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The Basketball Games

By: Kotoko Chinen

Date Posted: 1999-05-08

The practice basketball game between Kadena Middle School and Uema Elementary School in Naha was taken place at the Boys & Girls Club Youth Gym on Kadena Air Base on May 1st. Approximately 40 current and former club members of the Mini Basketball Club from Uema Elementary School were invited to exchange friendship through their mutual interest: basketball.

On Saturday afternoon, Japanese Mini-Basketball team and their ex-teammates, who graduated the school last March and are attending Junior High School, arrived excitedly to the gym being escorted by the coach and their parents. The staffs and coordinators from Kadena High School were waiting for them in front of the gym and welcomed them as they arrived. Kadena Middle School and Uema Elementary School have had the cultural exchange last year and that led this friendship basketball game to be held. For both of the school, this was the second meeting and the first sport encounter.

Inside the gym, there were supporters for both team and in a relatively composed atmosphere, the whistle for the first game blew. The Kadena home team, which consists of 5 girl members, and the Uema guest team, with 5 boys of the former members started running the court. After a few backs-and-forths, the guest team shot the first score. As each team scored, the cheering and the clapping were occurred among the audiences and the game gained its excitement as the clock board showed the time that left. Although there were the differences between the two teams such as the ages and sex of the players, they played even. Saving the honor of being the champion of the Naha and Urasoe district Mini-basketball Tournament five times in a row and the best 8 team throughout Okinawa, Uema Guest Team won the first game with 14-13.

"I thought it would be a bit harder for my team to win today because we usually play the Mini-basketball, which apply the different rules, uses the smaller balls and the lower hoop. But, they're doing fine and seem to be very relaxed playing with the American students " Tuyako Oshiro, the coach of the team said.

In the second game, the girls from Uema Elementary School switched to the boys. At the first half, the Kadena Middle School narrowed the gap of the points and caught up the Uema team. There was a scene that Kadena players gave hands to help getting up the Uema player, who fell on the floor in failure catching the ball, from the both sides. By 9 points, the Kadena team won the second period.

While Allison Melfow, the captain of Kadena Middle School, gave her thought of the game that "I thought it's gonna be easier to follow (the Uema team), but it was kind of hard", Ryuuji Takara, the captain of the Mini-basketball Club of Uema Elementary School, reflected the game that " The opponents were taller than we are. Many rebounds (that I attempted to take) were taken (by the players of Kadena team)."

"It was good opportunity for both team to exchange friendship through sports " Dave Rasserrell, the coach of kadena Middle School basketball team, said.

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