The dominant Oka Gakuen High School girls basketball program added another Winter Cup trophy to its mantle with an 89-65 win over Tokyo Seitoku University High School in the All-Japan High School final at Tokyo Metropolitan Gymnasium on Monday.
The Aichi Prefecture School won its second straight championship and 23rd overall. The girls powerhouse has won nine of the past 14 titles at the storied event.
Oka senior Amaka Susan Okonkwo was too big and too strong for Tokyo Seitoku. The 186-cm Nigerian center set a single-game record for points scored in a girl’s final with 53. She also grabbed 21 rebounds. Azusa Asahina chipped in with 16 points.
“Thank you very much,” Okonkwo said in Japanese after the game. “The coronavirus has put us in a difficult situation, but I’m happy we came out on top.”
Oka has certainly been there and done that when it comes to winning titles. This one, however, was special, as the school had to contend with the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the both the Inter-High School Sports Festival and National Sports Festival to be called off earlier this year.
“We almost didn’t have any tournaments including the Inter-High School Sports Festival, so it was hard to maintain our motivation,” Oka head coach Shinichi Inoue said. “But we’re appreciative that this event was held. After the Inter-High School Sports Festival was canceled, we told our players that we’d still have the Winter Cup and still have our battles leading up to it.”
Senior guard Mei Maeda said: “With the Inter-High School Sports Festival and National Sports Festival having been canceled, we were going to turn that frustration into our power during this Winter Cup.”
Oka set the pace in the final from the beginning and never trailed.
Tokyo Seitoku showed resilience, but in the end, Oka showed why it’s won so many championships.
Tokyo Seitoku came up short in its bid for its first title since 1985. The school also lost three straight finals against Oka from 2007.
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