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Burns energizes triumphant B-Corsairs in return

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

All-Star guard Draelon Burns played a game for the first time in nearly a month, and made an impressive all-around impact.

Burns had 18 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists, a season-high five steals and a blocked shot in the B-Corsairs’ 81-67 victory over the visiting Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix on Tuesday evening at Yokohama International Swimming Pool.

The DePaul University product had been sidelined since a Feb. 23 game against the Iwate Big Bulls due to a leg injury. The B-Corsairs went 2-3 in Burns’ absence over the past five games.

Burns came off the bench and saw 28 minutes of court time. He shot 5-for-21 from the floor, including 1-for-10 on 3-pointers, and 7-for-11 at the free-throw line. In essence, he dictated the tempo of the game.

Yokohama (27-12) led 46-43 at halftime.

“We worked hard for a really good quality team win tonight,” B-Corsairs coach Reggie Geary told The Japan Times after the game. “The guys played with good energy and spirit throughout the entire game, and looked like they enjoyed having Draelon back on the floor. Though Draelon didn’t shoot particularly well, his playmaking and presence were huge.”

Geary noted that the Phoenix’s 24 second-half points was a key factor in the game.

“Defensively, we were very focused … which was the difference,” added Geary, who’s in his second year with Yokohama.

Thomas Kennedy scored a team-high 21 points for Yokohama, Pape Faye Mour added 15 points and 11 rebounds, Masayuki Kabaya pumped in 10 points and Shawn Malloy had six points and nine rebounds, while Seiji Kouno had five points.

The B-Corsairs out-rebounded the Phoenix 61-37, including 27-12 on the offensive glass.

Jeffrey Parmer was the high scorer for Hamamatsu (24-17) with 15 points, former Tokyo Apache forward Shoji Nakanishi sank three 3s in a 13-point effort, Elbert Fuqua had 11 points and Shinnosuke Oishi scored nine.

Yokohama held the Phoenix to 24-for-64 shooting from the field.

New job: Former Toyama Grouses sideline supervisor Kohei Eto has been named the bench boss of the WJBL’s Niigata Albirex BB Rabbits, it was announced on Tuesday. Current head coach Junichi Ara, who is 61 years old, is retiring.

A Rabbits assistant this season, Eto received a one-year deal to be the new coach. He guided the Grouses during the 2010-11 season, but was fired after 26 games, when the team had an 8-18 record.