Basketball / B. League

Sunrockers dominate Diamond Dolphins through full-squad effort

by Ed Odeven

Staff Writer

All 12 Sunrockers Shibuya players who dressed for Sunday’s home game against the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins had a hand in the team’s first-half scoring.

Literally.

Every Sunrocker in uniform — Kohei Sekino, Sebastian Saiz, Faye Samba, Leo Vendrame, Yusei Sugiura, Ryunosuke Watanabe, Daisuke Noguchi, Kenta Hirose, Kosuke Ishii, Morihisa Yamauchi, Ryan Kelly and Kaito Morizane — either scored or assisted on a basket in the opening half.

It was a recipe for success in Shibuya’s 96-77 victory over Nagoya at Aoyama Gakuin University Memorial Hall.

Kelly ignited his club in the tone-setting first half with 20 points, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range.

Nagoya, which faced a 50-27 deficit entering the third quarter, trailed by as many as 33 in the second half.

“We needed the two wins this weekend,” said Kelly, whose five 3-pointers led both squads. “We haven’t been playing our best.”

The Sunrockers (17-9) entered the weekend series with four consecutive defeats.

Now, after a difficult stretch, back-to-back victories “have increased the confidence’s confidence level,” Sugiura commented.

Kelly finished with a team-best 27 points. Saiz followed with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals. Morizane poured in nine points, Sugiura had eight and Vendrame seven.

Nagoya coach Shingo Kajiyama commended his opponent for its performance.

“Shibuya played a wonderful game today,” said Kajiyama, who lamented his team’s 17 turnovers.

The Diamond Dolphins (11-15) lost their sixth in a row. “We need to step up (our play),” the coach added.

Nagoya’s Ishmael Lane had 27 points and 15 rebounds, Yudai Nishida scored 13 points and Justin Burrell had 10. Takaya Sasayama doled out six assists.

The Sunrockers’ high-energy defensive effort paid off by holding the visitors to 4-for-20 from beyond the arc.

Shibuya coach Tsutomu Isa said his team “performed at a high level,” including pressure defense, in its final game of 2019.

It was a close game for a few minutes. In the first quarter, Nagoya’s Shuto Ando converted a layup to make it 12-12 at the 3:59 mark.

Watanabe then delivered back-to-back layups — the second one set up by his steal — to stretch Shibuya’s lead back to four, and his team close out the first quarter with a 29-17 advantage. By the end of the third quarter, it was 79-50.

Brex 78, Northern Happinets 69

In Akita, Utsunomiya received solid offensive production from its bench en route to its 15th consecutive win.

Backups Kosuke Takeuchi (15 points, seven boards), Jawad Williams (12 points) and Ryo Yamazaki (12 points, 4 of 7 on 3s) all scored in double figures for the Brex (22-4). Star forward Ryan Rossiter finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks.

Nyika Williams paced Akita (12-13) with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Justin Keenan had 17 points on 6-for-18 shooting.

Brave Thunders 80, Lakestars 71

In Kawasaki, Nick Fazekas’ 20-point, 18-rebound, five-assist effort helped guide the hosts past Shiga.

The Brave Thunders (23-3) extended their win streak to 15.

Kawasaki’s Jordan Heath chipped in with 16 points and nine boards, Naoya Kumagae scored 12 points and Yuma Fujii had 11 with five assists.

Jeff Ayres led the Lakestars (10-16) with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Alvark 67, Evessa 66

In Osaka, two-time reigning champion Tokyo eked out a victory by the slimmest of margins and held the hosts to 36.8 percent shooting in the series opener.

Daiki Tanaka paced the Alvark (20-5) with 14 points and Alex Kirk scored 13 and corralled eight rebounds. Kevin Jones had 10 points, eight boards and two blocks, while Seiya Ando handed out five assists.

For the Evessa (16-8), Josh Harrellson scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Ira Brown scored 14 points, Takuya Hashimoto had 13 and Kyle Barone added 11 and 13 boards.

Barone scored the game’s final points on an inside jumper with 41 seconds left.

Jets 91, Albirex BB 66

In Funabashi, Chiba Prefecture, Josh Duncan had the hot scoring hand, making 12 of 16 shots in the Jets’ bounce-back win over Niigata.

Duncan had a game-high 26 points and teammate Gavin Edwards scored 17. Chiba (16-10) had nine players with two or more assists.

Nick Perkins led the Albirex (8-18) with 20 points.

SeaHorses 81, B-Corsairs 67

In Yokohama, Kosuke Kanamaru scored 20 points and Takuya Kawamura poured in 15 as Mikawa completed a series sweep of the B-Corsairs.

Cedric Simmons added a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds) for the SeaHorses (9-17).

James Southerland had 19 points and 14 boards for Yokohama (7-18), which has lost eight straight.

Grouses 96, Levanga 94

In Sapporo, Toyama made 27 of 30 foul shots and collected its second win in as many days against the hosts.

Leo Lyons energized the Grouses (10-16) with 28 points, 16 rebounds and eight assists. Josh Peppers had 21 points and Satoru Maeta 17.

Markeith Cummings scored 36 points for Hokkaido (11-15).

Hannaryz 75, NeoPhoenix 61

In Toyohashi, Aichi Prefecture, David Simon paced Kyoto with 23 points and Taichi Nakamura had 15 as Kyoto ended a 13-game slide.

Keijuro Matsui chipped in with 14 points for the Hannaryz (9-16). Julian Mavunga almost recorded a triple-double (eight points, 11 boards, nine assists) and made five steals.

Robert Dozier had 15 points and 10 rebounds for San-en (3-22). Takanobu Nishikawa and newcomer Viacheslav Kravtsov scored 14 points apiece.

Golden Kings 89, Susanoo Magic 69

In Okinawa City, Ryukyu outrebounded Shimane 43-24 and earned its seventh straight victory.

De’Mon Brooks scored 22 points for the Golden Kings (17-7). Jack Cooley had 20 and 13 rebounds and Yuki Mitsuhara added 11 points, while Narito Namizato handed out seven assists.

Robert Carter had 24 points for the Susanoo Magic (8-17).