Basketball: King and Yokota earn Kanto tourney triumphs
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan – At 5-foot-9, Devin Robinson may seem small, but he brings a big game to the basketball court that helps elevate his team’s level of play, E.J. King boys coach Laird Small says.
Robinson’s play helped the Cobras make school history Saturday. He scored 12 points, one of five Cobras in double figures, and had eight assists as King won a school-first DODEA-Japan tournament title, beating Nile C. Kinnick 70-55 in Saturday’s final at Yokota’s Capps Gym.
“He makes the whole team play better,” Small said. “Some days he scores, others he doesn’t but he’s definitely the core, the heart of the team.”
On the girls’ side, host Yokota achieved a title three-peat, led by junior guard Jamia Bailey’s huge play in the second quarter in a 48-38 victory over Robert D. Edgren, which had beaten the Panthers 40-30 in pool play on Thursday.
Robinson and the Red Devils fell behind 4-0 at the outset, but got their game going quickly, possibly inspired by two monster slam dunks by senior center Cameron Rozzell, one off an alley-oop pass by Robinson. It brought the crowd to its feet and helped the Cobras lead by 18 at one point.
The Red Devils, who upset favored Yokota 57-56 in Friday’s semifinal, didn’t go quietly; Kinnick used a 1-2-2 press to help fuel a 9-0 third-quarter run to get back in it. The Devils got within four, but it was as close as they’d get.
Seth Hudson of King got hot in the fourth quarter, hitting three three-pointers – the Cobras had eight on the game – and they pulled away, taking their biggest lead, 65-47, on Rozzell’s rebound layup with 3:03 left. Rozzell led King with 16 points.
The girls final see-sawed early until Bailey sparked a 15-0 run within a span of 5:30 with three second-quarter steals. The Panthers led 24-9 at one point, but the Eagles made a game of it in the second half.
Coko Magby, who has shin splints and missed much of the first half, ignored the pain and returned in the third quarter, when she scored 11 points. The Eagles got within five, but no closer and the Panthers pulled away in the end.
Bailey had 22 points, seven steals and five assists. Magby had 17 points and seven rebounds, Karen Anastos 15 points and Ja’la Wade 12 rebounds.
The four teams’ next action is in the Far East Tournaments, Division I Feb. 20-23 at Kubasaki, Division II boys at Yokota and D-II girls at Matthew C. Perry.