Warrior Games 2013: Marines, Army win gold in basketball, volleyball

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Marines took the gold in sitting volleyball, and the Army took gold in wheelchair basketball on Day 4 of the Warrior Games May 15 at Clune Arena.

The first basketball game of the evening between the Navy and Marines determined who would play the Army for the gold.

The Marines took charge of the game early on, starting with a 10-0 lead. The Marines looked relaxed, pressuring the Navy team and forcing multiple turnovers.

The momentum continued throughout the first half, with the Marines working up to a 24-6 lead.

The Navy came out stronger in the second half, controlling turnovers and getting a shot out of each possession, but they still suffered from a poor shot percentage and a failure to get offensive rebounds for secondary shot opportunities.

The Marines won 49-18, giving them a much-needed boost in confidence for facing the Army for the gold.

"We're going to have to keep our composure, keep our calm, and not let the game get to us," said Marine team member Ray Tenniger, about what they needed to do to win against Army.

Prior to facing off for basketball gold, however, the Army and Marines would meet in sitting volleyball for gold.

In the first match, the points stayed close throughout the first half, with the Army having its first lead at 9-8, and the Marines taking the lead back at 15-14. The Marines won the match 25-21, through a combination of aggressive play and good movement to the ball.

The Marines' strong defense on the net gave them an early lead in the second match, although the Army came within 2 at 11-9 and within 1 at 18-17. The Marines never gave up the lead and continued to work soft spots in the Army defense for a 25-21 win, to earn the gold in two matches, with the Army taking silver.

In the bronze game, the British Armed Forces defeated the Navy in three matches.

After the sitting volleyball gold game and awards ceremony concluded, the arena floor was quickly cleared and the wheelchair basketball gold game quickly got underway. The Marines, flush off their earlier win against the Navy and winning volleyball gold, came out hot early on, challenging for the ball across the entire court and creating more second chance shots off of offensive rebounds to keep the game close at 6-4.

The Army suffered from rushed passing, trying to match the Army tempo, and never matched the dominance they displayed in Tuesday's game. At the half, the Marines were in the lead, 18-16.

Coming out of the half, the Marines continued to apply full court pressure, but the Army became more deliberate with their passing and shot selection, limiting the Marines' opportunity for fast breaks and easy points. The Army also worked the offensive rebounds to get more second shot opportunities.

In the last minute of the game, the Army slowed the pace, picking their shots, and three points from the free throw line, due to Marines' fouling, allowed the Army to open up a four-point lead. The Marines could not close the gap, and the Army won 34-32.

The Army was ebullient after a hard fought victory, with Army team member Anthony Pone making this prediction: "If I'm blessed to be back here next year, we're going to do the same thing."