Cobras boys, Samurai girls capture WJAA hoops titles
E.J. King’s boys lost at the buzzer against Matthew C. Perry the last time they took the court in a Western Japan Athletic Association basketball tournament. On Saturday at Canadian Academy, the Cobras left nothing to chance, battering Yokohama 53-35 in the final.
“They were glad to get it back,” said coach Laird Small of the Cobras, who have gotten off to their best start in 13 years at 7-0. Their finals opponent, the Dragons, “were tough, the strongest of the teams we played here.”
Across Osaka Bay at Senri-Osaka, Perry’s girls completed an unbeaten weekend behind the guard play of Sakura Fleming (15.5 points per game) and the inside game of Lebet Erhart (14 rebounds, 5.5 steals). The Samurai rallied from a six-point deficit to beat the host Sabres 36-27.
“That was a hard game, a very tough game,” coach Brad Cramer said. “It was tough. SOIS is no joke.”
Cramer was especially pleased, he said, with the play of Erhart, Fleming and point guard Devon Shuman. “They stepped up and did some things for us,” Cramer said.
On the hardwood at Taejon Christian, Seoul American’s boys, rebuilding in the backcourt but strong inside with brothers DeAndre and Quintin Metcalf, saw a glimmer of hope at guard due to the play of Josh Nix.
The junior scored 18 points and dished out five assists as the Falcons made their season debut by routing the Dragons 73-35 on Friday.
“He has matured quite well,” Falcons assistant coach Keith Fointno said of Nix, who ran point for Seoul American’s jayvee last season. Fointno says Nix’s ability to penetrate and his shots are coming to the fore.
“He had four or five easy buckets,” Fointno said. “He’s showed us that he’s worked hard. If he can continue to build on last night, he will definitely contribute.”
Another team on the rise is Zama’s boys. After winning only their ninth-place game at Far East D-II last year, the Trojans, behind the play of Jeremiah Stewart, have begun 3-1, thanks to a weekend sweep of Edgren. They won 91-60 on Saturday and 79-66 on Friday.