Basketball / B. League

Earthfriends, Dragonflies post season-opening victories

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The Earthfriends Tokyo Z routed the host Hachioji Bee Trains 87-63 on Friday night, winning the second-division teams’ 2018-19 season debut.

The victory gave Earthfriends coach Satoru Furuta an impressive start with his new team.

Five Tokyo players in scored in double figures, with Will Creekmore leading the way with 21 points. Teammate Keisuke Takabatake also had a memorable start to his season, scoring 16 points on 8-for-9 shooting. Tatsuya Nishiyama added 15 points, Nigel Spikes, who suited up for the Akita Northern Happinets this past season, scored 13, pulled down 12 rebounds and blocked four shots. Keisuke Murakoshi had a 12-point performance. Takumi Masuko handed out a game-best nine assists.

The Bee Trains, who shot 35.5 percent overall from the field, trailed 24-15 after the first quarter and 50-26 at halftime.

For Hachioji, Le’Bryan Nash scored 22 points and Alex Jones provided 12 points and 14 rebounds. Hiroya Ogane chipped in with 10 points.

Dragonflies 86, Orange Vikings 81

In Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, Hiroshima made key shots in the final stretch of the game to prevail over the hosts.

Veteran swingman Shogo Asayama sank a pair of free throws with 10 seconds remaining for the tying and go-ahead points. That gave the Dragonflies an 82-81 lead.

Asayama finished with 17 points and dished out six assists.

Big man Jamari Traylor, a University of Kansas product, paced Hiroshima with 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds, while fellow newcomer Eric Thompson added 13 points and eight boards. Hiryu Okamoto scored 12 points and Kenji Yamada and Tomomasa Ozawa each had six points.

The visitors, led by first-year coach Shota Shakuno, shot 53.2 percent from the floor.

For Ehime, Andrew Fitzgerald had 21 points and Cory Johnson put 20 on the board. Masamune Tate finished with 11 points.

The Dragonflies, who trailed 45-38 at halftime, outscored the Orange Vikings 28-15 in the fourth quarter.