Basketball / B. League

Northern Happinets soar past Levanga in overtime

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Momentum can change a game in the blink of an eye.

For instance, Kohei Sekino’s layup and free throw had given the Levanga Hokkaido a 74-72 lead with 2:35 to play in overtime against the visiting Akita Northern Happinets on Friday night.

Akita turned the tide in a hurry.

With 1:59 left, Ryosuke Shirahama scored a layup on a fast break, knotting it at 74-74. He also scored the go-ahead basket, and the visitors dominated the rest of the way to earn an 84-78 triumph in Sapporo.

Takuya Nakayama paced Akita (9-13) with 23 points, pulled down nine rebounds and made four steals. Big man Justin Keenan, a Ferris (Michigan) State alum, finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds along with four steals. Frontcourt mate Kadeem Coleby added 15 points and 15 rebounds, including eight offensive boards.

David Doblas led Hokkaido (5-17) with 20 points and corralled eight boards. Asashi Tajima scored 13 points, Ryota Sakurai poured in 10 and Marc Trasolini chipped in with eight points and 13 rebounds.

Sakurai tied it at 65-65 on a pair of free throws with 2 seconds left in the fourth quarter, sending the game into overtime.

The Levanga took the first lead of OT, with Doblas making an inside jumper at the 4:46 mark.

Akita’s strong rebounding compensated for a poor shooting night from 3-point range (1 of 16) and the free-throw line (21-for-31).

The Northern Happinets outscored the Levanga 50-28 in the paint and 25-10 on second-chance opportunities.

In the paint

Hokkaido dropped a 98-60 decision to the Chiba Jets Funabashi on Wednesday at Chiba Port Arena. On the same day, Akita pounded the visiting Sunrockers Shibuya 93-73.

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