YOKOHAMA – The Yokohama B-Corsairs were outplayed in all facets of Saturday’s game except rebounding — they held a 38-36 edge in that category.
It all added up to a convincing victory for the Shiga Lakestars.
Then on Sunday, the tables were turned. Yokohama recorded a 79-58 victory, a game in which coach Tom Wisman’s squad had better statistics in every category, including 26-10 on points from turnovers and 13-0 on fast-break points.
Yokohama’s relentless energy from start to finish paid big dividends.
On Saturday, ex-NBA player Henry Walker sparked the Lakestars with a team-best 23 points, nailing 4 of 6 3-pointers, and handing out five assists in an 85-72 win.
Wisman devised a different defensive strategy for the rematch at Yokohama International Swimming Pool, deploying small forward Aki Chambers to guard Walker, while getting additional help from Gyorgy Goloman and Jason Washburn.
The strategy paid off as Walker was limited to nine points on 3-for-8 shooting with two assists. What’s more, the tenacious defense hindered Shiga’s perimeter attack. The Lakestars made 9 of 18 3s on Saturday; they sank 7 of 24 the next day.
In the series finale, Charles Rhodes was the Lakestars’ lone double-digit scorer with 24 points.
The B-Corsairs had four double-digit scorers: Chambers (23 points, 3-for-6 on 3s), Goloman and Shusuke Ikuhara (14 apiece) and Washburn (13 points, nine rebounds).
“Defensively, we were determined today,” Wisman told reporters. “We felt that we played soft yesterday.”
He added: “We hang our hat on our defense, and we got stuck into people. We didn’t play soft, we didn’t give them space to shoot their 3s, and we played the pick-and-roll much better, and had two 29-point defensive halves. So it was a good performance and a good response by the team.”
Moments earlier, speaking on the court and addressing the fans, he said: “The team showed their true heart tonight.”
Yokohama led 24-16 after one quarter and increased its advantage to 46-29 by halftime, with Ikuhara canning a running 3-pointer to beat the buzzer and end the half on a high note.
The Lakestars (3-9) rallied midway through the third quarter, using an 8-0 run to pull within 51-42 on a Walker 3-pointer.
But the B-Corsairs stayed aggressive and a Chambers layup stretched the lead to 61-44 late in the third. After a poor shooting game in the opener (2-for-10, six points), Chambers was 8-for-12 from the field with three 3s in the rematch.
Yokohama extended its lead to 23 with under 3 minutes left, with Goloman burying a 3.
“We made some changes after the loss yesterday,” Chambers, the game MVP, told the crowd afterward, “and we stepped up our energy on defense.”
Ikuhara, who led all players with six assists, said the team’s confidence in itself is growing as the season progresses. He called it “an important win” to give the team a mental boost to close out the weekend.
Lakestars coach Shawn Dennis cited Yokohama’s defense as the deciding factor.
“You’ve got to give some credit to Yokohama,” Dennis said. “They came out and made a switch up with Aki Chambers on Henry, and he did an outstanding job, and that’s credit to them. That was the biggest change they made, and we tried a couple of different things, and we really couldn’t counteract that situation.”
Dennis also mentioned discipline on offense as being “nonexistent.”
Goloman swatted four shots, Washburn rejected two and Chambers blocked one.
Sunrockers 81, SeaHorses 89
In Kariya, Aichi Prefecture, Kosuke Ishii sank a high-arcing 3-pointer from the right wing with 1 second remaining to lift Shibuya to a second weekend win over the hosts.
Ishii scored all 12 of his points from beyond the arc. Leo Vendrame delivered the pass that led to the game-winning shot.
Ryan Kelly paced the Sunrockers (8-2) with 35 points.
Davante Gardner scored a game-best 43 points for Mikawa (3-9).
Jets 88, Hannaryz 81
In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Josh Duncan scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter to help carry the hosts to a bounce-back victory over Kyoto.
Duncan also corralled 14 rebounds for the Jets (6-6). Backup guard Koh Flippin added a season-high 17 points and five assists.
David Simon led the Hannaryz (8-4) with 21 points, but was held to 10-for-24 shooting.
Evessa 87, NeoPhoenix 70
In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, Osaka’s Josh Harrellson steered his club to its second win in as many days, providing 31 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals against San-en.
With Harrellson dominating inside for the Evessa (7-4), it opened up the perimeter for his teammates. Exhibit A: Rei Goda buried 6 of 8 3s for all of his points on the afternoon.
Devin Ebanks finished with 26 points and Takanobu Nishikawa had 21 for the NeoPhoenix (0-12).
Albirex BB 71, Diamond Dolphins 60
In Joetsu, Niigata Prefecture, Nick Perkins notched a double-double (11 points, 14 boards) and Lamont Hamilton, Keita Imamura and Yuki Ueta all scored 14 points as the hosts completed a weekend sweep of Nagoya.
The Albirex improved to 4-8; the Diamond Dolphins fell to 8-4.
Golden Kings 85, Grouses 64
In Toyama, stellar performances by several players secured Ryukyu’s second weekend triumph over the hosts.
Most notably, Jack Cooley had 26 points and 16 boards and Naoki Tashiro netted 19 points for the Golden Kings (8-3).
Leo Lyons had 23 points for the Grouses (4-8).
Brave Thunders 87, Susanoo Magic 53
In Matsue, Shimane Prefecture, Kawasaki raced out to a 24-point lead by halftime and earned a series split.
Nick Fazekas ignited the Brave Thunders (9-3) with 28 points and 13 rebounds.
For Shimane (3-9), Brian Qvale had 14 points.
IN FIVE EASY PIECES WITH TAKE 5