Anderson helped Yokota triumph in D-II debut

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Yokota's Jadan Anderson looks for room as Matthew C. Perry's Jon Cadavos defends his zone Wednesday during a Division II Far East championship game. Yokota beat Perry back-to-back, 58-48, 78-50.  William Eagmin/Special to Stars and Stripes
From Stripes.com
Yokota's Jadan Anderson looks for room as Matthew C. Perry's Jon Cadavos defends his zone Wednesday during a Division II Far East championship game. Yokota beat Perry back-to-back, 58-48, 78-50. William Eagmin/Special to Stars and Stripes

Anderson helped Yokota triumph in D-II debut

by: James Kimber | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: February 27, 2015

YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- Following a stunning loss to host team Matthew C. Perry as the double-elimination part of the Far East Tournament opened, previously undefeated Yokota faced a lengthy, uphill battle to get back in the title hunt.  

“My dad is a huge influence on me and always knows what to say,” Jadan Anderson, Yokota’s team captain said. “He’s always there to remind me of what’s important. After the game he said that ‘the way you played, you just can’t do it again. Y’all didn’t lose the tournament,’ we just needed to focus on what’s important and, at the time, that was to win for each other and coach.”

The next morning at the hotel before the Panthers left for the gym, Anderson grabbed the yellow notebook placed on each desk. Knowing Yokota needed to win five games that day to win the title, Anderson jotted the words his team would use to fuel their climb through the loser’s bracket:  “Today is the day we show the impossible is possible. Let’s take one game at a time.”

“I hate to say it was good for us to lose that game, because it made the road to the championship a lot harder for us, but the way we as a team came back from it really made the title even sweeter,” Anderson said.

Four games – and four victories – later, the Panthers got set to face Perry for the title.

“We were all looking at each other and laughing,” Anderson said. “It was a strange energy, but we knew each one of our teammates was ready for the next game. We were all on another level mentally. Maybe we weren’t all at peak physical levels, but we all wanted to win so badly for coach and each other.”  

Anderson – Stars and Stripes boys basketball Athlete of the Year -  would go on to score 12 points in the championship game, much lower than his 22.8 season average, but he would be named Far East Tournament MVP as the Panthers went on to win 78-50.

“The last three games of the tournament, we played a box-plus-one. Jadan played his man full court three games in a row,” coach Paul Ettl said, referring to a defensive strategy where four players play zone defense and one covers the other team’s best player man to man.

“The first opponent was the leading scorer in the Pacific, {Nicholas} White from Osan. Jadan held him to three points until we switched off of him at the very end of the game,” Ettl said. “Next, he guarded [M.C. Perry’s] Jon Cadavos full court two games in a row and that disrupted the entire Iwakuni attack. On the other side of the ball, they tried to guard Jadan man-to-man with Cadavos. He took him to the basket six times in a row, scoring or getting fouled each time.”

“I can’t believe what everyone on this team has done for me,” Anderson said of the 26-1 Panthers. “Everyone had their role whether it was ‘Double-Double Machine’ Jamarvin Harvey or ‘Sniper Shooter’ Jermaine Neal, every one had a nickname related to how they contributed to the team. I may have been named MVP, but I wouldn’t have been given those honors without my teammates pushing me and contributing to our entire effort. Next to my mom, dad and God, they are the most important people to me.”

kimber.james@stripes.com
Twitter: @james_kimber

1st team
 Jadan Anderson, SG, Yokota; Nick Ashley, SF, Kubasaki; Jacob Green, PG, Kubasaki; Jarell Davis, PF, Matthew C. Perry; Nicholas White, SG, Osan

2nd team
 Xavier Sawyer, C, Yongsan; Brandon Rogers, PF, American School in Japan; Justin Wilson, SF, Kadena; Jon Cadavos, PG, Perry; Jermaine Neal, SG, Yokota
 

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