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Chiba triumphs over Ryukyu, claims East Division crown

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

It all started with a logical offensive strategy: get the ball to the big guys inside.

And it worked in a big way. Which also created frequent scoring opportunities on the perimeter, too.

Frontcourt mates Michael Parker and Gavin Edwards combined to make 16 of 19 shots from inside the 3-point arc and Yuki Togashi spearheaded the high-octane Chiba Jets Funabashi offense with 10 assists in an 80-76 home victory on Saturday.

The game, which concluded at 4:57 p.m., clinched the Jets’ East Division title before 5,521 spectators.

Chiba (45-14) closes out its regular season on Sunday at Funabashi Arena.

Last season, they finished in third place in the East with a 44-16 record, but with the same record as the second-place Alvark Tokyo. The eventual-champion Tochigi Brex went 46-14.

Edwards scored 18 points, nailing 8 of 9 shots from 2-point range and snaring seven rebounds. Parker had 16 points, going 8 of 10 from inside the arc.

The dynamic duo played a big part in the Jets’ impressive 70.6 percent shooting (24-for-34) on 2-point shots. That helped the hosts author a 40-16 advantage on points in the paint.

Chiba’s Kosuke Ishii sank three 3s in a 13-point afternoon and Togashi added 13 points to complete the double-double. Ryumo Ono had 10 points and four assists.

The Golden Kings led 35-34 at halftime.

Top rookie candidate Hassan Martin had 16 points and eight boards for Ryukyu (42-17). Takumi Ishizaki and Ryuichi Kishimoto both scored 13 points, Takatoshi Furukawa had 12 and Ira Brown 10.

Both teams struggled to make free throws. The Jets were 5 of 15 at the line; the Kings converted 9 of 18.

Susanoo Magic 99, B-Corsairs 74

In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Josh Scott’s 31-point, eight-rebound performance sparked the hosts in a runaway victory over Yokohama, which suffered its fifth straight loss.

Scott, a University of Colorado alum, had a spectacular game, including 14-for-16 shooting. Gyno Pomare and Al Thornton added 14 points apiece, Edward Yamamoto contributed 13 points and Takuya Soma provided 11 points, five assists and four steals.

The Susanoo Magic (11-48), winners of a season-best three straight games, shot 58.9 percent.

B-Corsairs big man William McDonald had 20 points and eight rebounds and Hasheem Thabeet, the league leader in blocked shots (2.3 per game), added 15 points and swatted one shot. Jotaro Mitsuda scored 13 points for Yokohama (17-42), which missed 13 of 16 3-point attempts.

Lakestars 82, Grouses 67

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, D’or Fischer sparked the Lakestars at both ends of the court in a rout of Toyama.

The veteran big man finished with 19 points, 10 rebounds, six blocks and five steals.

Teammate Narito Namizato contributed 12 points, 11 assists and three steals and Venky Jois and Faye Samba also both scored a dozen points for Shiga (23-36), which trailed 40-30 at halftime. Koyo Takahashi poured in 10 points and pulled down nine rebounds and Yusuke Karino added nine points.

Clint Chapman led the Grouses (24-35) with 16 points and corralled 10 rebounds, Yuto Otsuka scored 12 points and Naoki Uto had 10 points and nine assists. Sam Willard added nine points and 11 boards.

The Lakestars seized control with an 11-0 run that gave them a 72-57 lead in the fourth quarter.

Alvark 78, Hannaryz 71

In Tachikawa, in a back-and-forth game, Tokyo found a way to hold off short-handed Kyoto down the stretch.

Fueled by a 14-0 run, the Alvark took 57-51 lead in the third quarter.

The Hannaryz answered with a 9-0 spurt of their own to pull ahead 60-57 with 6:30 remaining in the fourth quarter.

But the hosts made more baskets the rest of the way.

Yudai Baba, who canned 4 of 5 3s, keyed the Alvark perimeter attack in an 18-point outing. Jawad Williams had 12 points and Joji Takeuchi added 10. Seiya Ando and Daiki Tanaka dished out six and five assists, respectively, for Tokyo (43-16).

Point guard Tatsuya Ito was sidelined and big man Joshua Smith began serving a five-game suspension for hitting a spare basketball on the ball gauge in the second quarter of Wednesday’s game against the Nishinomiya Storks, which caused the ball to hit a spectator. After an incident prompted by frustration during the game, Smith quickly apologized to the fan, according to published reports.

