Yongsan guard Bartley helps Armed Forces team win SHAPE title
MONS, Belgium — Point guard Ronald Bartley of South Korea’s Yongsan Garrison had 11 points and seven assists to help the U.S. Armed Forces team rout favored Italy 107-70 on Sunday. The victory gave the U.S. team the gold medal in the 41st Supreme Headquarters, Allied Forces Europe men’s basketball tournament.
“Just to go to SHAPE and win the gold,” Bartley said by telephone from Yongsan, “that made my year.”
Bartley, point guard for the Yongsan Runnin’ Rebels, also was part of the Armed Forces team that took a bronze in the International Military Sports Council (CISM) Games in July at Zagreb, Croatia. That came after Army won gold in the All-Armed Forces tournament in June at Charleston Air Force Base, S.C.
Before that, Bartley and Yongsan went 37-5 in the 2003-04 campaign, won the Korea Traveling League regular-season crown and the Korea post-level tournament title. In fact, the Rebels won all five tournaments they entered.
Topping them all, Bartley indicated, was the SHAPE tournament. The 28-year-old Army specialist assigned to Yongsan’s 8th Military Police Brigade called it “an awesome experience, getting to play other countries and their best players. It was a good experience for me, to see where my game was.”
Training for three weeks at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, helped the team, composed mainly of Air Force players, mold into “a family,” Bartley said.
“Our team chemistry was a big part of the reason we did well,” he said.
With the tournament’s leading scorer, Air Force’s Eric Draper (30.6 points per game), leading the way, Armed Forces downed Britain 107-71 in the opener. Bartley scored 11 points as Armed Forces routed the Czech Republic 115-72 in the next game. Armed Forces next pounded Canada 100-58.
Then came a struggle with Lithuania in the final pool-play game. Bartley scored most of his 12 points in the first quarter, and Draper’s 30 helped Armed Forces rally from a six-point deficit for a 94-87 victory, advancing to the final against Italy.
The Americans were outsized by every opponent, especially so by Italy, which fielded three players 7 feet or taller.
“Their guards were pretty big, too, 6-3 and above. That was hard,” Bartley said. “We had to basically outrun everybody.”
Using a press-and-transition attack, Armed Forces made 15 steals, broke out to a 9-0 lead and didn’t let up in the final. Army’s Lucas Lecour had four steals and Craig Marcelin of Schweizengen, Germany, added three.
“They had to play catch-up ball,” Bartley said of Italy.
Draper shot 8-for-11 from three-point range, totalling 38 points. Air Force’s Thomas Bellairs had 17 rebounds and Corey Nelson 11 points and eight boards.
“Just to go away, play consistently with a good group of guys, with the talent and experience, it was great,” Bartley said.