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Golden Kings split home series with Hannaryz

Date Posted: 2011-04-21

The Ryukyu Golden Kings showed playoff strengths and weaknesses in front of the home crowds last weekend, splitting a series with the Kyoto Hannaryz.

Playing in Okinawa City, the Golden Kings slipped past the Hannaryz 81-74 on Saturday behind the game-high 24 points scored by Anthony McHenry, who was pumped up playing on his 28th birthday. Okinawa coach Dai Oketani said his boys played well, but noted “there was a point we were helped by our opponent.” The Western Conference leaders wanted to nail things down before the tournaments get under way in a couple weeks.

Sunday thwarted that goal as the Hannaryz bounced back to take a 93-79 victory from the 32-16 Golden Kings. Nothing seemed to go right for Okinawa, including for Anthony McHenry, who only scored six points a day after firing a blistering 24 points. “Our energy wasn’t enough, and we were not aggressive,” lamented Oketani. “We need to go back to our original plan one more time, and understand the situation.” Kyoto coach Kazuhito Aono said his crew won Sunday “because of our players believing in each other, and unity of such ideas leads to play offs.”

The best overall team in the Basketball Japan League, and Eastern Conference leading Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix had to work hard for a pair of overtime victories, claiming a Saturday win with a three-pointer by Wayne Arnold with one second left in OT, 83-82. Sunday was virtually the same script, with the Phoenix staging a 111-105 win over the energetic Rizing Fukuoka to boost its record to 39-5. Fukuoka is right in the thick of playoff action with its 29-19 record.

Elsewhere, the Osaka Evessa snatched a pair from the Takamatsu Five Arrows to pull within a game of Okinawa as the season winds down to its final weekend. Osaka drubbed the Five Arrows, who have the league’s worst record at 10-36, having lost 74 games since 2009’s season. Osaka claimed a 94-72 win Saturday, followed up by an 86-69 win Sunday to stretch its record to 31-17.

The Akita Happinets rolled to a pair of wins over the Toyama Grouses, 75-69 and 74-61. Neither team is in playoffs contention, so it was mostly a bragging rights series for the two sub-20 victories squads. Meanwhile, the Shiga Lakestars picked up a sweep over the Miyazaki Shining Suns, 99-73 and 107-29. The Lakestars still have a shot at a playoffs berth with its 28-20 season record.

The expansion team Shimane Magic increased its season win percentage to above .500 with a pair of wins over the Oita Heat Devils. The Magic won 88-78 and 86-84 in a pair of contests that don’t influence league standings or playoffs. The Magic is now 24-248, while Oita is 16-32.

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