Basketball / B. League

Second-division powerhouse Northern Happinets overpower Orange Vikings for 15th straight victory

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The B2 title-chasing Akita Northern Happinets collected their 15th consecutive victory on Friday night.

Captain Shigehiro Taguchi and Wichita State alum Kadeem Coleby scored 21 points apiece to lead the second division-leading Northern Happinets to a 102-91 triumph over the Ehime Orange Vikings.

Akita (37-4) improved to 16-2 in road games.

Taguchi sank 5 of 8 3-pointers and dished out seven assists in the series opener in Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture. Coleby provided four steals, helping the visitors force Ehime into making 22 turnovers.

The Happinets led 54-51 at halftime. They held the hosts to 14 fourth-quarter points to seal the win.

Akita coach Josep “Pep” Claros’ club made excellent decisions with the basketball, dishing out 30 assists on 35 baskets.

Marshall University product Nigel Spikes chipped in with 12 points and eight boards for the Happinets, while Chris Cayole, a former NCAA Division II Saint Michael’s (Vermont) College player, had a 14-point effort.

For the Orange Vikings (23-18), Chehales Tapscott scored 22 points, Nyika Williams had 18 and Yoshihiko Toshino put 17 point on the board.

Too many turnovers proved costly for Ehime, which shot 26 of 35 from inside the arc.

FIRST-DIVISION UPDATE

Brave Thunders 96, Storks 89

In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas was an unstoppable offensive force for the hosts in a victory over Nishinomiya.

Fazekas scored a game-high 35 points on 13-for-16 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds as the Brave Thunders recorded their fifth straight win.

Frontcourt mate Josh Davis scored nine of his 15 points in the fourth quarter, including 7 of 8 at the free-throw line, and Fazekas had seven points in the final stanza, going 5-for-5 at the line.

Yuma Fujii matched Davis’ scoring total and Naoto Tsuji poured in 14 points for the Brave Thunders (29-13). Ryusei Shinoyama chipped in with eight points and eight assists.

Yu Okada paced the Storks (7-34) with 25 points along with five assists and four steals. Cameron Ridley finished with 18 points and 10 boards and Herbert Hill scored 14 points.

Nishinomiya’s losing streak reached 11 games.

Evessa 99, Grouses 85

In Osaka, balanced scoring sparked the hosts in a series-opening win over Toyama.

Led by Xavier Gibson (21 points, eight rebounds, five assists), five Evessa players scored in double figures.

Naoya Kumagae put 17 points on the board and Shinnosuke Negoro matched his season-high output with 15 points. Keith Benson notched a double-double (13 points, 10 boards) and Takuya Hashimoto had 12 points.

Osaka (14-27) took a 26-14 advantage into the second quarter. Toyama rallied and trimmed the deficit to 46-45 by halftime.

The Evessa outrebounded the Grouses 41-25.

Toyama shot 4 of 17 from 3-point range.

For the Grouss (17-24), Clint Chapman was the high scorer with 25 points. Playmaker Naoki Uto supplied 20 points and 11 assists and Dexter Pittman scored 15 points.

NOTEWORTHY

The Happinets remain unbeaten in 2018.

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