Navy came within a whisker of winning the second annual King’s Cup basketball championship but were beaten 43-40 by a combined Air Force and Army team.
Navy dominated most of the game but lost the lead in the last three minutes of play after their opponents scored four three-point field baskets from long range.
The King’s Cup match was the curtain-raiser to the Sydney Kings clash with the Wollongong Hawks at the Sydney Entertainment Centre on February 15.
Navy was very impressive in the first stanza, with their players running rings around their opponents.
The team racked up 36 points by half-time, but appeared to lose their way in the second stanza when their opponents scored 23 points.
Navy team member, Leading Seaman (LS) Lindsay Russell (HMAS Kuttabul), said defeat was a bitter pill to swallow after dominating almost the entire game, when in the last three minutes when Air Force/Army took the lead.
“We played really well in the first half to post a 36-26 lead, but then we came unstuck in the second half,” he said.
There were plenty of positives in defeat as Navy had great games from. Petty Officer (PO) Michael Biddell (HMAS Stuart), PO James Lee (HMAS Harman) and LS Ben Wilkin (HMAS Watson) and the head coaching debut from Able Seaman (AB) Lawrence Campbell (NUSHIP Canberra).
“The turning point in the match was the three-pointers that the Air Force/Army players scored,” said LS Russell.
“It was a great game for both teams, but we do feel disappointed we weren’t able to hold onto our big lead after dominating the match for so long.”
The final highlight was the official trophy award ceremony held at half time during the official Sydney Kings v Wollongong Hawks match. The commentary staff and twelve thousand strong crowd cheered the players and publicly thanked them for their hard work.
LS Russell said the Navy team was visited by the Sydney Kings at HMAS Kuttabul earlier in the week, which provided an opportunity to conduct some training drills in preparation for the Kings Cup.
“It was a really great opportunity to get some tips from the Sydney Kings’ players, which will serve us well later in the season,” he said.
Imagery is available on the Australian Defence Image Library at http://images.defence.gov.au/S20140317.