08/22/2013 -- For the second year in a row, Marines and Sailors from Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany participated in the Atlanta Dream Women’s National Basketball Association Heroes Night basketball tournament, Aug. 11, at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Ga.
This is the second year the Atlanta Dream has hosted the tournament for military personnel and other first responders. However, after elimination last year by the Atlanta Police Department, the Marine team here brought home the victory after winning against the APD in the second round.
“Bonding with the Marines and Sailors outside of our regular work duties was the best part of the trip for me,” Capt. Christopher E. Collier, operations officer, Logistics Support Division, MCLB Albany, said. “Our first game was a little shaky and we came up short against the Air Force.
“But our second game we played great team basketball and defeated the Atlanta Police Department. We were only allowed to play two games, but if we played more there is no doubt we would have won more games,” he said.
Carlita Broomfield, tournament coordinator, Atlanta Dream, said after being hired by the team and as a way to help push programs and sales, she decided to host a special tournament for the community.
“Both of my parents served in the Air Force, so one of the areas I chose to focus on was supporting and creating opportunities for military personnel and public safety officials,” she said. “After realizing the Atlanta Dream had never hosted a military tournament, I immediately began working to plan the first one in 2012.”
Broomfield said the Heroes Night game allowed her to combine her passion for event planning and community affairs while giving those who serve the community and country an opportunity for friendly competition.
“During the first year of the tournament, eight teams were invited to participate in a single-elimination tournament with Atlanta Police Department taking home the first place trophy,” Broomfield added. “For this year’s tournament, an adjustment was made to allow for a double-elimination style tournament with participation from Robins Air Force Base, Atlanta Fire and Rescue Department, Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany and the Atlanta Police Department.”
One of the team members, Cpl. Lucas J. Thomas, legal services specialist, Office of the Staff Judge Advocate, MCLB Albany, said he thought the tournament was a great experience and once again, all the Marines and Sailors came together to support a great cause.
As the only female on the team, Cpl. Candice Clark, supply clerk, Marine Corps Systems Command, said, “I had a great time playing in the tournament and enjoyed the experience of playing and witnessing amazing talent, competition and camaraderie on the court with other military and government members who chose to serve our country.”
The MCLB Albany team emerged from the all-day tournament as overall third place winners. As a special thank you for their military service, each player and their coaches received free tickets to attend the Atlanta Dream vs. New York Liberty game later that evening.
They were further celebrated with a halftime recognition ceremony for all military personnel and public safety officials.
The team was organized by Staff Sgt. Daryl Walker, adjutant chief, and coached by Sgt. Stephanie Bowens, postal clerk, both members of the Office of the Adjutant, MCLB Albany.