When D Company, 2nd Battalion, 29th Infantry Regiment played the 75th Ranger Regiment Feb. 9, it narrowly defeated the Rangers, 43-39.
But when the two teams meet on Thursday to decide who will be guaranteed a spot in the Commander’s Cup championship game, the outcome may be different.
The Rangers are playing like a different team than the one that lost its final three games of the regular season. In the playoffs, no team has played better. Their struggles with free-throw shooting and defense have turned from a weakness into a strength. And they have been shooting “lights out” from the perimeter.
Rangers forward David Lee said the difference has been having a consistent group of guys who show up ready to play.
“Usually we were having different guys play in each of those games. Now we have a core and we’re going to try and capitalize off that. We’ve got three solid players who can come off the bench and give us the boost that we need.”
However, 2/29 demolished the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment, which finished first in League Two, 55-34, despite playing without arguably best player, Issac Henderson. Durango Ayala, coach of 2/29, credits defense to that win.
“(1/19) feeds off of their two guards and once we stopped those two guards, they didn’t do anything,” Ayala said. “They just crumbled.”
Ayala said Henderson is questionable for today’s game.
1/15 players PCSIf there had been a bench-clearing brawl March 1 during the second-round game between 1st Battalion, 15th Infantry Regiment and the Rangers, 1/15 would not have had a bench to clear.
Nearly half of the 1/15 team PCS’d following the regular season. The 1/15 was one of the favorites heading into the tournament but was demolished at the hands of the Rangers, 86-52, after only six players were available in that game. After the game, 1/15 coach Natasha Brock said it was possible 1/15 would not make it through the playoffs as more players were expected to PCS.
1/15 did have enough players to play Thursday in the loser’s bracket game against the 203rd Brigade Support Battalion, which it lost 57-45, giving a disappointing end to its season.
Brock said the regular season performance by 1/15 was enough to let people know it was one of the best teams in either league.
“I feel like for the most part we proved what we had to prove,” she said.