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Golden Kings apply pressure on the road

Date Posted: 2012-02-29

The Ryukyu Golden Kings continue playing like a championship team, sporting the Basketball Japan League’s best record as they traveled to Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture to execute a pair of wins over the Iwate Big Bulls.

With four-time title winner Jeff Newton and league all-star Narito Namizato leading the charge, Okinawa edged the Big Bulls 84-82 on Saturday, and 79-69 on Sunday to improve the road record to 16-4, while extending their league lead over the Osaka Evessa. Okinawa, which was league champion runner up last season, is now 29-7 compared with Osaka’s 24-10 record.

Jeff Newton sank a pair of free throws Saturday with only two ticks left on the clock to win the game for Okinawa, while picking up 21 points. Sunday was equally productive for the American, scoring 18 points and pulling down nine rebounds. Teammate Narito Namizato, one of the youngest players in the league, led the charge for the Golden Kings Sunday, tallying 21 points while garnering a game-high four steals. For Namizato, it was double excitement, winning for Okinawa while beating his brother Tasuku, who plays for the host Iwate Big Bulls.

The Golden Kings return to the warmer climate of Okinawa for a weekend series against the Shimane Susanoo Magic, with plans to honor its feminine boosters with a Lady’s Weekend. The Ryukyu Golden Kings will offer special price tickets for all adult ladies attending, with 2nd floor open seating tickets ¥1,000, only half the regular price. A team spokesman says because March 3rd is the Hina Matsuri, which is very special for ladies, the team will offer the special tickets to all ladies over high school age, plus have special beauty and health gifts to all lady visitors.

Saturday’s game time is 7 p.m. at the Ginowan City Gym, with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Sunday’s game starts at 1 p.m., with doors opening at 11:30 a.m.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, it was another dreary weekend for the worst team in Basketball Japan League history, as the Takamatsu Five Arrows went down at the hands of the Sendai 89ers 86-78 and 72-54. The Five Arrows, who are now 2-32 on the year, only dressed seven players for their visit.

The first-year Yokohama B-Corsairs split their weekend at home, falling to the Miyazaki Shining Suns 78-66 pm Saturday as the visitors made 12 of 25 3-point plays. It was all Yokohama Sunday though, as Masayuki Kagbaya fired in 14 en route to an 81-64 win. The Shining Suns slipped to 16-20 with the loss, remaining in the seventh place position in the Western Conference headed by the Ryukyu Golden Kings.

The Osaka Evessa, trying to challenge league and conference-leading Okinawa, couldn’t get out of the starting blocks over the weekend, losing a pair to the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa in Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture. Jermaine Dixon had a game high 25 points Saturday for the Phoenix, who won 92-77, and he did it again Sunday, scoring another 25 points while performing eight assists and four steals while upending the Evessa 89-81. Osaka’s now 24-10, while the sweep keeps the Phoenix atop the Eastern Conference with a 24-12 record.

The Susanoo Magic roared past the Oita HeatDevils 98-81 Saturday, but could not maintain the momentum as the HeatDevils bounced back for a Sunday 80-73 win. The Shimane Susanoo Magic are now 20-16, in sixth place in the Western Conference. The HeatDevils, with a 12-24 record, are not in contention for the conference title.

In Ise, Mie Prefecture, the Kyoto Hannaryz were red hot in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Saitama Broncos 24-5, to pull off an 81-67 win. The Broncos evened the score Sunday though, pulling off a 77-68 win. The Akita Northern Happinets split a weekend series with the Niigata Albirex BB, winning Saturday 64-58, only to fall 91-81 an afternoon later. Akita is now 22-14, while Niigata slips to 19-17.

The Toyama Grouses scored a weekend series sweep in Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, as Brian Harper scored 24 on Saturday and four-time all-star Masashi Joho dumped in five three-pointers for 20 points as the Grouses improved to 19-15. Saturday’s win was 77-65, while the Shinshu Brave Warriors, a first-year expansion team, fell to 13-23. The Shiga Lakestars found themselves in an easy contest against the Chiba Jets Saturday, winning 96-78 in Moriyama, Shiga Prefecture. Sunday was much tougher, with the first-year Jets forcing the game to overtime, then taking a 101-100 win from the veteran Shiga squad. Shiga is now sporting a 21-14 record.

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