Golden Kings’ season beginning better than golden
The Ryukyu Golden Kings and the Kyoto Hannaryz are celebrating weekend victories, albeit for totally different reasons in the Basketball Japan League.
For the Kyoto Hannaryz, it was their first win of the year, an 84-75 win over the 7-4 Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix. Playing with a special energy, the 1-8 Hannaryz saw Yu Okada go 6-for-9 from the field, including a pair from the 3-point range, while sinking all six balls from the charity stripe. He also tallied four assists while teammates went 32-for-39 from the free throw line. Only 24 hours later the Hannaryz did it again, stunning the Phoenix 80-63.
The traveling road warriors, the Ryukyu Golden Kings, found Miyazaki Prefecture a sweet place to be last weekend, racking up their seventh and eighth consecutive victories in the BJL, outdistancing the Miyazaki Shining Suns 108-66 and 112-75. The Shining Suns fall to 1-9 as they lose nine consecutive games, while the Golden Kings remain undefeated this season.
Anthony McHenry and Jeff Newton each had 16 points for Okinawa, the reigning league champions, while Dzaflo Larkai and Narito Namizato each picked up 14 points while Morihisa Yamauchi tallied 10. McHenry also pulled in 13 rebounds and Namizato accounted for five assists. More of the same on Sunday, as Morihisa Yamauchi registered a career-high 30 points, including 7-of-13 three-pointers. Jeff Newton was close with 25 points, 14 rebounds, five blocked shots and four rebounds. Teammate Terrance Woodbury contributed 22 points while Narito Namizato accounted for seven assists.
The Yokohama B-Corsairs split a weekend pair with the Shinshu Brave Warriors, winning the first of the set 85-82, only to fall 81-72 in the second to put their season at 5-3. The Brave Warriors are up one at 6-4. The Iwate Big Bulls carried its Saturday action to an overtime stanza in a battle of the Eastern Conference big guys, then pulled off a 76-74 win. Former Okinawa coach Dai Oketani, now with the Big Bulls, saw his club move to 10-1 on the season. He wasn’t so pleased Sunday as the Akita Northern Happinets beat them up, 86-67. The Northern Happinets are at 7-1, while the Big Bulls slip to 10-2.
The Osaka Evessa and Oita HeatDevils also split a pair last weekend, Evessa drawing first blood 86-82, only to fall a day later, 85-77. Osaka’s now 1-5, while the HeatDevils are 8-2. The Toyama Grouses were smiling all weekend, beating up on the Gunma Crane Thunders 99-71 and 83-71while running their record to 8-4. The Crane Thunders are now 0-12 on the year, taking the position held only a season ago by the Takamatsu Five Arrows.
The Five Arrows are doing a bit better this year, picking up a win over the Shimane Susanoo Magic 72-61 in the first match, then losing 70-59 on Sunday to set the record at 3-5. The Susanoo Magic is 6-4. The Shiga Lakestars fell to the Fukuoka Rizing Saturday, 99-75, and gave up the points Sunday to lose 87-79. Fukuoka is now 6-4.
Tokyo’s expansion Cinq Reves pulled off a pair of wins after being off the hardwood for three weeks, hammering the Sendai 89ers 89-68 and 102-88. The wins move Tokyo to 406, while Sendai drops to 2-8. The Niigata Albirex BB beat Saitama Broncos 100-71 in the first of their two games, then bounced back from a 21-6 deficit Sunday to win 79-55. The Albirex are now 7-3 and Saitama 1-7.