Apache hold off Broncos in opener

The Japan Times

The Tokyo Apache made clutch baskets down the stretch en route to an 88-82 win over the Saitama Broncos on Wednesday night at Yoyogi National Gymnasium No. 2.

The bj-league teams meet again on Thursday night.

Tokyo had built an eight-point lead late in the final quarter, but it was trimmed to two in the final minute. The hosts, however, didn’t panic.

Cohey Aoki’s hoop pushed the lead back to four with 21 seconds left. Six seconds later, Rasheed Sparks’ two free throws accounted for the game’s final points.

Julius Ashby paced the Apache (13-24) with 21 points and 11 rebounds, Aoki scored 20 and dished out six assists and Sparks scored 19 and had four assists. Michael Chappell had 16 points and 10 boards.

With the win, Tokyo, under first-year head coach Motofumi Aoki, improved to 4-13 at home.

Mario Jointer led the Broncos (13-24) with 24 points and Kazuya Hatano had season-high totals in points (18) and rebounds (nine).