Fort Hood’s Varsity Basketball team won the Joe Hall Memorial Basketball Tournament 87-76 against Air Force Prep in San Antonio Dec. 8, 2019.

Air Force Prep has won the tournament for the last nine years and Fort Hood’s Head Coach 2nd Lt. Antonio Pate, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, was glad to break their streak.

“We’ve always been runner up to them, so finally getting the chance to beat them was the icing on the cake for us,” Pate said.

He said it was challenging coming up with a plan to beat a team like Air Force Prep, since they have such a successful long running program.

“Air Force Prep, a lot of people are not familiar with them, those are the athletes, basketball players, that go on to play for the Air Force Academy,” Pate said. “They have a system and they’ve been running it fluently for years. So, for you to strategize against them is kind of complicated at times, because they have so many plays and so many systems that it’s hard to, kind of strategize against them.”

Spc. Jarret Coffield, 91st Brigade Engineer Battalion, believes that the Fort Hood basketball team shows a lot of perseverance when faced with a challenge and that’s what helped them come out on top.

“There were a lot of games that were close, a couple of bad calls, but actually fighting back as a team, that was the biggest thing for me,” Coffield said. “Seeing us fight through adversity, there were a lot of crazy calls, but fighting through adversity was the biggest part.”

Spc. Shaun Hollenkamp, 2nd Bn., 8th Cav. Regt., enjoyed playing the game he loves with his teammates and welcoming some new faces to the team.

“It’s a lot of fun being around them. To be honest, it was a new team when we got there. I played with some of them last year, but we got a couple new guys this year,” Hollenkamp said. “It took a game or two to get used to each other, but once we got used to each other, we were all clicking, having a lot of fun, a lot of laughs, a lot of making fun of each other, you know. Just like being on a team.”

Hollenkamp is passionate about basketball and is very happy to have the opportunity to play while in the Army.

“When I joined the Army, I didn’t think I was going to get to play basketball as much as I do, so being able to come and play basketball every Tuesday, Thursday and then go on the weekends and play is a dream come true, to be honest,” Hollenkamp said.

Pate, after playing for a couple of years himself, is proud to coach his peers and continue the legacy of Fort Hood basketball.

“Fort Hood has a legacy here. It was way before my time. There’s rarely been a season that Fort Hood hasn’t brought in a National Championship. This goes back to the 40s and 50s,” Pate said. “As the seasons go, the expectation for the Fort Hood team just keeps rising because we’re always at the top of the ladder when you talk about military basketball, Fort Hood is always mentioned.”