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Togashi shines in Northern Happinets debut

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Yuki Togashi won’t technically be an adult for almost six more months, at least that’s true according to Japanese custom.

In his bj-leauge debut, the Akita Northern Happinets rookie point guard played well beyond his years in a 88-78 victory over the host Toyama Grouses on Saturday night.

The 167-cm Togashi, who turns 20 on July 30, scored 15 points and dished out 11 assists and collected three steals. The talented youngster shared the spotlight with teammate Marshall Brown, who poured in a agme-best 38 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Northern Happinets (16-11).

Dion Harris had 14 points and Anthony Kent scored 11 for Akita, while Shigehiro Taguchi added eight.

Jeremy Jacob paced Toyama (18-11) with 20 points and Angel Garcia and Mitsuhiro Kamezaki each had 15 and Masashi Joho 14.

Brave Warriors 85, Crane Thunders 74

In Saku, Nagano Prefecture, Shinshu snapped an eight-game losing streak as five players scored in double figures against Gunma.Edward Morris and Jermaine Green led the Brave Warriors (14-15) with 18 and 17 points, respectively.

Jermaine Dixon had a team-high 19 points for the Crane Thunders (5-24). “Winning today’s game means nothing, if we can’t do so tomorrow,” Morris wrote on Facebook. “But to say the least, I’m finally happy again.”

Golden Kings 78, Evessa 65

In Okinawa, Naoto Kosuge had a game-high 19 points and canned four big 3-pointers as the defending champions snapped a three-game losing streak, handing Bill Cartwright his first loss with Osaka.

Anthony McHenry finished with 16 points, Narito Namizato had 10 points and 11 assists and the Golden Kings (21-6) showed toughness and focus throughout the game against the Evessa.

Mike Bell (15 points, 17 rebounds) and Rick Rickert (12 points, 15 boards) both notched double-doubles for Osaka (7-20).

The Evessa shot 34.5 percent (19-for-55) on 2-pointers and an inadequate 6-for-18 on 3s. They trailed 46-35 at halftime and 58-50 entering the fourth quarter.

“They were good offensively and defensively,” Cartwright said of Ryukyu after the game, “and especially on defense they really put pressure on us.

“They really put pressure on us in the first half, and I think we could adjust in the third quarter.”

Osaka, which swept Miyazaki in Cartwright’s first series at the helm last weekend, outscored the hosts 15-12 in the third.

“We would like to fight back tomorrow with much tougher mental (focus),” added Cartwright, who said the Golden Kings did a strong job making it tough for Bell and Rickert, who were a combined 10-for-26 on 2-point shots, to score points in the series opener.

“But they will adjust tomorrow,” the former Chicago Bulls coach said of his frontcourt stars. “We will prepare for tomorrow’s game, especially on defense…”

89ers 75, Big Bulls 69

In Takizawa, Iwate Prefecture, T.J. Cummings, the league’s leading scorer, poured in 28 points and grabbed 15 rebounds as Sendai edged the hosts.

“Always a tough battle with Iwate,” 89ers coach Bob Pierce said. “We had some big performances, like T.J.’s 28 points and Sam Willard’s 20 rebounds. But the unsung defense from guys like Daisuke (Takaoka) and Takuya (Komoda) was just as important.”

The 89ers (11-16) held Iwate to less than 20 points in each of the first three quarters.

The Big Bulls (20-9) trailed 52-42 entering the final quarter before putting 27 points on the board to account for their final score.

Maurice Hargrow had 15 points in his second game for Sendai. Willard added 10 points to go along with his monster rebounding total and swatted two shots. Captain Takehiko Shimura had nine points, four assists and four steals for the 89ers.

Reggie Okosa led Iwate with 23 points and 19 rebounds. Lawrence Blackledge had 16 points, Carlos Dixon scored 13 and Kenichi Takahashi finished with 12 against his former club.

The Big Bulls shot 5-for-29 from beyond the arc

Rizing 99, Cinq Reves 71

In Tokyo, macho forward Reggie Warren’s 19-point, 20-rebound outing steered Fukuoka past the hosts.

Justin Johnson chipped in with 18 points, Josh Peppers scored 17 and Julius Ashby had 13 points and three blocks for the Rizing (18-11).

Jonathan Jones paced Tokyo (11-18) with 17 points and Cohey Aoki had 16. Chris Suzuki scored 11 for the Cinq Reves, who were 2-for-13 on 3s.

Susanoo Magic 89, Hannaryz 78

In Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, Michael Parker’s all-around feisty play lifted Shimane past its Western Conference rival in the series opener.

Parker, the All-Star Game MVP on Jan. 20, had 20 points, nine rebounds, five blocks and three steals in 40 action-packed minutes as the Susanoo Magic (19-11) took over sole possession of second place in the West. Big man Jeral Davis added 17 points and four blocks for Shimane, while Koki Yabuuchi scored 16 points and registered six assists. Brandon Freeman scored 12 points.

Shimane sank 20 of 21 free throws in the win.

David Palmer paced Kyoto (15-14) with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Marcus Cousin had 15 points and seven boards. Yu Okada scored 14 points and shot 3-for-10 on 3s.

B-Corsairs 101, Broncos 85

In Hiratsuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, Thomas Kennedy scored 30 points, including 7-for-7 shooting from inside the arc, Draelon Burns sank five 3s and scored 23 points and Yokohama routed Saitama.

Captain Masayuki Kabaya, the other member of the B-Corsairs’ Big Three, dropped 19 points on the Broncos, who fell to a league-worst 3-24 under first-year coach Tracy Williams.

Yuki Kitamuki was Saitama’s top scorer with 20 points.

Yokohama improved to 21-8.

Lakestars 83, HeatDevils 57

In Kitsuki, Oita Prefecture, Dionisio Gomez had 25 points on 9-for-11 shooting and Ray Nixon scored 20 as Shiga hammered the hosts.

The Lakestars improved to 18-11; the HeatDevils fell to 10-19.

Verdell Jones III paced Oita with 18 points.

Shiga led 42-24 at the half.

Jets 85, Shining Suns 68

In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Marquin Chandler, the league’s January MVP, scored 24 points, hauled in 10 rebounds and made four steals as Chiba clobbered the hosts.

Joe Werner added 21 points and nine boards and D’Andre Bell had 15 points for the Jets (15-12). Floor leader Kensuke Tanaka chipped in with eight points and seven assists.

Yuto Otsuka scored 20 points, knocking down 5 of 10 3s, for Miyazaki (4-25).

Five Arrows 81, Phoenix 80 (OT)

(Editor’s note: Look for more details on the OT win for Takamatsu in Monday’s online report.)