GARDENA.—NAU crowned its divisional champions on Sunday, April 10 with four games in the 2011 Akira Komai Memorial Playoffs: FOR Bandits in Aye Minor, FOR Quicksilver in Aye Major, La Glen Nursery in Aye Plus and FOR Quicksilver in AA.
The 2011 NAU State Basketball Championship games will be held next Sunday, April 17 at the City College of San Francisco: Aye Minor 10:00 a.m.; Aye Major 11:30 a.m.; and Aye Plus 1:00 p.m.
FOR Bandits ambushed every team they faced this season and they capped their inaugural season by running around the Cubs, 79-68.
Bandits forced 24 Cub turnovers, 15 of them steals with a bunch of them coming in the final minutes of the first half.
Leading 25-20 with 4:10 left, Bandits started their blitz on a 28-foot triple by Jordan Hiroshima, one of five he made in the period. Kyler Kitani and Kevin Maruyama coverted layups and Hiroshima drained another triple. Three more layups and a rebound basket by Dayne Araki posted a 43-23 Bandit lead. Cub Rod Fukaye knocked down two 15-footers and the half closed at 43-27.
Chad Galdones with 20 of hi 25 points in the second half and Fukaye, who finished with 24, cut the Bandit lead down to nine and 10 points, only for Kitani to reopen the gap to 67-48.
FOR Quicksilver Ayes were hanging on to a 2-point lead and needed free throws in the final 30.7s. to slip past Sports Court, 64-57.
Quicksilver had a 59-49 lead when Sports Court had an 8-zip run. Patrick Schaller drove baseline for a deuce, Chris Chi sank a trey from the top of the circle and after scrambling for a pair of missed bombs, Kevin Koda receipted a kick-out pass for another trey. The play was capped by a loose ball foul against FOR and a chance to tie with the score 59-57.
Quicksilver picked up the rebound and shooting star Jimmy Lee sank two fts with 30.7s. left, making the score 61-57. In the final 14.4s. Kyle Taniguchi made one charity and Keith Watanabe two to ice it for the South Bay outfit.
The game was a series of small streaks and runs for both teams. Lee buried his first three attempts from beyond the arc, and Jeremy Gersen, off the bench, duplicated that, also going 3-for-3. This helped Quicksilver steadily build up a 28-18 lead. Schaller scored nine consecutive points for Sports Court and they rallied to retake the lead at halftime, 31-30.
The second half went back and forth, with smaller streaks. With less than 4m. left, Watanabe scored five straight points to post the 59-49 score.
Underdog La Glen Nursery continued their magical post-season run when they surprised highly-favored Unknowns, 63-60.
La Glen had to survive two double overtime games to reach the finals. Unknowns wanted to run the break, or penetrate and sink open three-point opportunities.
Both teams played man-to-man defense but with different philosophies. Unknowns match-up allowed La Glen to isolate players. Nurserymen used a web of helping defenders to shut down Unknowns ability to penetrate and make kick-out passes and forcing 14 turnovers.
La Glen was able to force a deliberate tempo, slowing down Unknowns. LGN took up 49 two-point fg tries, 14 more than the Question Marks, and out-rebounded their opponents 32 to 27.
John Lieu and Mike Schindler gave La Glen an early 11-2 lead. Justin Igawa and Ryan Kunihiro brought back Unknowns to a 15-15 tie. Unknowns eased ahead, only for Lieu and Foulay Saelor to reverse it in favor of Nurserymen, 36-30.
In the second half, the two teams matched points the whole way. La Glen had a short-lived 9-point lead, but Unknown James Kim carried his team. Thomas Park banged for two hustle hoops and Kim tied the game at 54-all with a triple. Fouled on a drive Daniel Hong’s fts put Unknowns ahead for the first time in the contest, 56-54.
On Unknowns next possession, LGN James Imahara blocked a drive and after a 45s. possession, sank one charity. The ball exchanged hands a couple of times when Saelor drove and popped in a straight-away bank from the middle of the lane for the lead, 57-56. With 2:12 remaining, Kim hit both bonus fts and Unknowns led, 58-57.
La Glen isolated Saelor who backed his defender to the low post. Saelor took the shot, then tipped in his own miss and completed his and-one with 1:50 left. Following a turnover, LGN worked down the clock and Saelor knocked down a baseline jumper at 1:13 for a 4-point lead, 62-58.
Justin Igawa hit his one-and-one with 57.6 left to close to two points. LGN was forced to burn two time-outs, then missed a bonus try. Schindler challenged a drive setting up one bonus Lieu charity, 63-60 with 20.5s. remaining. La Glen escaped with the win as two Unknown three-point attempts failed to connect.
Defending AA champion FOR Quicksilver had trouble breaking away but eventually stopped the methodical Nakatani team, 70-63.
Hitting almost half of their 33 shots from the field in the first half, Quicksilver showed why they are the defending champions. They made 9 treys and 7 deuces, led by Jarrod Carroll and Markie Nitake. The first half closed at 43-26.
In 8m. of action, Nakatani’s Jim Kawahito and Sean Shimizu keyed a 15-8 run and cut the deficit to 51-41. Quicksilver, shooting a poor 8 -for-24 in the second half, managed to stay pace over the next 5m., holding a 61-49 edge with 7:10 left. Shimizu and Kawahito needed 2.5m. to score the next six points, chopping the lead to 61-55.
When Nakatani’s scoring slowed, Nitake and J. Carroll were able to reopen the gap to 68-57 and 1:10 on the clock. That was enough to seal the deal.
J. Carroll and Nitake led Quicksilver with 22 and 19 points. Kawahito scored 24 while Shimizu dropped in 18 with 16 boards.