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Golden Kings pound Sendai for win, then lose another

Date Posted: 2010-02-17

The Ryukyu Golden Kings thought it would be an easy weekend, whipping the Sendai 89ers Saturday 68-48, only to find out the 89ers wanted some blood of their own.

Sendai got the revenge they were looking for, roaring back in Sunday’s rematch to take a 78-65 win from the Western Conference leaders. Sendai played poorly Saturday night, scoring 48 points, including only eight in the first quarter and seven in the third, while Okinawa’s Anthony McHenry led the Golden Kings with 20 points and George Leach added 18 plus 17 rebounds.

It was a whole different story Sunday, as Sendai’s Kenichi Takahashi, Josh Peppers and Chris Holm each scored 15 points and the squad missed only two of 23 shots at the charity stripe. The 89ers win pushed them to 18-12, making them look more like playoff contenders as they outscored Okinawa 27-13 in the final stanza.

The Golden Kings, meanwhile, remain atop the Western Conference leader board with a 21-11 record. George Leach paced Okinawa with 19 points, while tallying 12 rebounds in the losing cause. Yosuke Sugawara added 12 points, Masashi Obuchi and Kevin Steenberge each had nine points, and Steenberge picked off a game-high 13 rebounds.

Elsewhere in the league, the Tokyo Apache started the weekend action Friday with an 80-76 road win against the Takamatsu Five Arrows. The Five Arrows retaliated Saturday night, though, with a 105-89 home court win that pushed Tokyo down to 9-19 on the season. Takamatsu is now 9-21.

The Osaka Evessa pushed their Basketball Japan League record to 16-14 with a pair of victories over the Saitama Broncos. The Evessa won on home court Saturday, 79-65, to climb over .500. Lynn Washington and Ryan Blackwell each scored 19 points for Osaka. The Evessa did it again Sunday, controlling the rebounds 61-43 to win the game 87-69. Saitama falls to 11-17 with the pair of losses.

The high flying Eastern Conference leading Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix picked up twin wins over the weekend to stretch their best-in-the-league record to 24-6. They beat the visiting Toyama Grouses 89-72 Saturday with Wayne Arnold dumping in 21 points. Sunday wasn’t much different as the Phoenix drubbed the Grouses 85-45. Jermaine Green topped the Phoenix scoring drive with 25, while Wayne Arnold had 17. Toyama falls to 12-16 on the year.

The Niigata Albirex BB scored a weekend series sweep over the Rizing Fukuoka, winning 92-84 and 84-83, pushing their record to 16-14, while Fukuoka holds at 19-13. The Albirex BB have been struggling without center Paul Burorac, who’s out for a month with a finger injury, but found relief over the weekend in a series of contributions by other players. The pair of wins over the Western Conference #2 Rizing Fukuoka brought cheers from the home court crowds who weren’t expecting the dazzling performances from Antonio Burks, who scored 26 points and added 10 rebounds and four assists on Sunday.

The Shiga Lakestars snapped a two-game losing streak Saturday to defeat the Oita HeatDevils 102-87 at home, only to lose in overtime on Sunday, 86-78. Takamichi Fujiwara hit a two-point shot at the buzzer to tie things at 73-73, forcing overtime. The HeatDevils are now 14-18, while Shiga evens its record at 17-17.

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