The Eastern North Carolina Military Basketball War Dawgs pose for a photo following their 71-61 win over Fort Campbell in the final of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend tournament at Naval Station Mayport, Jan. 20.

Local military hoops squad back in action at the Marine Dome on Saturday

The Eastern North Carolina Military Basketball War Dawgs won a Martin Luther King, Jr. Weekend tournament at Naval Station Mayport, Jan. 20.

The War Dawgs, made up of military personnel and Department of Defense contractors from Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, Marine Corps Air Station New River and MCAS Cherry Point, went 4-0 and took down Fort Campbell 71-61 in the championship game.

Marine Corps 2nd Lt. James Contreras of MCAS Cherry Point was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player as 1st Lt. Brandon Mitchell made the all-tournament team.

For Mitchell, who said the team was “locked in” at Mayport, military basketball has been a major part of his Marine Corps experience. As a three-time All-Marine player, Mitchell went on to play at Virginia Wesleyan University before returning to the Marine Corps.

“For the Marines as a whole, it is very important that we compete, we stay competitive (and) we keep that edge,” Mitchell said. Mitchell is also a former All-Armed Forces team member.

Mitchell and the War Dawgs are back in action this weekend at the Marine Dome on MCAS Cherry Point. They will face Kings Bay and Fort Stewart, who the War Dawgs are tied with for the top spot in the 10-team Atlantic Coastal Military Basketball Conference (ACMBC) with a record of 10-2.

The War Dawgs came in at #2 globally in the latest Military Basketball Association (MBA) rankings.

Though being #1 is a goal, it’s not exactly at the top of the list for the War Dawgs, who are focused on building a brotherhood and playing a specific brand of basketball.

“The biggest message that we always have is to play a good defensive, up-tempo style of basketball,” Mitchell said. “We are tenacious; we try to keep that Marine warrior culture, and we just stick together.”

Basketball fans will have four opportunities to see the War Dawgs play this weekend (see schedule):

ACMBC’s Week 6 games at MCAS Cherry Point:

Feb. 1

War Dawgs vs. Fort Stewart, 11:00 a.m.

Kings Bay vs. Fort Stewart, 1:00 p.m.

Kings Bay vs. War Dawgs, 3:00 p.m.

Feb. 2

War Dawgs vs. Kings Bay, 9 a.m.

Fort Stewart vs. Kings Bay, 11 a.m.

Ft. Stewart vs. War Dawgs, 1:30 p.m.