Basketball / B. League

Golden Kings down Hannaryz to defend West Division title

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

Buoyed by a dominant fourth quarter, the Ryukyu Golden Kings earned a 67-52 victory over the Kyoto Hannaryz on Sunday and clinched the West Division title for the second year in a row.

In short, Ryukyu’s impressive work on the boards sealed the win. The Golden Kings outrebounded the Hannaryz 48-30, including 19-2 on the offensive glass. Ryukyu’s Kevin Jones had a team-best four offensive boards.

Takatoshi Furukawa scored seven of his 14 points in the fourth quarter and Kings teammate Ryoma Hashimoto dished out both of his assists in the pivotal period. Ryukyu put 24 points on the board in the final 10 minutes, limiting the visitors to seven at the same time in Okinawa City.

“I think that it was a victory that was really boosted by the fans. I would like to fight more than ever before (the rest of the season),” Hashimoto told reporters after the game.

Narito Namizato added 10 points and six boards for Ryukyu (36-19), veteran big man Scott Morrison contributed nine points and eight boards, Naoki Tashiro had eight points and Ira Brown provided 10 rebounds and a pair of steals.

David Simon paced Kyoto (29-26) with 22 points and Julian Mavunga added 18 points and 11 boards. Tatsuya Ito chipped in with seven points, while the team’s other seven players who stepped onto the court had a combined five points.

Diamond Dolphins 87, Evessa 86

In Nagoya, Justin Burrell made a game-wining shot in the paint with one second remaining and the Diamond Dolphins completed an improbable comeback down the stretch to beat Osaka.

Burrell caught the inbound pass, took a few dribbles and flushed a straight-away jumper as the home fans erupted with excitement.

The Evessa led 84-73 with 2:28 to play in the fourth quarter.

The Diamond Dolphins (29-25) embarked on a 9-0 run over the final 60 seconds to collect their fourth consecutive victory.

Nagoya’s Shuto Ando, who had a 23-point performance, initiated the run with a jumper. He dished out five assists.

Burrell continued his fine all-around play since returning to the lineup after missing three-and-a-half months due to a knee injury. He had 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, scoring 10 of more points for the sixth straight game since his return on March 27. Takaya Sasayama netted 12 points, Tenketsu Harimoto scored 11 and center Hilton Armstrong made a big impact with 14 rebounds and two blocks.

The Diamond Dolphins finished strong, outscoring the visitors 31-18 in the final period.

Osaka (20-35),which took a 44-35 lead into the second half, drained 15 of 26 3s.

Josh Harrellson led the Evessa with 27 points and 18 rebounds. Xavier Gibson poured in 26 points and Satoshi Nagano supplied 16 points and seven assists.

After the loss, Evessa point guard Hiroyuki Kinoshita expressed his frustrations on Twitter, addressing the team’s fans directly

“It was a game we had to win today,” he tweeted before adding, “… It’s frustrating. (But) we will do our best to keep the remaining five games firmly positive. Thank you for your support for two days.”

Sunrockers 92, Northern Happinets 84

In Akita, Leo Vendrame’s electrifying go-ahead reverse layup early in the fourth quarter helped spark Shibuya to its second win in as many days against the hosts.

With a burst of speed, Vendrame drove the lane, sliced the defense and penetrated from right to left before banking in a layup and getting fouled near the 7:50 mark. His layup put the Sunrockers ahead 76-75. He sank the free throw to make it a two-point game.

Forward Ryan Kelly led Shibuya (27-28) with 24 points, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range. Robert Sacre added 23 points and seven boards, with Vendrame finishing with 11 points, eight rebounds and six assists. Tomoya Hasegawa also buried four 3s and scored a season-high 15 points in the series finale.

The Sunrockers connected on 10 of 20 from beyond the arc.

Justin Keenan had 23 points and nine boards for Akita (15-40), which has dropped 10 straight. Dwight Coleby recorded a double-double with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Daichi Shimoyama scored 11 points, while Takuya Nakayama finished with eight points and six assists.

Albirex BB 79, SeaHorses 62

In Nagaoka, Niigata Prefecture, B. League scoring leader Davante Gardner did what he does best on Sunday, delivering a 23-point effort along with 15 rebounds, and teammate Kei Igarashi also scored 23 as the Central Division leaders whipped Mikawa.

Igarashi nailed 4 of 7 3s to give the Albirex (40-15) a big spark from the perimeter. Lamont Hamilton chipped in with 18 points and seven boards.

Niigata, which won its fifth in a row, controlled the third quarter and took a 61-45 advantage into the final stanza.

J.R. Sakuragi paced the SeaHorses (28-27) with 19 points. Kennedy Meeks added 11 points, Masaaki Morikawa scored 10 and Yuta Okada nine.

Lakestars 92, Rizing Zephyr 77

In Otsu, Shiga Prefecture, the combined potent offensive performances of Koyo Takahashi, Henry Walker and Allen Durham carried the Lakestars past Fukuoka, giving the hosts a weekend sweep.

Takahashi knocked down five 3s in a 27-point outing, while Walker sank six from long range and finished with 24 points. Durham contributed 15 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists for Shiga (16-39).

Eric Jacobsen had 18 points and seven assists for the Rizing Zephyr (11-44), who lost their 10th consecutive contest. Shota Tsuyama scored 14 points and handed out six assists and Masashi John added 10 points.

Jets 91, Levanga 58

In Kushiro, Hokkaido, led by balanced scoring, title-chasing Chiba hammered the hosts for the second straight day.

The Jets (47-8) defeated the Levanga by 30 points in the series opener.

Josh Duncan sparked Chiba with 19 points and 12 rebounds, with small forward Aki Chambers shooting a perfect 7-for-7 in his 14-point game. Yuki Togashi matched Chambers’ scoring output and dished out five assists. Michael Parker contributed 13 points and eight boards and Gavin Edwards had 10 points, five assists and five steals.

Hokkaido (10-45) trailed 42-26 entering the third quarter en route to its 17th consecutive defeat.

David Doblas finished with 18 points and 10 points and Marc Trasolini had 13 points, while Shusuke Yamamoto scored eight.

Second-division update

Here are the results of Sunday’s B2 games:

Crane Thunders 87, Robots 73

89ers 82, Wyverns 72

Orange Vikings 101, Dragonflies 72

Bambitious 74, Five Arrows 73

Brave Warriors 70, Samuraiz 53

Fighting Eagles 100, Bee Trains 59

Storks 93, Earthfriends 85

Firebonds 82, Wat’s 69

B2 notes: Sendai extended their winning streak to 11. Daniel Miller paced the 89ers (37-19) with 31 points on 13-for-19 shooting and pulled down 13 rebounds. Jerome Tillman chipped in with 18 points and backup guard Jun Abe came off the bench and handed out eight assists. … Gunma’s Thomas Kennedy leads the second flight in scoring (28.1 points per game).