Family ties lead Toyama past Gunma


Staff Writer

Bob and Bobby Nash, a father-son coaching tandem, have kept the Toyama Grouses in the hunt for the Eastern Conference title in the bj-league’s final season.

The Grouses recorded their eighth straight victory on Sunday, posting a 93-62 home triumph over the Gunma Crane Thunders.

Dominant rebounding sparked the Grouses, giving the Nashes something to be pleased about. Toyama (20-8) out-rebounded the hosts 51-29 in Ota, Gunma Prefecture.

Center Sam Willard, who is tied for No. 3 in the league in rebounding (13.1 per game), had 19 points and 15 boards for the Grouses. Duke Crews supplied a team-high 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Longtime Toyama star Masashi Joho finished with 21 points and five assists, while Takeshi Mito ended up with eight points.

The elder Nash, the fourth-year bench boss who is in his first season working alongside his son on the coaching staff, told reporters that aggressive play from end to end and strong defense were keys to victory for his team.

For the Crane Thunders (14-16), Thomas Kennedy scored 18 points and Michael St. John added 10 points.

Firebonds 108, Brave Warriors 102

In Sukagawa, Fukushima Prefecture, rookie forward Le’Bryan Nash, MVP of the All-Star Game on Jan. 24, displayed poise beyond his years in the series finale, leading the Firebonds to a bounce-back victory over Shinshu.

Nash had 43 points and sank 21 of 25 free throws. He made 11 of 22 shots from the field.

Masaya Karimata contributed 14 points and six assists and Stephan Van Treese and Shota Kanno both had 13 points for the Firebonds (17-11). Van Treese, a University of Louisville product, also contributed 14 rebounds and two blocks.

Xavier Gibson paced the Brave Warriors (11-19) with 35 points, 10 rebounds and seven blocks, Junki Kano scored a season-high 20 points on 8-for-9 shooting and Mike Bell had 18 points, 10 boards and six assists.

Samuraiz 72, Five Arrows 64

In Kanazawa, Andrew Fitzgerald and Gyno Pomare both recorded double-doubles to guide the hosts to their second win in as many days over Takamatsu.

Fitzgerald finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds and Pomare had 18 points and a season-best 20 boards for the Samuraiz (17-15).

For the Five Arrows (8-20), Anthony Kent scored 19 points, Jarvis Williams added 13 points and 10 boards and Nino Johnson put 10 points on the boards and topped the team chart with 12 rebounds.

HeatDevils 88, Golden Kings 81

In Okinawa City, the visitors controlled the fourth quarter to earn a series split.

Oita Ehime (8-20) outscored Ryukyu 27-12 in the final stanza.

Chehales Tapscott paced the HeatDevils with 23 points and 16 rebounds and Patrick Simon had 16 points and 14 rebounds. Takato Hara matched Simon’s scoring total.

For the Golden Kings (22-8), Shuhei Kitagawa scored 23 points, Draelon Burns finished with 17 and Anthony McHenry had 14.

Lakestars 88, Bambitious 75

In Nara, Wayne Arnold scored 21 points and Yu Okada poured in 20 to lead Shiga to its third straight victory.

Julian Mavunga chipped in with 19 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists for the Lakestars (19-9).

Charles Hinkle had 17 points for Nara (11-19) and Tatsuya Suzuki scored 15 with 11 assists. Josh Ritchart had 12 points and nine boards and Julius Ashby contributed 10 points.

Evessa 108, Lightning 55

In Moriguchi, Osaka Prefecture, the hosts jumped out to a 17-point advantage after one quarter and cruised to a one-sided win over Hiroshima.

For Osaka (20-10), six players scored in double figures: Takuya Soma (19 points), Naoki Hashimoto (18), Michael Singletary (17), Olu Ashaolu (15) and Lawrence Blackledge and Ryo Kubota (12 apiece). Narito Namizato dished out 10 assists.

Yuji Funayama led the Lightning (1-25) with 13 points.

Susanoo Magic 63, Hannaryz 60

In Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, Shimane bounced back from a Saturday loss to salvage a series split with Western Conference-leading Kyoto.

Both games were decided by three points.

Scootie Randall had a team-high 24 points for the Susanoo Magic (21-9), while Josh Davis chipped in with 13 points, nine boards and five steals. Tatsuhiko Yokoo had 10 points and Wayne Marshall made an impact with nine rebounds and four blocks.

For the Hannaryz (22-6), Moses Ehambe had 17 points and Kevin Kotzur added 11 points and 17 boards.

Northern Happinets 79, Cinq Reves 64

In Akita, coach Makoto Hasegawa’s club handed Tokyo its 21st straight loss in the series finale.

The Northern Happinets (19-9) led 34-33 at halftime, then outscored the visitors 30-6 in the third quarter to seize control of the game.

Shigehiro Taguchi paced Akita with 22 points and Richard Roby had 14. Scott Morrison contributed 13 points, eight boards, five steals, four assists and three blocks. Yuto Otsuka had 10 points.

John Florveus scored 18 points and grabbed 18 rebounds for the Cinq Reves (1-27).

Albirex BB 86, 89ers 77

In Niigata, newcomer Reggie Hamilton had 23 points and eight assists and Ryan Reid notched a double-double (22 points, 14 rebounds) as the hosts avenged Saturday’s loss to Eastern Conference rival Sendai.

Kimitake Sato added 15 points, Faye Pape Mour provided 13 points and 11 rebounds and Shuhei Komatsu also poured in 13 points for Niigata (18-12)

Despite their poor free-throw shooting, (21-for-36) the Albirex found a way to win.

Wendell White scored 23 points and snatched nine rebounds for the 89ers (22-8) and Jamal Boykin had 21 points and 12 boards. Takehiko Shimura supplied 11 points and 14 assists with one turnover.

B-Corsairs 80, Broncos 60

In Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture, Yokohama exploited the Broncos’ Achilles’ heel — poor rebounding — en route to a runaway victory.

The B-Corsairs (16-14) hauled in 62 rebounds and held the hosts to 40.

The dynamic one-two punch of Jordan Henriquez-Roberts (23 points, 18 rebounds) and Carl Hall (16 points, 20 boards) excelled at both ends of the court for Yokohama, and Masayuki Kabaya added 17 points and five assists. Kenji Yamada handed out seven assists.

Wat’s 73, Big Bulls 62

In Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture, Jesse Perry and Yuki Kitamuki scored 21 points apiece and the Wat’s quickly put Saturday’s loss behind them.

Nile Murry added 17 points, six assists and three steals for Aomori (13-17).

Patrick Sanders finished with 13 points. He was the lone double-digit scorer for Iwate (13-15).

Phoenix 86, Rizing 57

In Hamamatsu, Reggie Warren’s all-around excellence (20 points, 25 rebounds, six assists) ignited the defending champions in a bounce-back triumph over Fukuoka.

Kejuan Johnson added 19 points and six assists for Hamamatsu (20-8) and Masahiro Oguchi, Shingo Okada and Tasuku Namizato all had seven points.

The Rizing (12-18) were held to seven fourth-quarter points.

Fukuoka’s Cohey Aoki finished with 20 points and Josh Peppers provided 17 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.