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Ryukyu thrashes Hamamatsu in Game 1

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Ryukyu Golden Kings resembled a demolition crew on Saturday afternoon.

Their target? Every phase of the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix’s game plan.

The top-seeded Golden Kings recorded a 79-49 victory in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinal series in Okinawa City.

Ryukyu, which has won all seven meetings between the bj-league teams this season, led 28-15 after the opening quarter, 43-30 at halftime and 58-41 entering the final period.

Then the Golden Kings put their stamp on this comprehensive throttling, outscoring the Phoenix 21-8 in the fourth quarter. Leading the charge was Anthony McHenry, who finished with 16 points (including four dunks), 13 rebounds, seven assists and a steal. Draelon Burns chipped in with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals, and Ryuichi Kishimoto sank three 3-pointers in a 12-point effort.

Ryukyu’s Morihisa Yamauchi added nine points, going 3-for-3 from the field and 2-for-2 at the free-throw line. Kibwe Trim provided nine points and nine rebounds. Naoto Kosuge contributed eight points and two steals, and Narito Namizato had eight points and four assists.

Shigeyuki Kinjo was 0-for-5 from the field, but led the Kings with three steals, while Jeff Newton supplied two points, seven rebounds, two steals and a block.

Cyrus Tate led fourth-seeded Hamamatsu with 17 points. Jermaine Dixon had 13 on 5-for-22 shooting with six turnovers. Ray Nixon, who scored five points, was the visitors’ third-leading scorer.

The Phoenix shot 4-for-20 from 3-point range and 15-for-47 on 2-pointers.

Ryukyu out-rebounded Hamamatsu 53-38.

The Phoenix need to win Game 2 on Sunday afternoon to force a decisive mini-game tiebreaker later in the day.

Lakestars 87, Hannaryz 82

In Kyoto, Brandon Fields scored a season-high 32 points and Shelton Colwell had 21 as third-seeded Shiga edged the Hannaryz in Game 1.

Fields was 11-for-18 from the field and 8-for-10 at the foul line. Colwell, who was suspended for last weekend’s Game 2 against the Osaka Evessa due to a flagrant foul in the series opener, showed no rust against Kyoto, making 9 of 11 shots from the field.

Dionisio Gomez added 10 points and eight rebounds for the Lakestars, who are trying to advance to the Final Four for the first time in franchise history. Marshall Brown also scored 10 points and Jumpei Nakama had five.

Edwin Ubiles had a team-high 23 points with seven rebounds and four assists for second-seeded Kyoto. David Palmer scored 18 points, including 8-for-10 from inside the arc. Chris Holm added 11 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. Yu Okada also fouled out after a 10-point outing, which included 2-for-13 shooting from 3-point range.

The Hannaryz were 10-for-25 from the free-throw line.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Northern Happinets 80, Big Bulls 77

In Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, third-seeded Akita outplayed the hosts in the fourth quarter en route to a Game 1 victory in their conference semifinal series.

Iwate’s 12-game winning streak ended.

Richard Roby paced the Northern Happinets with a game-high 24 points along with seven rebounds and four steals. Yuki Togashi poured in 18 points, draining 4 of 5 3s and dishing out four assists. Ruben Boykin added 13 points and four assists for Akita, which trailed 63-60 after three quarters. Chas McFarland had 12 points, seven rebounds and a pair of steals.

Scootie Randall led the second-seeded Big Bulls with 20 points, including four 3-pointers. Lawrence Blackledge added 16 points and 11 rebounds, Gyno Pomare scored 13 points and Tsubasa Yonamine had 10 points and three assists. Kenichi Takahashi finished with nine points and three assists.

Akita converted 10 of 21 3-point shots.

Grouses 83, Albirex BB 69

In Toyama, the top-seeded Grouses jumped out to a 25-10 lead at the end of the opening quarter en route to a series-opening victory over Niigata.

Toyama, coming off a bye week, has won 12 consecutive games.

Tatsunori Fujie scored 16 points and Sam Willard had 16 points and 13 rebounds for the Grouses, who out-rebounded the visitors 55-31. Josh Gross had 14 points, regular-season MVP Masashi Joho contributed 13 points, five rebounds and five assists and Takeshi Mito had a 12-point, four-assist effort. Ira Brown supplied eight points, 11 rebounds, four assists, three blocks and two steals.

For the fifth-seeded Albirex, Patrick Sullivan finished with 27 points on 11-for-16 shooting. Nile Murry added 12 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Yuichi Ikeda scored 12 points. Thomas Kennedy, whose heroics last weekend lifted Niigata into the conference semifinals, was held to four points and shot 0-for-5 from the field.