FUNABASHI, CHIBA PREF. – Rivalries grow in time, creating history, unique memories and storylines that extend beyond the current season.
The Chiba Jets-Yokohama B-Corsairs rivalry is all of two games, but already it’s an intense one, as evidenced by the bj-league expansion teams’ hard-nosed competition over the weekend at Funabashi Arena.
Yokohama, gritty, athletic and fast, bounced back from a series-opening loss and earned a series split, winning Sunday’s rematch 81-61 before a lively crowd of 1,579.
Chiba won Saturday’s opener 82-80 in overtime.
What’s more, assistant coaches on both teams — Chiba’s Geoffrey Katsuhisa and Yokohama’s Michael Katsuhisa — are brothers, adding a sibling rivalry to the mix, too.
Above all, though, both teams are trying to establish a winning tradition in their first seasons.
B-Corsairs coach Reggie Geary, whose club improved to 3-3, summed up his team’s play by saying, “Today, it’s been our most complete victory of the season. I thought this was our best 40 minutes as a ballclub.
“I thought last night was a valuable lesson for us from which to work from. I told the guys that I thought it was very important as a team to bounce back today, not only physically but mentally.”
Big man George Leach was Chiba’s top scorer with 16 points. Teammates Maurice Hargrow and Jamel Staten added 14 and 12 points, respectively.
The Jets had an off-game shooting-wise, as they made 18 of 59 shots from the field while facing tight defense from the B-Corsairs throughout the contest.
Six Yokohama players scored in double digits: Marcus Simmons (16), Justin Burrell (13), Pape Mour Faye and Satoshi Hisayama (12) and Chas McFarland and Kenji Yamada (10). Geary cited the bench contributions, particularly the offensive punch provided by rookie post player Faye and Hisayama, as an important aspect of the team’s development.
The B-Corsairs (3-3) have earned splits in each of their first three series, including against the Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix and Saitama Broncos over the previous two weekends.
As far as the rivalry, Geary said “it’s still something new. Obviously, we want to beat anybody. I don’t know that the bad blood has started quiet yet, besides coach Mike and his brother, it’s still a work in progress.”
The Jets fell to 3-1.
It was a tight game for most of the first three quarters. Hargrow canned a corner 3 to cut the Yokohama lead to 52-48 with a little less than 3 minutes to play in the third quarter, and Tomoya “Chomo” Nakamura’s spot-up jumper made it 52-50.
The B-Corsairs owned a 56-50 advantage entering the final stanza.
Faye’s basket pushed the lead to eight early in the fourth. By that point, both coaches’ suit jackets had come off as they watched the heated action from their respective benches. Moments later, Simmons nailed a jumper in the lane and ex-JBL2 player Hisayama swished a 3-pointer as part of a game-changing spurt, one that started late in the third quarter, that made it 65-52 with 6:40 left. It was the biggest margin of the game to date.
All told, Yokohama had a 16-2 run to increase its lead to 69-52. Hargrow’s three-point play ended the run. Yokohama controlled the tempo the rest of the way.
“We lost in hustle, we lost in intensity and we lost in overall effort,” Chiba coach Eric Gardow said after the game.
“We did not play well,” he added. “We didn’t shoot well, we didn’t rebound well and we turned the ball over (17 turnovers).”
Looking back on the game, Geary said the victory boosts his team’s confidence and reminds the players what they are capable of accomplishing. “I think we know when we put things together, we are a good team.”
Ignited by Hisayama’s nine second-quarter points on 3-for-3 shooing from 3-point range, the B-Corsairs led 40-34 at halftime. Hisayama sank both of his 3-point shots in the series opener.
Lead guard Simmons’ speed and athleticism also kept the Yokohama offense running smoothly in the opening half, with his nine points sharing the team lead with Hisayama at intermission. Simmons finished with six assists.
In addition, Simmons’ defense impressed Geary, who spoke at length about him after the game. Geary said he believes Simmons is the league’s best overall defender.
“The great pride that it takes in being a shut-down defender; we ask a lot of him, on most nights 40 minutes . . . and he just sacrifices everything, gives everything to the team,” the coach added.
Leach, an Indiana University product, had eight of his 12 first-half points in the second quarter to keep Chiba from falling into a deep hole. Leach made three of the Jets’ four second-quarter baskets. The rest of the team shot 1-for-11 in the period.
