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Shiga pounds Hiroshima to complete series sweep

by

Staff Writer

The Shiga Lakestars hammered the Hiroshima Lightning for the second straight day on Thursday, winning an afternoon matinee 98-56.

The Lakestars (22-10) led 30-14 after the opening period in Shunan, Yamaguchi Prefecture, and extended their advantage to 27 points by halftime.

Shiga out-rebounded the hosts, who didn’t use a single foreign player, 77-42. No Lakestar player saw more court time than backup shooting guard Shuto Mizoguchi, who logged 28 minutes, 19 seconds and scored a team-high 16 points. Mizoguchi was 4-for-19 from 3-point range.

Five of his teammates also scored in double figures: Jeff Parmer (15 points), Yuki Suzuki (14), Yusuke Inoue (13), Yu Okada (12) and Kazuya “J.” Hatano (11).

Hatano pulled down a team-best 17 rebounds.

Ayumu Osawa paced the Lightning with 19 points.

Hiroshima (1-29), which used only six players, suffered its 24th straight loss.

On Wednesday, Lightning coach Joe Navarro, who was initially dismissed by the club in late January, returned to the bench, after missing a few games at the helm, to witness his team’s 127-51 beatdown at the hands of Shiga.

The Hiroshima front office recently announced Navarro’s contract had been terminated, but then he came back.

This week, Lightning president/general manager Kenta Nakashima has not responded to email inquiries on the matter. Navarro declined to comment.

In the series opener, the Lakestars took an 85-35 lead into the fourth quarter. Coach Koto Toyama’s club converted 44 of 51 shots (86.3 percent) from inside the arc.

Shiga dominated on the boards (58-17 rebounding edge).

Mizoguchi was the Lakestars’ top scorer with 28 points, knocking down 5 of 9 3-pointers. He also shot 5-for-5 on 2s.

Inoue poured in 19 points, Parmer scored 18 on 9-for-10 shooting, Hatano added 15 with 10 boards. Suzuki chipped in with 14 points, while Julian Mavunga finished with 13 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

Osawa had a 17-point night.