Basketball / BJ-League

Akita improves to 4-0 by sweeping Aomori

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Akita Northern Happinets are off to a 4-0 start this season, completing their second straight series sweep on Sunday by routing the expansion Aomori Wat’s 74-51.

Shigehiro Taguchi canned four 3-pointers in a 17-point afternoon and Richard Roby had 14 points for the Northern Happinets in Yuri Honjo, Akita Prefecture. Chas McFarland and Yuto Otsuka each contributed 14 points in the win.

McFarland, a Wake Forest product like NBA star Tim Duncan, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked four shots, bringing his season total to 13 rejections. Ruben Boykin added seven points, 11 boards and seven assists for coach Kazuo Nakamura’s club.

Aomori trailed 20-7 after the opening quarter.

For the Wat’s, Abdullahi Kuso had 13 points and 15 rebounds and Eric May scored 12 points. Yuki Kitamuki added seven points.

B-Corsairs 84, Brave Warriors 78

In Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, the defending champions bounced back from a season-opening loss and gave Michael Katsuhisa his first victory as a head coach.

Yokohama captain Masayuki Kabaya scored a game-best 26 points on 9-for-14 shooting and Omar Reed supplied 20 points, 21 rebounds and three steals for the B-Corsairs. Post player Marquise Gray added 15 points and 10 boards and Kenji Yamada had eight points and seven assists.

Yokohama led 24-8 after the opening quarter and held off the Shinshu comeback, which was led by veteran guard Shota Konno’s 19-point performance. Patrick Sanders had 17 points for the Brave Warriors and former league MVP Jeffrey Parmer finished with 12.

The B-Corsairs raked in 54 rebounds; the Warriors had 38.

Rizing 81, Susanoo Magic 77

In Fukuoka, six Rizing players scored in double figures in a narrow victory over Shimane.

The Susanoo Magic’s spirited comeback fell short despite a 37-point fourth quarter.

Fukuoka led 69-38 entering the final stanza, and outscored the visitors 52-23 in the middle two periods.

Michael Dale and Reggie Warren each had 13 points for the Rizing, who are 3-1 to date under new coach Mack Tuck. Jun Nakanishi added 12 points and Julius Ashby, Akitomo Takeno and Cohey Aoki all scored 10 apiece. Seven-time All-Star Aoki came off the bench to spark Fukuoka.

Lakestars 82, Phoenix 74

In Hamamatsu, Brandon Fields led Shiga with 22 points and Shelton Colwell and Marshall Brown had 16 apiece as the Kansai-area club earned a series split against the Phoenix.

The Lakestars shot 52.2 percent from inside the 3-point arc, including Colwell’s 7-for-11. The Phoenix were 16-for-48 on 2-point shots.

Aki Chambers paced Hamamatsu with 21 points and Cyrus Tate had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Shinnosuke Oishi added nine points and Masahiro Oguchi eight.

Grouses 97, Broncos 87

In Toyama, Masashi Joho’s game-high 27 points guided the Grouses past Eastern Conference rival Saitama to complete a season-opening sweep.

Joho, who won a pair of championships with the Osaka Evessa in the 2005-06 and 2006-07 seasons, was the team leader in points (21) in the series opener, too.

Toyama’s Ira Brown finished with 18 points, nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and two blocks in the win, while Sam Willard, a Sendai standout last season, chipped in with 15 points and 18 rebounds. Takeshi Mito added 14 points, six assists and four steals and newcomer Josh Benson scored 12 points.

Broncos star John Humphrey canned 10 of 16 3-pointers en route to 47 points and Michael Joiner had 18.

Big Bulls 75, Albirex BB 61

In Morioka, Iwate Prefecture, coach Dai Oketani’s club erupted for 31 fourth-quarter points to prevail for the second time in as many days against Niigata.

Iwate triumphed in the series opener in overtime.

Josh Peppers led the Big Bulls with 14 points and Lawrence Blackledge had 12 points and 12 rebounds. Yoshiaki Yamamoto had 10 points, including two 3s, and Brian Carwell added 10 points and 10 boards. Veteran guard Kenichi Takahashi had nine points.

For the Albirex, Nile Murry scored 18 points, Rodney Webb had 13 with seven rebounds and Patrick Sullivan contributed 11 points and 12 boards.

Golden Kings 95, Cinq Reves 72

In Okinawa City, Anthony McHenry, the 2011-12 regular-season MVP, showcased his all-around excellence in steering the hosts to a bounce-back victory over Tokyo.

McHenry capped the weekend with 26 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Kibwe Trim had a double-double (18 points, 12 boards) for the Golden Kings and Scootie Randall scored 16 points and dished out four assists.

On the defensive end, feisty guard Shigeyuki Kinjo collected five steals for Ryukyu and Jeff Newton swatted three shots for Ryukyu.

Edward Morris paced Tokyo with 21 points and Anthony Stover and Akihito Inoue both had 12. Ricky Woods filled the stat sheet with 11 points, 11 rebounds, six assists and three steals.

HeatDevils 77, Bambitious 63

In Kashihara, Nara Prefecture, Gabriel McCulley scored 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Verdell Jones III added 17 points as Oita defeated the hosts, who played their first home series.

Devonne Giles chipped in with nine points and 16 rebounds. Taishiro Shimizu poured in eight points and Manabu Umemiya had seven for the HeatDevils.

Oita secured the victory at the free-throw line, converting 21 of 24 shots, including McCulley’s 10-for-12.

Anthony Brown was Nara’s top scorer with 18 points and Joe Chapman had 12, while Taishi Kasahara added eight and Tatsuya Suzuki supplied seven points and five assists. The Bambitious, an expansion squad, are 0-4.

Hannaryz 79, Five Arrows 62

In Muko, Kyoto Prefecture, the Hannaryz dictated the tempo and seized control of the game in the second quarter, outscoring Takamatsu 27-14.

David Palmer, Edwin Ubiles and Joe Werner scored 15 points apiece for Kyoto. Big man Chris Holm added nine points, 12 boards and four assists, and Kyosuke Setoyama and Shun Watanuki both handed out four assists. Joe Werner pulled down 12 rebounds for the Hannaryz, who are 2-0 to start the season.

For the Five Arrows, Andrais Thornton, a Northwest Missouri State product, had 18 points and 10 rebounds. Takamatsu’s Yusuke Kodera scored 13 points and Paul Williams had 12.

Takamatsu shot 4-for-18 from 3-point range and 21-for-63 overall from the field.

Editor’s note: This week’s bj-league notebook is scheduled to be published in Thursday’s newspaper.