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Season final home-match perfect for Golden Kings

Date Posted: 2012-04-25

A more perfect ending on their home-court games this season couldn’t have been choreographed for the Ryukyu Golden Kings, the top team in the Basketball Japan League: a sweep of the Chiba Jets in front of the home fans, a 20-6 home court record, a Western Conference title, and momentum heading into the May playoffs.

Okinawa’s Dillon Sneed and Jeff Newton each tallied 14 points as the Golden Kings downed the Jets 79-75, while Anthony McHenry and Naoto Kosuge each popped in 11 points. Newton hauled in 14 rebounds while teammate McHenry had 10, all part of the 65 boards grabbed. The Golden Kings finished the regular season with the league’s best record at 37-13.

Saturday, the Golden Kings opened the two-game series in Ginowan, hammering the Chiba Jets 114-75. The boisterous home fans, often bordering on fanatical, provided the noise that kept the Jets off guard.

One of the league’s expansion teams moved toward the end of the regular season on a power note, stretching its win streak to seven games. The Yokohama B-Corsairs downed the Sendai 89ers 63-54. Yokohama took the first game of the series 76-59. Now 29-21 on the year, the B-Corsairs take on the 25-25 89ers in their season finale this weekend.

The Takamatsu Five Arrows saw their season continue going down in flames, losing their 23rd consecutive game of the season to set the record at 2-48. The host Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix dealt the blows, 120-64 Saturday and 95-69 on Sunday. The only way the Five Arrows can avoid losing 50 games this season is to rally and surprise the Oita HeatDevils in their season-ending series. The HeatDevils were strong this past weekend, dumping the Saitama Broncos Sunday, 103-76, with a blistering 36 fourth-quarter scoring run. With that victory, and an 89-81 loss to the Broncos a day earlier, Oita heads into the final weekend with a 21-29 record.

The Kyoto Hannaryz pulled out a two-game series over the Osaka Evessa, the #2 team in the league’s Western Conference, winning 63-61 and 79-64 to improve its record to 33-17. The Evessa now has an identical 33-17 record.

Fukuoka Rizing ended its weekend on a winning note, edging the Shinshu Brave Warriors in a pair, 90-688 and 79-77. Fukuoka is now 32-18 with the playoffs only weeks away. The Toyama Grouses, meanwhile, split a series with the Miyazaki Shining Suns, who topped them 71-64 on Saturday. The Grouses roared back Sunday with a 90-63 victory.

The Niigata Albirex BB started its weekend with an 84-71 loss to the Shiga Lakestars. A day later, the Lakestars were on the short end of a 91-83 score in front of its home crowd of 4,077. Niigata is now 27-23, while the Lakestars stand at 33-17. The Iwate Big Bulls were pleased with their weekend, upending the Akita Northern Happinets 94-84 in the first game of their series, then capping the season with an 84-79 win to close the season out of contention for a playoff spot at 17-33. The Happinets still have a role to play with a 28-24 record.

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