Slowing the pace against the younger, quicker Kadena base team proved to be just what the doctor ordered for Team of Champions on Monday.
Player-coach Chris Jackson scored 25 points and T.O.C. outscored the Falcons 24-5 late in the first half to rally from an eight-point deficit for a 98-75 romp in the second of two championship games in the 17th Martin Luther King Invitational Basketball Tournament.
Kadena forced the second game by pounding T.O.C. 70-42 in the first final game at Okinawa’s Camp Foster Field House.
The women’s final was equally lopsided, with Lady Ballaz repeating their title of a year ago. Two-time MVP Charmain Walker had 15 points as Ballaz sank aircraft carrier USS George Washington 82-29.
Korea post-level teams held their second MLK tournament at Camp Humphreys’ Super Gym and MP Gym, with Osan Air Base’s men repeating their title and the host Bulldogs women winning the championship.
After trailing Kadena 13-5, the lead changed hands five times and the game was tied six times before Kevin Tasker sparked a 7-0 run to make it 35-30 T.O.C. 4:56 before halftime. T.O.C. never trailed again.
T.O.C. had wanted to limit the final to just one game “and we played faster than we needed to,” Jackson said. “We’re a veteran team. They’re a young team. Once we slowed it down, cut out the turnovers and got it to the big guys, that was it.”
Tasker had 17 points, Marlon Lewis 15 and Donnelle Butler 11 for T.O.C. Rodney Martin and Azzanerio Smith led Kadena with 15 each.
In the first final game, Kadena roared ahead 11-2 and was never headed. Martin had 16 points, Gregory Wilson 15 and Maurice Walker 14; Lewis topped T.O.C. with 14.
Lady Ballaz left nothing to chance, bursting in front 27-4 with Charmain Walker going 4-for-4 with three steals in the run. Walker finished with 15 points, Kelsey Brown 12 and Brittany Newsom 11. Andrea Johnson led the 1st Ladyz with 10.
In Korea, for the fourth straight tournament dating back to last season, Camp Humphreys’ women beat Yongsan Garrison for the championship, this time downing the Lady Rebels 50-39. Winning six games made the Bulldogs a perfect 21-0 this season.
Osan’s men (25-2), whose only defeats this season came last month in their own Pacificwide Holiday Tournament, went 5-0 this weekend, capping the tournament with an 84-79 win over Camp Casey.