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Golden Kings sweep pair from Takamatsu

By: By Jun Ikemura

Date Posted: 2010-03-17

The defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings, tired of splitting series with opponents, took the visiting Takamatsu Five Arrows apart in a pair of Basketball Japan League contests this past weekend at Nago City’s 21st Century Forest Park.

Saturday evening’s series opener began as a close match, with Takamatsu pressing the attack, but Okinawa broke it open in the second quarter behind guard Yosuke Sugawara and Anthony McHenry. Sugawara found the mark from the three-point line while McHenry pushed the playmaking while firing off jump shots that clicked. By the half it was 47-26, and the Golden Kings rolled from there. The Five Arrows did cause a momentary stir with three three-pointers in less than two minutes to close the gap, but Okinawa didn’t let up, leaving the final 85-69.

Takamatsu came out hard and fast Sunday afternoon moving quickly to a first quarter lead over the Golden Kings. Sugawara came to the rescue again, popping a couple three-point plays that turned the tide by the half. Tsubasa Yonamine weighed in during the third stanza, then backing Sugawara in the fourth as Okinawa moved well into the lead. The Golden Kings won it, 87-74 to stretch its record to 26-14. Takamatsu drops to 11-27. Okinawa’s head coach, Dai Oketani said “we won, but I’m not satisfied. There were too many plays with mental parts.” He added that he “wants to be able to have stable power” because he wants to be ready for the playoffs.

In other league action, the Kyoto Hannaryz celebrated its biggest win of the season Saturday as it upended the Eastern Conference leader, the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, 74-69 in front of the home crowd. The win was only the fifth road loss in 19 games for the Phoenix. Adding to the excitement for the Hannaryz was celebrating its top player, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, on his 41st birthday.

The hapless Tokyo Apache, holding a lowly 12-14 record on the year, won a game against the Rizing Fukuoka, 90-81 Thursday, only to fall 81-65 on Friday. Michael Parker posted his 25th double-double of the year as he lead Rizing Fukuoka to victory, a game-high 27 points coupled with 13 rebounds a four steals. The win moves Fukuoka to 23-15, second best in the Western Conference behind Okinawa.

The Saitama Broncos fell twice as the Oita HeatDevils swept a pair of wins on the road, 72-70 Saturday and 99-92 on Sunday. The HeatDevils were coming off a two-game losing streak of their own. The HeatDevils are now 18-22 against the Broncos 13-23 record, as the two teams battle for the fourth and final playoff positions in their respective conferences. The HeatDevils are just behind the Shiga Lakestars in the Western Conference, while Saitama has one less win than the Toyama Grouses in the Eastern Conference.

The Sendai 89ers beat the Niigata Albirex BB Saturday, 68-57. Sendai’s now 23-12 as they’ve won eight consecutive games. The Toyama Grouses scored an 84-73 home win over the Shiga Lakestars over the weekend, ending Shiga’s four-game win streak.

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