Eleven Marines were given the opportunity to put together a team to play against other uniformed heroes in a basketball tournament at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
An inside sales representative from the WNBA Atlanta Dream, Carlita Broomfield, put the tournament together. She invited teams from all over including police departments, fire departments, as well as military representatives from the Army and Marine Corps.
The tournament consisted of one 12-minute half with one time out and the clock continued to run. Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany’s team name was “Gametime,” and that’s exactly what it was when they hopped off the bus. They were the first to play against the Atlanta Police co-ed team.
Once on the floor, the game started quickly with hardly any time to warm up. It was time for jump ball and Sgt. Marcus Pfister took the lead; with one quick leap, he got the ball over the opposing team, the clocks ticking. Back and forth down the court, the two teams ran up shooting field goals and three pointers hitting the backboard for the rebound.
Staff Sgt. Daryl Walker sinks in a field goal with 5:46 left in the half. The score was 7-5, and the Atlanta Police were up. These teams had been playing together for years, so it was easy for them to move the ball, find the open man and bank the shot.
The buzzer rang as the half was over just that quick. The ending score was 10-7 and the losing Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany walked off the court in shock because it happened that fast. Each team was given a goodie bag with all sorts of merchandise inside along with tickets for the game that evening between the Atlanta Dream and Seattle Storm at 7 p.m.
The 7 p.m. professional game between the WNBA teams was very competitive. Angel McCoughtry led her team to victory and had 23 points off the bench and Erika de Souza added 20 points and eight rebounds.
The MCLB Albany representatives were honored at halftime during the tribute to Sept. 11, 2001, heroes. After the tribute, MCLB Albany got the luck of the draw out of all the teams there to be able to high-five the WNBA Atlanta Dream members as they came back from the locker room after halftime.
Once the 4th quarter ended, MCLB Albany also had a ticket to get autographs after the game. They weren’t told who was coming up to sign, but they sent up player No. 10, Lindsay Harding, who played a great game of basketball that evening. She signed T-shirts and towels for the Marines and other fans who held tickets for autographs as well.
After such a long drive to Atlanta, playing a game, sitting and watching the entire tournament, grabbing chow and eventually watching the WNBA teams play, MCLB Albany representatives were exhausted and couldn’t wait to hit the rack at a luxurious Holiday Inn in Atlanta, Ga. Even though they didn’t come back from Atlanta with a trophy or “bragging rights,” they did return as a newly-developed team, one that knows how to have a great time despite adversities.