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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

BJ-LEAGUE

HeatDevils snap slide; Grouses keep falling


Staff writer

One long losing streak ended on Sunday, another continued.

The Oita HeatDevils snapped a 15-game slide by beating the host Shiga Lakestars 76-69 in the bj-league.

Kimitake Sato scored a game-high 22 points for Oita (8-40), which last won a game on Feb. 15. That victory was also against the Lakestars, a 75-63 triumph over the expansion team.

Tsubasa Yonamine and Yukinori Suzuki had eight assists apiece for the HeatDevils.

For Shiga (18-30), Bobby Nash finished as the top scorer with 21 points.

The Toyama Grouses, meanwhile, saw their winless stretch reach 15 games, dropping a 106-81 decision to the visiting Tokyo Apache.

All 12 Apache players scored points as depth played a major role in Tokyo's clinical victory.

John "Helicopter" Humphrey paced the Apache (30-18) with 28 points. Other double-digit scorers included Tizzo Johnson (13 points) and Julius Ashby, Dameion Baker and Cohey Aoki (11 apiece). Ashby also had a 16-rebound game.

For Toyama (10-38), which hasn't won a game since Feb. 21, Jerod Ward had a game-high 31 points.

Elsewhere Sunday, the Ryukyu Golden Kings improved to a league-best 37-11, earning a 94-84 win over the Takamatsu Five Arrows.

Center Jeff Newton had 25 points and 19 rebounds to lead Ryukyu, while Anthony McHenry (18 points, eight rebounds, nine assists) nearly finished with a triple-double. Shigeyuki Kinjo scored 21 points, Chris Ayer added 13 and Naoto Takushi had a 10-point, five-assist performance as the Golden Kings improved to 6-2 against their Western Conference foe.

Rasheed Sparks was the high scorer (23 points) for the Five Arrows, who fell to 32-16. Teammates Babacar Camara and Kazuyuki Nakagawa scored 16 and 15 points, respectively.

Antonio Burks scored 26 points to lead a balanced offensive attack and the Niigata Albirex BB earned a 97-86 win and a weekend split over the host Hamamatsu Higashimikawa Phoenix.

Albirex point guards Makoto Hasegawa (nine points, two assists) and Akitomo Takeno (nine points, four assists) gave the team a big boost on offense, while Yuichi Ikeda (20 points, six rebounds), Calvin Chitwood (12 points, seven boards) and Paul Butorac (10 points, 11 boards) had solid outings on both ends of the floor.

Niigata improved to 23-25. Hamamatsu slipped to 32-16.

All-Star point guard Michael Gardener finished with 40 points in the loss.

A strong second quarter carried the visiting Sendai 89ers to a 91-66 win over the Saitama Broncos.

Sendai (28-20) outscored Saitama 25-9 in the second quarter to take a 50-30 advantage into halftime.

Josh Peppers scored 25 points and Chris Holm and Bobby St. Preux had 13 apiece for the 89ers, while Joe Barber added 11 points, Rodney Webb had nine and Hideki Katsumata eight.

For the Broncos (19-29), Isaac Sojourner poured in a team-best 25 points and corralled 13 rebounds. Steve Horne added 17 points.

Saturday highlights: Kinjo scored a game-high 35 points, this season's top single-game total by a Japanese player, to lead the Golden Kings to a 94-86 overtime win over the Five Arrows. He was 6-for-13 from 3-point range, 4-for-9 from the field and 9-for-9 at the free-throw line.

Elsewhere, Grouses small forward Kazutoshi Ota had his first double-double (19 points, 11 rebounds) of the season in a 79-68 loss to the Apache. Tokyo center Nick Davis was the dominant inside force in this game, pulling down 21 boards and scoring 16 points.

St. Preux paced the 89ers with 27 points in an 88-80 win over the Broncos. Holm added 18 points, 19 boards and a team-high five assists for Sendai, which also got 16 points from Webb and 15 from Kenichi Takahashi.

The Lakestars' Brayden Billbe scored 20 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead five scorers in double figures, including Yosuke Machida with 12, for Shiga in an 89-74 win over the HeatDevils. Oita's Jeffrey Price had a team-high 24 points.

Lynn Washington, a two-time league MVP, lived up to his reputation in the Osaka Evessa's series-sweeping, 82-78 win over the Rizing Fukuoka.

Washington scored 30 points, pulled down 16 rebounds and, well, made life miserable for the Rizing defenders. Nile Murry chipped in with 19 points and 10 rebounds and Naoto Nakamura scored 14 as Osaka improved to 31-17.

Despite Michael Parker's 35 points and 16 rebounds, Fukuoka fell to 20-28. Kohei Mitomo had an 11-point outing and Tsuyoshi Kawazura contributed 10 points and five assists in the loss.

Gardener's 30 points guided the Phoenix to an 88-75 win over Niigata.

Teammate Sun Ming Ming scored a season-high 19 points on 9-for-13 shooting and grabbed 13 rebounds in the series opener.

Ikeda was the No. 1 point-getter for the Albirex, picking up 17 in a clash of Eastern Conference rivals.



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