The stage was set for a true Cinderella story. The 355th Operations Group had overcome massive adversity between player suspensions and members out for Red Flag. There were days when only five players were able to attend games. This led to a less than stellar regular season for this hardheaded group that just wouldn’t go away.
Despite amassing only a few regular-season wins, they stuck in every game only losing by a few points each time. After barely making the playoffs as a wild card team, they proceeded to knock off the No. 1 team in the league on their way to the championship game.
Their opponent on the other hand was the No. 3 team on base with only two regular season losses. Teaming with DECA this year, the 355th Civil Engineer Squadron was poised to make a solid run at a second consecutive championship.
Unfortunately, one of their starters, and team leaders, was lost three weeks into the season due to a broken wrist. The following two games after the injury were their only two losses. They bounced back and never lost again. Just in time for the playoffs the injured player got cleared by medical to compete. They swept all their games straight to the championship.
By April 6, championship night, the stage had been set. Cinderella team versus the reigning champions. You could feel the anxiety and anticipation in the air. As the ball flew into the air for the opening tip you could feel the stares from players, fans, coaches and officials. This was it, what everyone had worked toward all season. It all came down to one game, two 20-minute halves. The two teams went back and forth exchanging field goals, 3-pointers and fouls.
CES’s full-court press surprised OG at first. After adjusting OG made a run closing the gap bringing the game within striking distance. However, in the end CES’s depth and discipline proved too much for the Cinderella team.
CES won their second championship in two years with the final score of 61 to 45. This is the first back-to-back championship CES has achieved.