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Offutt hoopsters looking for weekend sweep

The Team Offutt basketball squad comes together before practice at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. This year’s squad includes 18 players from across the base, including members of the Air Force, Army and some Department of Defense civilians. They host their first double-round-robin meet of the season on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

The Team Offutt basketball squad comes together before practice at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. This year’s squad includes 18 players from across the base, including members of the Air Force, Army and some Department of Defense civilians. They host their first double-round-robin meet of the season on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

Terrell Costa, a forward with the Team Offutt basketball squad and a technical sergeant with the 55th FSS, drives to the hoop during practice at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Team Offutt welcomes the Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., teams to base for a double-round-robin meet at the field house on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

Terrell Costa, a forward with the Team Offutt basketball squad and a technical sergeant with the 55th FSS, drives to the hoop during practice at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. Team Offutt welcomes the Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., teams to base for a double-round-robin meet at the field house on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

Derrick Bryant, a guard on the Team Offutt basketball squad and a civilian with the 55th Force Support Squadron, run down the court during conditioning drills at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. At 3-5 on the season, Team Offutt is looking for a four game sweep during their double-round-robin meet at the field house on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

Derrick Bryant, a guard on the Team Offutt basketball squad and a civilian with the 55th Force Support Squadron, run down the court during conditioning drills at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 7 at Offutt Air Force Base, Neb. At 3-5 on the season, Team Offutt is looking for a four game sweep during their double-round-robin meet at the field house on Nov. 16-17. (U.S. Air Force photos by Ryan Hansen/Released)

OFFUTT AIR FORCE BASE, Neb. -- The Team Offutt basketball squad hosts its first double-round-robin meet of the season at the Offutt Field House on Nov. 16-17.

Team Offutt welcomes the Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., and Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., teams to base and will play them both twice over two days.

"We ask that the members of Offutt Air Force Base come out and support the team," said Rodrick Greene, Team Offutt head coach and a technical sergeant with the 55th Communications Squadron. "We would like to fill the bleachers with fans and create a home type atmosphere. "

Team Offutt competes in the Central U.S. Military Basketball Conference along with seven other Air Force and Army installation teams. Last year they finished 14-6, placed third in the CUSMBC tournament and were invited to the military national tournament.

"Every year our goal is the same," Greene said, "and that's to win the conference championship and the national championship."

So far this season the team is only 3-5, but Greene was encouraged by their play this past weekend at Fort Sill, Okla.

"We have some work to do, but we'd showed a lot of promise," he said. "We want to be the team that everyone fears."

Tryouts for the team took place in July and this year's squad includes 18 players from across the base, including members of the Air Force, Army and some Department of Defense civilians. It includes a good mix of nine returning veterans as well as nine newcomers.

"Our team is deep and full of talent," Greene said. "We have a good mixture of old guys and new guys this year."

Team Offutt is led by their captains, Derrick Bryant, a civilian with the 55th Force Support Squadron, Terrell Costa, a technical sergeant with the 55th FSS, and Decoreo Edwards, a senior Airman with the 55th Comptroller Squadron.

"We get out and run on the break and score in transition very well," said Bryant, who plays both point guard and shooting guard. "Our defense is also really solid. At times we have our breakdowns, but overall we defend really well which leads to our fast break."

"Our team is fast with a lot of shooters," said Costa, who is plays both small forward and power forward for the team. "We have a pretty athletic team across the board. When we play great team defense we are very hard to beat."

"Talent wise, we are athletic all around," said Edwards, who plays both guard and forward for the team. "We focus primarily on defense and let our offense fall into place."

Besides representing Team Offutt on the court across military installations around U.S., the team also does quite a few outreach events. They've hosted two basketball camps for the Offutt youth and are on tap to serve homeless people at the Open Door Mission in Omaha as well as host a toy drive in December.

"We're heavily involved with the local community," Costa said. "We served at the Baconfest festival at the Salvation Army Kroc Center, which is for all the local kids in the community. More than 1,800 people attended and we helped raise $35,000."

After this weekend's games, the team will prepare for the Joe Hall Tournament on Dec. 7-8 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. They'll then get back to CUSMBC play in January with games at Tinker AFB.

"Our team this year has unlimited potential and should be favorites to win the whole thing this year," Bryant said.

Following that Team Offutt will host its second and final double-round-robin meet of the season on Feb. 1-2, and will play at Little Rock AFB on March 1-2 before heading to the CUSMBC tournament on March 16-17 at Fort Sill.

"I believe with the team we have we could make nationals and finish at the top of our conference," Edwards said.

With a weekend sweep, Team Offutt would get above .500 on the season and so the team is encouraging everyone to come out and support them.

"When we travel to other bases the gym is always packed full of screaming supporters," Greene said. "We want that to be the case for us as well."

On Saturday, Nov. 16, Team Offutt plays Tinker at 2 p.m. and Whiteman at 6 p.m. On Sunday, Nov. 17, they play Whiteman at 8:30 a.m. and Tinker at 12:30 p.m.