Kubasaki gets best of Kadena in first matchup

Kadena's Jaret Colon pulls down a rebound between Kubasaki defenders Isaiah Johnson and Matt Ashley. (Marie Obsuna/Special to Stars and Stripes)
From Stripes.com
Kadena's Jaret Colon pulls down a rebound between Kubasaki defenders Isaiah Johnson and Matt Ashley. (Marie Obsuna/Special to Stars and Stripes)

Kubasaki gets best of Kadena in first matchup

by: Dave Ornauer | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 13, 2014

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Foul shooting is an oft-forgotten art in a basketball landscape emphasizing slam dunks and three-point goals. Jacob Green showed on Friday that he still values free throws – and his Kubasaki boys basketball squad benefitted greatly.

The sophomore guard went 10-for-12 from the foul line en route to a 14-point, five-assist, eight-steal performance that helped the Dragons hold off Kadena 51-45 in the first of four regular-season meetings between the two most decorated teams in Far East Tournament history.

“Jacob was our pillar tonight. He was our leader. He was solid and that’s what you want from your point guard,” coach Jon Fick said.

With the win, the Dragons, last year’s Far East Division I Tournament runner-up, improved to 4-0, while the Panthers lost for the first time in three outings.

Green came up especially clutch at the buzzer ending the third quarter, when he launched a three-point shot attempt and was fouled by Kadena’s Damien Seals.

As the teams walked to the bench and Green to the foul line, a technical foul was assessed to the Panthers’ Jaret Colon – giving Green five total chances. He hit four free throws, increasing Kubasaki’s lead to 42-34. It proved to be the turning point of the game.

It was a game marred by many turnovers on both sides and featuring many points off of transition, a game Fick characterized as “sloppy.”

“You always get that when you play Kadena; you have to compete for everything,” Fick said.

The game featured six ties and two lead changes. Nick Ashley led Kubasaki with 15 points and 11 rebounds plus five steals and Isaiah Johnson had six steals for the Dragons. Justin Wilson and Jamario Harris each had 12 points, all of Wilson’s coming in the first half.

While Green played a good game, Panthers coach Gerald Johnson felt Ashley did more damage. “He’s the guy who makes the plays. He was the one who was hard to take,” Johnson said.

“We turned the ball over too much. We needed this to see what we need to work on. This will go a long way toward helping us.”

While the boys played a close contest, the girls game became a runaway in Kadena’s favor, following a tight 6-6 first quarter.

The Panthers, who got their first win in three outings, used defensive pressure to shut out the Dragons 21-0 in the second period en route to a 53-19 win.

Jasmine Rhodes had 20 points and Brenda Gulley 12 for a Panthers team that coach Willie Ware has gotten out of the gate slowly in each of its three starts.

“We don’t start well; that’s something we need to work on,” Ware said. “Once we got rolling, got into the flow of the game … once you get the defense going, the energy flows into the offense.”

Leigh Trumble paced the Dragons (0-2) with nine points, hitting back-to-back three-pointers to end a 10-minute Kubasaki scoring drought.

Elsewhere, Humphreys’ boys won their second straight close game, edging Taejon Christian International 55-54. The win came two days after the Blackhawks rallied from a seven-point third-quarter deficit to beat Yongsan International-Seoul 61-57.

“Aren’t we?” coach Joshua Henry said when it was suggested his Blackhawks were becoming accomplished escape artists. “Awesome game. Incredible game.”

At Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Zama coach Parish Jones pulled his Trojans off the floor with 3:40 left in the third quarter against Matthew C. Perry.

He left a note in the scorebook stating that he was forfeiting the game because the referees did not understand National Federation of State High School Association rules. Officially, Perry won 45-28.

“They were calling FIBA (international) rules,” Jones said, suggesting the officials permitted more contact than allowed under NFHS rules and let players take extra steps before dribbling or shooting. “There was nothing I could do. It was unreal. It wasn’t real basketball.”

“That’s not true,” countered coach DeWayne Pigge’, whose Samurai improved to 5-0 on the season. “Nothing changed. It was NFHS rules.”

Jones said his Trojans would return Saturday morning to play the second scheduled game of the DODDS Japan weekend series. “It’s a new day. It’s a new game,” he said. The game officials could not be reached for comment.