Roughneck Ballers win first tourney

By Pfc. Abel Trevino
Staff writer

The Headquarters and Service Company, 84th Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) competed against the 512th Maintenance Company, the Roughneck Ballers, and despite their strong showing, lost 69-55 in the 42nd game of the tournament: the championship game Monday.

"They stepped up their game tonight, hit a high percentage of their shots, hit the three-pointers and the layups. There wasn't a whole lot we could do against that," said 84th EN Coach Roderick Whatley.

The game was close during the first period, but during the second period, two Roughneck Ballers collectively shot for 16 points and shut down over 10 attempted shots.

"[Randy] Brooks had a spectacular game. The number of three-pointers he hit alone gave us a comfortable lead," Roughneck Ballers' Ernest Simmons said. "There was some great guard play from [Vinson] Washington."

During the half, with a 42-24 lead, Simmons said his strategy had been to shut down the 84th EN's main shooters and free up his own players to get the big shots.

Roughneck Ballers' Simmons said that although his team was tired after the first half, they knew it was worth it because it allowed them to relax more in the 4th period.

"[In future games] we're going to start strong and that will give us room to breathe at the end," Roughneck Ballers' Simmons said.

The 84th EN's Whatley was not distraught about his loss.

"It's a good feeling. We're all basketball players and we'd have liked to have been champions, but there can be only one," 84th EN's Whatley said.

Other players on his team weren't so happy. "I'm pretty disappointed that we lost," said Lars Tobaga of the 84th EN. "I'm frustrated that I couldn't get my shot on and hit my jumpers. They were hitting their [shots] and capitalizing on our mistakes."

The players also blamed themselves. "I made some really big mistakes," said 84th EN's Kenneth Stanley.

Brooks, who scored 21 of the Roughneck Ballers points, was impressed with the talent he played against to make it to the championship game.

"The competition was great. There was some solid competition from guys all over the world. We're just a group of guys who got together and played some ball and decided to play in the tournament," Roughneck Ballers' Brooks said.

The 84th EN were given their due respect.

"They were a little more competitive than most teams," Roughneck Ballers' Brooks said.

The winning team remained humble in securing the championship.

"I think our team played great. We pulled through to become one good team," Roughneck Ballers' Simmons said. "They had a great team, but we had that comfortable lead and they weren't able to overtake it."

With the first tournament in the new facilities finished, the sportsmanship remained.

"It feels great to be out here, in the middle of the desert and Iraq, and get some real sports time in," Roughneck Ballers' Brooks said.


Roughneck Ballers
Roughneck Ballers' Randy Brooks leaps in the air for a layup. His 21 points was the game high.