Fairchild Varsity ball team takes championship

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. JT May III
  • 92nd Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
Eighty well-played, heart-pounding minutes decided the fate of the Fairchild Varsity Basketball team July 31. The tournament, decidedly named the East Central Summer League, was held at the East Central Community Center and was comprised of various teams throughout the Spokane, Wash., area. The four remaining teams competed in the semifinals in which the winner was determined by two back-to-back games. 

As the varsity team played; growth, unity and leadership manifested itself into wins. With grit and determination they advanced to the semifinals by having a team-first mentality. Airman 1st Class Josh Budinich, 92nd Maintenance Squadron, exemplified such team dedication by delaying his flight home for leave in able to play with his team. 

Stephen Pitters, coached the 13 members, including: 

Maj. Dionte Moncrief, 92nd Aero-medical Dental Squadron; 2nd Lt. Noah Garguile, 92nd Comptroller Squadron; Tech. Sgt. Patrick Obermuller, 92nd Medical Operations Squadron; Staff Sgt. James Gasaway, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron; Senior Airman DeSean Jones, 92nd Aeromedical Dental Squadron; 92nd Senior Airman David Hall, 92nd Medical Operating Squadron; Senior Airman Joseph Webb, 92nd Air Refueling Squadron; Airman 1st Class Mike Berube, 92nd Maintenance Squadron; Airman 1st Class Josh Budinich, 92nd Maintenance Squadron; Airman 1st Class Marcus Bertelsen, 92nd Logistics Readiness Squadron, Airman 1st Class Shane Little, 92nd Civil Engineering Squadron; Airman 1st Class Donnorrius "Dee" Briscoe, Comptroller Squadron; Airman 1st Class Richard Holder, 92nd Security Forces Squadron; and Airman Anthony Smith, 92nd Security Forces Squadron. 

During the semifinal game, new recruits Briscoe, Obermuller, Smith, Little and Holder provided valuable minutes, points and defense, allowing veteran players to take a breather for the final push, which later proved instrumental in the team's success.
At times, the team faced insurmountable odds. While military duty, such as deployments and temporary duty assignments, always takes precedence, the resiliency of the team was highlighted by the wily play of varsity basketball veterans who played the entire second half with four fouls. Moncrief and Bertelsen also provided key leadership to their team during the games. 

With the score tied at 18 at halftime, Jones took the team on his shoulders and willed them to victory by providing vital offense in the second half. A thunderous two-hand dunk by Jones ended the game. The team went on to win its first championship with the final score of 43 to 32, and seasonal record of 10 wins and zero losses. 

Additionally, Pitters equated the team's success with senior leadership providing opportunities to play and practice. Col. Robert Thomas, 92nd Air Refueling Wing commander, and Chief Master Sgt. David Nordel, 92 ARW command chief, provided funds to buy uniforms. Squadron commanders, supervisors, spouses and significant others played a crucial role in the success of the basketball team. 

The team served as Fairchild's ambassadors by representing the base and connecting with the local community. This was evident in the interaction between the civilian and military audience before and after the game. 

With this endeavor behind them, the team is looking for new competitions and tournaments. "The tournament is only the beginning and we're ready to test ourselves," said Pitters.