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LAAFB Storm Reigns at Nellis Classic

Los Angeles Air Force Base’s Storm basketball team played against  Marines from Twenty Nine Palms in the Nellis Classic Tournament, Feb. 15- 18. The Storm took the championship title in their first appearance at the tournament.

Los Angeles Air Force Base’s Storm basketball team played against Marines from Twenty Nine Palms in the Nellis Classic Tournament, Feb. 15- 18. The Storm took the championship title in their first appearance at the tournament.

Los Angeles Air Force Base -- Los Angeles Air Force Base's varsity basketball team, The Storm, recently won the 3rd Annual Nellis Armed Forces Basketball Classic at Las Vegas, Nev., Feb. 15-18. This was the first year team played at the Nellis Classic. 

According to Coach James Franklin, SMC Program Management and Integration, the Las Vegas tournament is "typically one of the highest profile and most competitive varsity level military basketball tournament in the western region." 

The team is co-coached by Damion Byrd, 369th Recruiting Squadron, Los Angeles. 

The LA Storm team members are:
- Chad Arnold, The Aerospace Corporation
- Derrick Brewer, Missile Defense Systems Office
- Joel Gardner, Financial Management and Comptroller
- Louis Moore, Financial Management and Comptroller
- Alexander Raco, Raytheon Company
- Nesta Garner, Program Management and Integration
- Randy Combs, Global Positioning Systems Wing
- Tommy Bellairs, Global Positioning Systems Wing
- Michael Evans, 61st Air Base Wing Ground Safety
- Hershell Williams, Raytheon Company
- Tyrone Waiters, Military dependent
- Derek Lucas, retired Air Force 

Tommy Bellairs was the tournament's Most Valuable Player. Mike Evans and Chad Arnold were also selected to the all-tournament team for outstanding play and team leadership. 

Sixteen teams competed in the Las Vegas tournament. It was sponsored by the Nellis Basketball Association, whose purpose is to give military members an opportunity to participate in a higher-level basketball competitions normally not offered at the base and intramural levels. 

"Other than this tournament, we have been involved in league play for the last month, playing in our Eastern Division against Nellis AFB, Twenty Nine Palms-USMC, Davis-Monthan AFB, Ariz., and Luke AFB Ariz.," said Coach Franklin. "We are currently 5 and 4 in the division." 

"We started league with a 1 and 2 win/loss record," said Coach Franklin, "but have since gone 4 and 2 and we are continuing to improve our overall team play and focus despite the challenge of mission and duty constraints." 

At this time The Storm is gearing up for their next game at the Pacific West Military Basketball League in Las Vegas, April 4-6. Also in April, The LA Storm has been invited to play at the premier military tournament of the year at Hickam AFB in Honolulu, Hawaii. 

"This is the premier tournament of the year and teams from as far east as North Carolina and Ohio compete," said Coach Franklin. "We were given a personal invite to attend after our tournament win at Nellis." 

In the meantime, the team is hoping to host two teams here in Los Angeles during the weekend of March 15-16. 

The Los Angeles Storm is a member of the Pacific West Military Basketball League. This is the league's inaugural season. Membership is open to all military bases in the Western region. 

Members of the Nellis Basketball Association can participate and compete against teams from all branches of service several times year-round. Currently, members include states from the western region (California, Hawaii, Arizona and Nevada) but hope to expand to include teams from across the United States. The association is made up of active duty Air Force members who have volunteered as coaches, medical assistants, coaching staff members and basketball players. The association became a private organization in 2006 and is currently led by the founder and league commissioner Tech. Sgt. James Wright assigned to Nellis Air Force Base.