By: Ben Abrams
Hakeem Abdullah (#7) and Michael Mitchell (#6) of the undefeated Gold team proved to be too much to handle for the Red team in GPC’s 2015 intramural basketball championship game on March 18.
Gold cruised to a 72-57 win over Red in the finals led by the deadly combination of Abdullah and Mitchell who combined for 49 points in the win.
The biggest factor to the Gold team’s success was the points they were able to score off of their transitional defense.
“We pressured the ball and made them do stuff they can’t do so they turn the ball over,” said Abdullah.
In the first half of the game, the Red team was held scoreless for more than five minutes as Gold use their defense and the quickness of their offense to run the Red team off the court.
“We made adjustments from the first game and our big man was the enforcer of our defense,” said Mitchell. “He led us tonight.”
The fast breaks created by the Gold’s tough defense was effective enough.
“We knew if we stepped it up on defense we’d be able to score easy so shut them down and that led to fast breaks,” said Mitchell.
The teams had 15-1 scoring run late in the first half. Followed by a 17-4 run in the first six minutes of the second half that would lead to a 20 point lead with ten minutes remaining in the ball game.
“It was tough so we had to get as many easy buckets as we could to win the game,” said Mitchell. “When we got those buckets, it took some pressure off our backs.”
The big run that took place before the ten minute mark by the Gold team would spell the beginning of the end for the Red team.
“At about the ten minute mark in the second half, we saw them kind of giving up, so we knew it was close to that time,” said Mitchell.
The Gold team came into the game with extra motivation on top of the possibility of achieving the perfect season. The team also wanted to prove some of their biggest critics on the Red team wrong.
“We played them before, and we knew we were going to beat them. That’s why it was very personal to win tonight’s game,” said Abdullah.
The mission is now accomplished for the Gold team and Mitchell showed his excitement for what the team was able to accomplish despite their loudest critics.
“Our struggle through the season and the arguments I had with teammate we came together in the end the trophy show that. We did the hard work and it paid off,” said Mitchell.
This is the sixth year that GPC has held the annual basketball tournament at the Health, Wellness, and Recreation Center at the Clarkston campus.
The tournament is part of an eight team intramural basketball league the center runs that is sponsored by the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association. (N.I.R.S.A).
The league was originally started in 2009 by Coach Anthony Edwards, coordinator of the Health and Wellness Center in Clarkston.
“A lot of the students said there was no sports for students who didn’t make the teams in college. So we choose to go with intramural sports to create an opportunity for more students to get involved from different campuses all under one umbrella,” said Edwards.
The league has proven to be a success as students have signed up to play in the competitive league for the last six year.
Many of them have enjoyed the experience that they consider it an annual event that’s part of their extra-curricular calendar.
After winning the the league title this year, Hakeem Abdullah is one of those students.
“It was a good season, and I can’t wait to do it again next year,” said Abdullah.