Basketball / B. League

Northern Happinets earn dramatic victory over Rizing Zephyr

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

The level of drama in some games pales in comparison to what occurs in other contests.

Meanwhile, the Akita Northern Happinets made sure that their fans would remember the drama from Saturday afternoon.

With 12 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, Kadeem Coleby’s dunk on a fast break accounted for the final points in a 72-71 victory over the visiting Rizing Zephyr Fukuoka.

Coleby blocked six shots and finished with six points. The Bahamas native was the recipient of a game-winning pass from Shota Onodera for the big slam. Coleby also hauled in eight rebounds.

The Rizing Zephyr took a 71-70 lead on a Shota Tsuyama free throw (he missed the first attempt) with 1:42 to play, which was followed by a cold spell by both offenses before Coleby got in position to put his stamp on the final outcome.

Asked during the on-court hero interview to describe the pivotal play, a smiling Coleby, who was named the game MVP, said “it felt like every other dunk.”

Akita (2-4) had eight blocks, including two from Justin Keenan, who also scored 18 points. Teammate Takuya Nakayama added 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists and four steals. Onodera poured in 10 points.

Tsuyama led Fukuoka (0-6) with 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Dexter Pittman had 13 points and three teammates also scored in double figures. Yasuhiro Yamashita doled out eight assists and registered four steals in the loss.

It was the first meeting of the season between the two teams that were promoted from B2 after last season.

SeaHorses 74, Sunrockers 64

In Okazaki, Aichi Prefecture, Mikawa picked up its first victory of the season by holding Shibuya to 33.3 percent shooting.

Longtime SeaHorses leader J.R. Sakuragi, who turns 42 on Oct. 30, delivered a vintage performance with 16 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. Shusuke Ikuhara also scored 16 points for Mikawa (1-5). Kosuke Kanamaru added 15 points and James Southerland had 13 points and eight boards. Big man Isaac Butts contributed 10 rebounds and five assists.

The hosts outscored Shibuya 34-20 in the paint.

Ryan Kelly led the Sunrockers (1-5) with 21 points and 10 rebounds and Robert Sacre had 10 points and 10 boards.

Golden Kings 96, NeoPhoenix 63

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, four Golden Kings players scored in double figures and the visitors dominated on the boards in a convincing victory over San-en.

Josh Scott paced Ryukyu (5-1) with 21 points and hauled in nine rebounds. Ryuichi Kishimoto scored 15 points and Takatoshi Furukawa poured in 13. Narito Namizato finished with a double-double (11 points and 10 assists). Jeff Ayres corralled 11 rebounds, while Yutaro Suda and Ira Brown each had nine points.

The Kings, who led 40-38 at halftime, pulled away in the second half. A 12-0 run gave them a 59-42 cushion.

For the NeoPhoenix (1-5), Shaquille Morris had 16 points, Robert Dozier scored 13 and grabbed eight rebounds and Shuto Tawatari contributed 11 points.

Grouses 90, Hannaryz 71

In Toyama, Leo Lyons notched a double-double (24 points, 15 rebounds) and longtime Grouses player Takeshi Mito contributed 19 points on 6-for-10 shooting in a victory over Kyoto.

Toyama big man Joshua Smith, held to 6-for-17 from the field, added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists and Naoki Uto scored 10 points with eight assists.

The hosts established a dominating inside presence and outscored Kyoto 44-20 in the paint.

The Grouses (4-2) took a 44-37 lead into halftime.

David Simon paced the Hannaryz (4-2) with 20 points and hauled in eight rebounds. Julian Mavunga added 13 points, eight rebounds and six assists.

Diamond Dolphins 76, Evessa 63

In Osaka, Markeith Cummings scored 20 points and Justin Burrell’s 15-point, 16-rebound, seven-assist performance guided Nagoya past the hosts.

Shuto Ando finished with 10 points for the Diamond Dolphins (4-2).

