***image1*** Youth and experience met on the court Saturday for the Teen vs. Staff Invitational Basketball Tournament at the Landstuhl Elementary School Gym, and in overtime, youth won out, 98-90.
This was the second three-ball tournament that pitted teens from the Landstuhl Middle School and Teen Center against the staff of the 415th Base Support Battalion’s Child and Youth Services. Held in October, the first tournament saw experience as the victor, so it was a bit of a payback for the teens.
“It was competitive because they beat us last time, but it was about having fun,” said teen Chris Neal. “I would’ve paid money to watch this game.”
Fun was not the only reason the staff hit the courts.
“We are out here trying to teach them sportsmanship and teamwork,” said Steve Pelletier, CYS chief. “And, it builds up a lot of camaraderie between the staff and teens.”
The teen team had another advantage besides youth, but it took teamwork to make it work for them. They had at least 30 players while the staff had only six.
“I didn’t expect it to be this hard and that so many players would show up,” said teen Reginald Johnson. “It was a lot of substitutions, and it was just a hard game to play.”
Neal agrees, “It was hard to give everybody playing time, but we did it.”
With so many players, it was hard to keep track of who did what, but the teen team members were definitely running a lot, shooting a lot of 3–pointers, stealing the ball every chance they got and falling down quite a bit.
“I believe if you don’t hit the ground, you’re not trying to get dirty, and you’re not hustling enough,” said Neal, who was definitely hustling enough.
The staff managed to stay on their feet while hustling and stealing. They made several 3-pointers including one by Alvin Koposko who forced the overtime. Koposko also scored the game-winning shot in the first tournament.
The teens came up with the idea to play a game of basketball against the staff.
“They felt that they could easily win a game against us and that they would have bragging rights,” said Charles Ford, teen center director. “Then, we beat them the first game so they said ‘let’s play a rematch.’ Now, they beat us so we are going to have another rematch in three months.”
Until the tiebreaker, the teens do have the bragging rights.