Basketball: Kadena, Kubasaki win and lose in Taipei
TAIPEI, Taiwan – The three Okinawa teams were not nearly as successful as a year ago, when they swept all nine games in the first Taipei American School Basketball Exchange.
Kadena’s boys went 2-1. The Panthers’ girls went 1-2, while Kubasaki’s girls finished 0-3.
But each team got some valuable takeaways which coaches say could help their teams down the road.
“It’s good competition,” Kadena junior guard Donte Savoy said.
His Panthers opened against host Taipei and for the second straight year, it came down to the closing seconds, as Justin Wilson’s layup with 37.6 seconds left put Kadena ahead for good as they outlasted the Tigers 89-86. They beat Taipei 58-57 in last year’s opener.
“It’s good for them to be playing unknown opponents in a foreign country, an intense game from beginning to end and it gives us a lot of confidence, a lot of positives to take home,” coach Gerald Johnson said. “They’re starting to get a feel for each other.”
The first loss for the Panthers in Taipei came Saturday, 80-77 to Yilan, a Chinese team. “In their basketball lives, it’s a lesson: Adjust and learn to do what you have to do,” Johnson said.
Kadena’s girls opened with a win Friday, but fell 53-46 to the host Tigers, then 65-62 to Keelung, a Chinese team.
“We have to put it all together,” coach Willie Ware said. “You can’t play two good minutes here, three good minutes there. We have a lot of work to do.”
Kubasaki’s girls “need to get stronger in fundamentals,” first-year coach Steven Casner said. “Top to bottom, go back to basics. You see other teams, you get different looks and you see weaknesses you didn’t know were there.”