After the game, Jets forward Gaston Moliva noted that the B-Corsairs were the tone-setters throughout the rematch.
“You have to give credit to Yokohama,” said Moliva. “They came out and they played better than us. . . . They brought more effort.”
The Jets, on the other hand, tasted defeat for the first time in a regular-season game on Sunday. Gardow will work to build off the loss.
“I told the team, ‘Just like we had to learn how to win a game, we’ve got to learn what it’s like to lose a game,’ ” Gardow said. “We didn’t know what it’s like to lose . . . and I’m excited about it because we will learn more from a loss than we ever will from a win.”
Evessa 74, Golden Kings 65 (OT)
In Osaka, Lynn Washington scored 21 points and grabbed 16 rebounds, Cohey Aoki had an 18-point game, including 9-for-10 at the foul line, and Lawrence Blackledge blocked seven shots and added 10 points and 12 boards in the hosts’ overtime triumph over archrival Ryukyu.
Anthony McHenry paced the Golden Kings, who won the series opener, with 17 points. Big man Jeff Newton was held to six points but hauled in 18 rebounds. Narito Namizato scored a season-low seven points.
Ryukyu was 4-for-20 on 3s and 9-for-19 at the foul line.
Grouses 73, Hannaryz 69
In Kyoto, Haakim Johnson had a team-high 15 points, Devin Searcy scored 13 with 11 rebounds and Masashi Joho did a little bit of
everything (nine points, seven boards, five assists, two steals) as Toyama earned a series split.
For the Hannaryz, playing without former NBA center Lance Allred for the first time this season, Jermaine Boyette was the top scorer with 17 points and Rick Rickert had 13.
Lakestars 96, HeatDevils 92
In Hikone, Shiga Prefecture, Shinya Ogawa and Josh Peppers each scored 20 points and Dionisio Gomez and Yu Okada had 16 apiece as Shiga held off Oita and completed a series sweep.
The Lakestars made 19 of 22 free throws.
For the HeatDevils, Wendell White was the top scorer (25 points) and Matt Lottich poured in 21, while T.J. Cummings had 19.
Northern Happinets 76, Big Bulls 65
In Yurihonjo, Akita Prefecture, Michael Gardener’s 30-point performance led the hosts to their second win in as many days over Iwate, an expansion team.
Stanley Ocitti added 17 points and Kazuhiro Shoji scored 12 for Akita.
The Big Bulls fell to 0-4.
Rizing 88, Shining Suns 59
In Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, Kevin Palmer’s 24 points and Gary Hamilton’s 13 ignited Fukuoka’s offense in a one-sided win over the hosts.
Akitomo Takeno chipped in with 12 points for the new-look Rizing.
Darryl Dora led Miyazaki, a second-year team, with 14 points and three teamates scored 13.
Phoenix 84, 89ers 55
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Wayne Arnold put on a long-range shooting clinic, draining 7 of 11 3s and scoring 28 points in
Hamamatsu Higashimikawa’s bounce-back victory over Sendai.
Jermaine Dixon added 14 points and five assists for the Phoenix.
Johnny Dukes paced the 89ers with 15 points and O’Neal Mims scored 14.
Sendai, which entered the game with a 3-0 record, shot 7-for-18 at the charity stripe.
Sendai coach Bob Pierce said turnovers, poor shot selection and fatigue were key factors in the loss.
Brave Warriors 84, Broncos 79
In Chikuma, Nagano Prefecture, Derek Raivio scored 19 points and Edward Morris had 17 as Shinshu rebounded from a Saturday loss to
close the weekend on a high note.
For Saitama, John Flowers had a team-high 19 points and Kenny Satterfield and John Humphrey each had 18.
Susanoo Magic 101, Five Arrows 63
In Takamatsu, Shimane scoring ace Michael Parker’s 22-point afternoon and Tatsuhiro Yokoo’s 15 led the way as coach Zeljko Pavlicevic’s squad clobbered the winless hosts.
Jeral Davis (12 points, five blocks) and Edward Yamamoto (12 points, seven assists) also played prominent roles in the Magic’s victory.
Center Paul Butorac posted a double-double (20 points, 10 rebounds) in the loss. The Five Arrows missed 17 of 19 3-point shots.