggled in the regular campaign, but captured the post-level tourney gold.
Ten-time All-Army first baseman Viv Colbert and rookie All-Army shortstop Roxanne Finks keyed the Yongsan women’s regular-season title and the 8th Army women’s gold and later helped Army regain the All-Armed Forces tournament title.
Okinawa’s Kadena Air Base’s varsity teams also experienced a good deal of success. The Falcons men’s hoops squad, with Hunter having transferred to Okinawa, roared to an unbeaten campaign and the championship of the inaugural Joint Military Athletic Conference season.
Falcons forward Carl Little did that one better, boosting the All-Air Force team to its first All-Armed Forces gold medal since 2000, then with the help of Okinawa Marines Josh Reaser and Floyd Spears, powering Team USA to its second straight bronze in the 43rd Supreme Headquarters, Allied Powers Europe tournament at Mons, Belgium.
Paced by All-Air Force second baseman Kathy Braun, Kadena’s women’s softball team won six of seven tournaments it entered and ran its record total of Pacific Grand Slam titles to 18. On the men’s open tournament circuit, Okinawa’s American Legion extended its Grand Slam title total to six, well behind record-holding Pacific Force (39).
Marine Forces Pacific Regional tournaments also harbored their share of excitement. After twice coming up just short, 1st Marine Aircraft Wing captured the softball crown in August, behind a 13-run sixth inning that paced Wing past 3rd Marine Logistics Group 21-14.
Third MLG also suffered heartbreak on the soccer pitch in early November. Marine Corps Base Camp Butler blanked 3rd MLG in the championship match 2-0, the third time in the last four years that MLG has lost the final game.
On the hardwood, 3rd Marine Division/Expeditionary Force left nothing to chance, as Trevor Highsmith and Kyle Scott led the charge in the championship 91-73 over two-time champion Marine Corps Base Camp Butler in October.
Okinawa’s gridirons fell relatively silent as the Okinawa Football League season was delayed perhaps until spring because equipment sent to the States to be recertified had not been returned.
The only two games played by an OFL team were nonleague contests involving the Kadena Dragons, who beat the U.S. Forces Japan-American Football League’s Yokota Warriors and Atsugi Falcons by a combined 80-0 on the road in June.
The USFJ-AFL saw a familiar face ascend the championship podium, as the Yokosuka Seahawks won the title for the sixth time in seven years, dethroning defending champion Misawa 12-0.