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Golden Kings open season with a home stand split

Date Posted: 2010-10-20

The Ryukyu Golden Kings launched the 2010-2011 Basketball Japan League season going against the Takamatsu Five Arrows, emerging victorious in the opener but falling short in overtime in the second match.

Okinawa rolled to a deceptively easy 82-68 victory Saturday at Naha Citizens’ Gymnasium, as team newcomers Naoto Kosuge, Abdullahi Kuso and Carlos Dixon provided power and balance. “We were not able to accomplish (the win) the way we should have done as a team,” said head coach Dai Oketani of the season opener. “There were too many turnovers, but Naoto Kosuge was good.”

Oketani said “I cannot recapture the league championship unless we are serious, and wrestle more strictly toward tomorrow.” His words weren’t quite enough as the Golden Kings took the Five Arrows to overtime Sunday afternoon before succumbing 87-85. Takamatsu had five players in double figures Sunday, with team leader Rasheed Sparks—who had joined the squad after a season with the Tokyo Apache—tallying 12 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. It was Sparks’ spark that allowed the Five Arrows to rebound from a 14-point Saturday loss to even the young season at 1-1.

Anthony McHenry began his third season with the Golden Kings by tallying a game-high 27 points. Jeff Newton added 18 points and 15 rebounds, while newcomer Abdullahi Kuso scored 15 while hauling in 19 rebounds. Former Niigata Albirex BB guard Naoto Kosuge, who joined Okinawa only weeks ago, picked up 14 points Sunday after garnering 16 a day earlier.

Okinawa hits the road for this weekend’s contests against the Kyoto Hannaryz. Those Saturday and Sunday matches take place in the Kyoto City Gym.

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