More than 100 athletes from several area military installations converged on Fort Belvoir’s Wells Field House, Saturday, to compete in the 2019 Summer Slam Basketball Tournament—the first of its kind on post.
The two-day event included double-elimination play between teams representing Belvoir; Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall; the U.S. Coast Guard; Joint Base Andrews; and an independent team that competed as “Golden State.”
When the dust finally settled, Sunday, Fort Belvoir stepped into the winner’s circle with a final-matchup victory over “Golden State.”
According to Justin Fitzgerald, Belvoir intramural sports coordinator and facilities manager, the Summer Slam tournament began in Florida.
“A couple of Fort Belvoir players competed in a tournament down in Miami and wanted to bring the competition here,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of players out here today, too.”
The tournament was also a way to give players a chance to compete during basketball’s traditional “down time,” added Arthurlyn Mitchum, recreation assistant at Graves Fitness Center and event coordinator.
“This is just a way to give the guys another chance to play basketball; in the summer there’s really no basketball, not until the fall when the Vet’s Day Tournament is held and when the Washington Area Military Athletic Conference season starts up again,” he said. “So, this gives our players something to do June through August.”
Mitchum also said the goal was to include as many local military installations as possible to keep competition at the highest level.
“We’ve got four (visiting) teams out here today—Myer, Andrews, the Coast Guard and an independent team made up of local players,” he said. “We’re going to try to get this going every year to maybe take place
near the Father’s Day weekend.”
A definitive highlight of Saturday’s action was the second-round showdown between Fort Belvoir and JB Andrews. The home squad overcame a sluggish start to tie the game up at 58 apiece at the end of the second period, driving the intense contest into a three-minute OT period. The home squad is made up of several WAMAC veterans, including guards, Deonte Bleach, Reginald Hawkins and Phil James, along with forwards, Mack Purvis and lane-driving specialist, Devon McKiver.
Both teams kept pace with each other for the lion’s share of the extra period, but Belvoir managed to take a 2-point lead with scarcely 30 seconds remaining on the game clock, after a steal at the opposite end of the hardwood by Hawkins, who barreled down the court and sank an uncontested lay-in. The Belvoir defense held off an Andrews attempt to drive the lane and draw a foul and the ensuing turnover put Belvoir back in possession.
Andrews was forced to commit a clock-stopping foul that sent Hawkins to the charity stripe, where he sank both freebies with two seconds left, sealing the 66-62 victory. Riding a crest of momentum, Belvoir would power through the quarters and the semis to ultimately take the crown over “Golden State” in the championship.
For information on special sporting events at Fort Belvoir, call Fitzgerald at 703-806-5093 or visit https://belvoir.armymwr.com/ categories/sports-and-fitness.