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Golden Kings heading to BJL Final Four

Date Posted: 2012-05-18

It wasn’t really a surprise to Okinawa’s basketball fans, but they were pleased nonetheless to watch the Ryukyu Golden Kings put away the Shiga Lakestars in Basketball Japan League semi-finals action and win a berth in the Final Four.

The Golden Kings had little difficulty with the Lakestars, putting on pretty good shows of both offensive glitter and defensive stopping power in Ginowan, closing out the two-game series with a 74-66 win. Anthony McHenry led the squad with 13 points, 12 rebounds and two steals, while Jeff Newton picked up ten points and seven rebounds. For Newton, the trip to Tokyo and the Final Four will be his seventh appearance.

Also scoring Sunday for Okinawa, Dillion Sneed, Naoto Kosuge and Narito Namizato each tallied nine points. Namizato also hauled down six rebounds while providing six assists and three steals for the Golden Kings.

Okinawa moves on to face the Kyoto Hannaryz in Saturday contest at Tokyo’s Ariake Colosseum. The West final will start at 6:10 p.m., and will be televised by BS-Fuji.

The Hannaryz worked their way into the finals by besting the highly favored Osaka Evessa in a mini-game tiebreaker Sunday. Kyoto won the first of the scheduled two-game set, only to lose the second to Osaka 76-68. Kyoto was strong in the tiebreaker, outscoring the Evessa 15-12 and controlling the boards with a tough defense. For Osaka, it was the first time in the franchise’s seven-year history it did not make it to the final four.

The two-time Basketball Japan League defending champion Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix, as expected, won their semi-final series against the Niigata Albirex BB, although they were forced to a tiebreaker to do it. The Albirex BB won the first match-up, leading the Phoenix to bounce back 97-85 Sunday afternoon to force the must-win tiebreaker. They did, hammering Niigata 30-19 to advance.

The Phoenix now face the Yokohama B-Corsairs in the East Finals in Tokyo’s Ariake Colosseum. That game begins at 2:10 p.m. Saturday. The championship match with the winner of the Phoenix ~ B-Corsairs game and the winner of the Ryukyu Golden Kings ~ Kyoto Hannaryz game will take place Sunday afternoon at 5:10 p.m., following the consolidation 3rd & 4th place game that begins at 1:10 p.m.

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