Josh Harrellson had 17 points and 19 rebounds for the Evessa (4-2) and newcomer Jahmar Thorpe added 12 points. Hiroyuki Kinoshita chipped in with nine points and six assists.

Levanga 72, Brex 70

In Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture, Hokkaido stayed poised in a tight series-opening contest on the road.

David Doblas finished with 22 points and nine rebounds and Marc Trasolini added 15 points and matched his frontcourt mate’s rebounding total for the Levanga (3-3).

Hokkaido’s Asahi Tajima chipped in with 11 points and six assists, while Yoshitake Matsushima dished out seven assists.

Ryan Rossiter scored 37 points, including 10 of 14 at the foul line, with 14 rebounds for the Brex (5-1). Kosuke Takeuchi and Yusuke Endo added nine and eight points, respectively. Veteran forward Jeff Gibbs was sidelined for the series opener.

Tochigi shot 37.7 percent from the field.

B-Corsairs 80, Lakestars 76

In Yokohama, Masashi Hosoya sank six 3-pointers in an electrifying 22-point performance and rookie Amanze Egekeze continued his solid play to open the season with 21 points as the B-Corsairs edged Shiga for their first victory.

Ryo Tawatari added 12 points, Javon McCrea scored nine and Edward Morris had eight for Yokohama (1-5), which trailed 39-37 at halftime. Takuya Kawamura handed out nine assists.

Georgia Tech alum Gani Lawal had 20 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakestars (2-4). Junki Kano scored 16 points and D’or Fischer put 14 on the board, while Kohei Ninomiya provided nine points and eight assists.

Jets 98, Albirex 90

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Michael Parker scored a team-best 26 points and Ryumo Ono knocked down 5 of 6 3s en route to 22 points as the hosts downed Niigata.

Yuki Togashi energized the Jets with 16 points and nine assists and Fumio Nishimura came off the bench and contributed 10 points and six assists. Parker and Ono shared the team lead in rebounds (nine).

Chiba (4-2) shot 51.4 percent from the floor, including 13 of 26 from 3-point range.

Lamont Hamilton had 27 points and 12 rebounds for the Albirex (4-2). Davante Gardner finished with 25 points, nine boards and eight assists and Kei Igarashi supplied 14 points and five assists.

Alvark 89, Brave Thunders 67

In Tachikawa, the defending champions dominated the fourth quarter, holding Kawasaki to 11 points over the final 10 minutes.

Joji Takeuchi and Alex Kirk both scored 18 points for Tokyo (5-1), with Takeuchi pulling down 12 rebounds to complete the double-double. Serbian newcomer Milko Bjelica had 16 points and Daiki Tanaka added 14 with six assists, with Seiya Ando contributing seven points and five assists.

The Alvark capitalized on the visitors’ miscues. From Kawasaki’s 10 turnovers, Tokyo managed to score 15 points. The Alvark also limited their foe to four points off their giveaways.

For the Brave Thunders (4-2), Vernon Macklin was the high scorer with 18 points on 9-for-14 shooting and Nick Fazekas scored 16. Naoto Tsuji, who was 1 of 8 on 3s, added 12 points.

B2 update

Here are the results of Saturday’s second-division games:

Brave Warriors 88, Crane Thunders 74*

Volters 74, Bee Trains 68

Wat’s 89, Orange Vikings 70

Dragonflies 82, Firebonds 77

Wyverns 73, Robots 55

89ers 81, Samuraiz 69

Fighting Eagles 82, Storks 71

Earthfriends 77, Bambitious 56

Susanoo Magic 88, Five Arrows 59

*Noteworthy: Gunma’s Thomas Kennedy passed the 7,000-point career milestone in Japan in the series opener. He joined the Iwate Big Bulls in 2011 and has played pro ball in Japan since then.

On Saturday, the University of Detroit Mercy alum had a game-high 27 points against Shinshu, and is averaging 25.8 per game, the highest total in the second division this season.

“It’s a blessing to play this game of basketball!” Kennedy posted on Facebook.