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Golden Kings savor season finale wins

Date Posted: 2012-05-02

The Golden Kings are basking in the glow of not only the Okinawa sunshine, but in the radiance of thumping the Toyama Grouses twice in the final regular Basketball Japan League season games, propelling them to a 39-13 best-in-the-league record.

Being on the road made no difference to the Okinawa squad, as the temperature in Takaoka, Toyama Prefecture, was perfect for Dillion Sneed, who racked up 22 points en route to a Golden Kings 85-64 win on Saturday, then added 14 more on Sunday as Okinawa won 75-63.

David Palmer had 13, plus 10 rebounds on Saturday, while teammates Naoto Kosuge scored 12 and Tsubasa Yonamine Had six assists. Sunday was more of the same as Kosuge and David Palmer each tallied 14 points, with Palmer dumping in three-of-four 3-point shots. Center Jeff Newton added 16 points of his own, plus hauling down 13 boards and blocking a couple shots, as Okinawa closed the chapter of winning a second straight Western Conference title.

The Kyoto Hannaryz and the Fukuoka Rizing, both teams playoffs-bound, split their final series, with the Hannaryz drawing blood first with an 82-67 road win. A day later, the Rizing turned the tables with a 77-70 score. The Hannaryz, 34-18, are tied with Osaka for the second best record in the Western Conference. Fukuoka is 33-19. The Albirex BB and the Saitama Broncos did the same, splitting their final weekend. The lowly Broncos, who will miss the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season, won 75-74 on Saturday, but took a 95-54 whipping on Sunday at the hands of the 28-24 Albirex BB.

The Osaka Evessa made it two in a row on the final weekend, outdistancing the Shiga Lakestars 89-84 and 92-79. Both teams are still headed to the playoffs beginning this weekend. The Yokohama B-Corsairs picked up a pair of wins of their own, slipping past the Sendai 89ers 62-61 on Saturday and 63-58 on Sunday. The victories gave Yokohama a 31-21 record heading into the weekend’s playoffs.

The Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix jacked their record to 37-15 with a last weekend set of wins over the Shinshu Brave Warriors, 90-87 and 90-72. The 37-15 Eastern Conference champions sit out the first round of the playoffs with a bye. The Oita HeatDevils were the final team of the year to beat up on the hapless Takamatsu Five Arrows, although the lowly 2-50 Five Arrows did offer up a scare in Oita’s 83-82 Saturday win. It was a fluke, though, as the HeatDevils brought normalcy back to the hardwood Sunday with a 106-52 win over Takamatsu.

The Susanoo Magic worked some magic of their own in Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, winning over the Miyazaki Shining Suns 97-75 and 81-54 on the final weekend. The 28-24 Shimane squad came close to a playoffs spot, but fell just short. The Iwate Big Bulls at least picked up bragging rights with a pair of victories over the Chiba Jets in the final weekend, 82-77 and 97-82. Neither team qualified for the playoffs.

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