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Golden Kings close gap with pair of home wins

Date Posted: 2010-04-29

The Ryukyu Golden Kings tallied a pair of home court victories against the Takamatsu Five Arrows, while Western Conference leading Osaka Evessa split its two-game set to narrow the margin between the two squads with only two weeks left in the regular Basketball Japan League schedule.

The Golden Kings cruised to a 95-62 win on Saturday, then kept the pressure on Sunday to win 87-80. The Golden Kings are now 30-19, with two games left on the docket May 8th and 9th. Kevin Steenberge and George Leach each tallied 16 points Saturday, with Jeff Newton close behind with 14. Anthony McHenry scored nine, but was strong with 11 rebounds and nine assists during 28 action-packed minutes of play.

Head coach Dai Oketani, formerly of the Oita HeatDevils, called the strong weekend action “the first we were able to win by close battle”. Oketani’s Golden Kings take on the HeatDevils in the regular season finale.

Takematsu falls to 12-35 with the two losses. Head coach John Newman praised Okinawa, noting, “we were terrible in our defense,” but adding, “the players tried hard.

The Oita HeatDevils gave the Osaka Evessa a tough weekend, splitting the series with the Western Conference leaders. Osaka won Saturday, using the home court advantage for its 92-84 win with Lynn Washington picking up 31 points, 18 rebounds and four assists. It didn’t go Osaka’s way Sunday, with the Oita HeatDevils squeezing out a 91-88 win. Oita is now 24-24, while the Evessa are 30-18, one game ahead of Okinawa in the Western Conference standings.

The Shiga Lakestars, in only its second season in the league, chalked up a 10th win in 14 games with two wins over the Kyoto Hannaryz. The Lakestars, who moved to 28-22 with the 103-95 Saturday win and a follow-up 83-78 victory at home on Sunday, praised the play from Mikey Marshal, who joined the team in early March and scored a team-high 30 points Saturday and 20 points Sunday.

The Sendai 89ers made it an interesting weekend for the visiting Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, losing Saturday 76-69 to the Eastern Conference leaders, but bouncing back Sunday to win the game 86-83. The 89ers are now 33-15, only a handful of games behind the 38-10 Phoenix.

The Tokyo Apache beat up on the Niigata Albirex BB, who lost their third and fourth consecutive games. The 21-17 Apache took Saturday’s game 84-72, and then did it again 79-72 on Sunday. The Albirex are now 22-26.

The Saitama Broncos wound up a disappointing season on the home court last weekend, defeating the Toyama Grouses 91-89 in overtime Saturday and 74-67 Sunday. The Broncos are now 15-33, while Toyama stands at 16-32.

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