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Pesky Lakestars edge Apache in overtime

by Ed Odeven

The Shiga Lakestars had plenty of offensive firepower in the opening minutes of Friday’s game against the Tokyo Apache. But they had plenty of scoring punch in overtime, too.

Bobby Nash initiated a decisive 8-0 run in the bonus period to help the bj-league expansion team salvage a series split and beat the Apache 85-77 at Komazawa Gymnasium.

Shiga (14-24) outscored Tokyo 15-7 in overtime in the bj-league’s lone game of the night. Forward Ryan Rourke, a Cornell University product, was the top scorer for the Lakestars (22 points). Center Ray Schafer contributed 16 points and pulled down nine boards, while Brayden Billbe had a double-double (11 points, 12 boards).

Nash, who played collegiate ball at the University of Hawaii, finished with 15 points and steady point guard Takamichi Fujiwara had a 12-point, six-assist performance.

For the Apache (24-14), Julius Ashby scored a game-high 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while frontcourt mate Nick Davis had 10 points and 15 boards and Dameion Baker added seven points and nine boards. John “Helicopter” Humphrey added 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for Tokyo, and Cohey Aoki had 12 points and four assists.

Shiga led 58-50 after three quarters. Tokyo cut the lead to 64-60 on an Aoki 3-pointer with 6:01 remaining in the game. Moments later, rookie guard Kosaku Yada’s basket brought the hosts within 66-64.

Tokyo took a 68-67 lead, its first of the game, on Humphrey’s layup with 54 seconds to play. Shiga’s Yosuke Machida followed with a 3-pointer from the left wing to give his team a two-point advantage.

Humphrey tied it at 70-70 on a pair of free throws with 29 seconds left in the fourth.

Neither team scored down the stretch and the game headed into overtime.

In the first quarter, the Lakestars jumped out to a 16-5 lead and held a 31-15 edge at the end of the period.