Julian Mavunga led the Hannaryz (34-25) with 22 points and Marcus Dove finished with 15 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Yuya Nagayoshi had 14 points and Kevin Hareyama and Masaharu Kataoka both scored seven.

Sunrockers 70, Evessa 68

In Tokyo, Josh Harrellson nailed a buzzer-beating putback to lift Shibuya to a dramatic triumph over Osaka.

Harrellson, who scored 13 points and pulled down 13 rebounds, made the winning shot against his former club with 1 second remaining. His offensive rebound off a missed Robert Sacre shot produced the scoring chance at the end of the game.

Sacre scored 15 points and Leo Vendrame added 10 with five assists for the Sunrockers (27-32).

Shibuya dominated on the boards, outrebounding the visitors 45-33.

Hiroyuki Kinoshita paced the Evessa (24-35) with 14 points. Jun Abe scored 11 points, Naoya Kumagae and Shota Konno both had 10 and Xavier Gibson scored nine.

Brave Thunders 75, SeaHorses 62

In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, reigning regular-season MVP Nick Fazekas’ 28-point performance helped carry Kawasaki past Mikawa.

Fazekas sank 10 of 16 shots from the floor, including 2 of 3 from long range, with seven rebounds, four assists and two steals.

Naoto Tsuji contributed 13 points and eight assists and Josh Davis matched Tsuji’s scoring output. Lou Amundson, an NBA journeyman out of UNLV, provided eight points and seven boards off the bench for the Brave Thunders (41-18), and Yuma Fujii had six points and seven assists.

A 13-0 spurt gave Kawasaki a 57-49 lead with 1:01 remaining in the third quarter.

For the SeaHorses (47-12), Kosuke Kanamaru canned four 3s in an 18-point effort and Courtney Sims had 13 points and 10 boards. Isaac Butts notched a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds and Makoto Hiejima scored 11 points. Sunao Murakami dished out eight assists to go with five points.

NeoPhoenix 79, Storks 53

In Hamamatsu, San-en jumped out a 21-6 lead by the end of the first quarter en route to victory over Nishinomiya.

Atsuya Ota was the high scorer for the NeoPhoenix, putting 15 points on the board. Robert Dozier followed with 13 points, Hayato Kawashima scored 12 and Shingo Okada had 10. Scott Morrison, Junki Kano and Shuto Tawatari all had eight points. Wendell White doled out a team-high five assists.

The hosts had a 19-0 run that bridged the first and second quarters. It put them in front 23-6.

San-en (25-34) outrebounded the visitors 54-32.

Draelon Burns scored 25 points to lead the Storks (11-48).

Diamond Dolphins 69, Brex 64

In Nagoya, the hosts bounced back from a bad fourth-quarter performance in the series opener and salvaged a series split to end their regular season with a victory.

Justin Burrell had 14 points and 10 rebounds and Takaya Sasayama contributed 13 points and seven assists for the playoff-bound Diamond Dolphins (31-29). Jerome Tillman and Hiromasa Omiya each had seven points.

Jeff Gibbs led Tochigi (34-26) with 21 points and 13 rebounds. Cedric Bozeman added nine points and Shuhei Kitagawa scored eight.

It was a defensive struggle. The hosts shot 32.1 percent from the floor; the Brex made 36.6 percent of their shots.

Second-division update

Here are the results of Saturday’s B2 games:

Wyverns 75, Five Arrows 66

Samuraiz 80, Rizing Zephyr 74

Northern Happinets 79, Brave Warriors 64

Orange Vikings 94, 89ers 89*

Fighting Eagles 91, Wat’s 81

Bambitious 82, Big Bulls 67

Volters 92, Earthfriends 64

Robots 98, Firebonds 82#Crane Thunders 92, Dragonflies 84

*Sendai 89ers point guard Takehiko Shimura, the face of the franchise for more than a decade, played his final game on Saturday. The 35-year-old floor leader, who hails from Miyagi Prefecture, had 13 points and 10 assists in his last hurrah in an 89ers uniform.

Shimura, who always displayed a fierce competitive spirit and an infectious joie de vivre on the court, joined Sendai in 2008.

Appearing in 60 games this season, he dished out 268 assists against 67 turnovers. He averaged 4.4 points and 4.5 assists.

And perhaps it was only fitting that the team scored exactly 89 points in the last game in the career of “Mr. 89ers.”

#Ibaraki extended its winning streak to 17 games by trouncing Fukushima in the series opener.