SFA's intramural basketball team, "The Takeover," took over the court to win the Men's Intramural Division 2019 NIRSA National Championship against Dixie State University 54-52.
Nine teams competed on April 12-14 in the NIRSA National Tournament at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. The Takeover reached the national tournament after becoming Region IV champions in March.
In their first game of the tournament, SFA defeated The University of Central Florida 62-52. In the second game, SFA won against Sul Ross State University 55-54 from a game-winning layup by Tyler Zivney with six seconds left in the game. In the semifinals against Georgia Southern University, The Takeover won 60-53 to advance to the finals.
Jeffery Martin had 15 points and three rebounds in the final game and was named MVP for the tournament in the Men’s Intramural Division.
Eris White explained how the team came together last year when a group of friends would meet up at the Rec. He said they meshed well together, and they decided to create an intramural team. Even though the team easily clicked, they had challenges reaching the national title.
“We have a lot of smart basketball minds,” White said. “We all have different ways that we can see to win a game, but getting together and coming up with one common goal I think was our biggest challenge. It was a challenge to put pride to the side.”
Joshua Alexander, team captain, said he is a defensive player.
“Sometimes my offense might not be there, so I have to take myself out [of the game] for our offense to get there so we can get more points on the board,” Alexander said. “It’s about adjusting to each other and everybody knowing their roles.”
SFA offers a wide number of intramural sports for all students to join as well as club teams. In several of those intramural sports, students can create men’s, women’s, co-ed and Greek life teams. White explained that intramurals allow people who have played sports throughout their lives continue to play in college.
“Everybody’s not a varsity athlete. It’s a way to keep students involved. Most of the time you go to college and you don’t want to go through the college route alone,” White said. “When you invest in intramurals, it’s a way to develop skills that you don’t know that you’re developing, like leadership, problem- solving and strategy planning. It’s important for college students to get those learning tools through intramurals that they’re going to use in life after.”
Playing against teams on campus, they face a variety of skill levels. To prepare for the tournament, the SFA team prepared by competing against several teams: the varsity team, the club team and treated the intramural games on campus like practices. Alexander mentioned that at the national level, the teams are more competitive, and they know what they’re doing.
“We’re like a family,” Alexander said. “Everybody’s goofy. You see everybody’s personalities before the game and after the game. It’s always fun.”
After being together for two years, several of the players on The Takeover will be graduating.
“It’s bittersweet, but it’s a wonderful feeling to go out on top,” Alexander said.