Edgren hoop teams winning close games

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Nile C. Kinnick's Shakita Samuels passes over the head of Robert D. Edgren's Coko Magby while Eagles teammate Alyssa Rodriguez pursues. Jason Wysong/Special to Stars and Stripes
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Nile C. Kinnick's Shakita Samuels passes over the head of Robert D. Edgren's Coko Magby while Eagles teammate Alyssa Rodriguez pursues. Jason Wysong/Special to Stars and Stripes

Edgren hoop teams winning close games

by: . | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: December 15, 2014

Chris Herrera doesn’t mind his Robert D. Edgren boys basketball team being referred to as escape artists, especially after a weekend sweep of games against Nile C. Kinnick.

The Eagles improved to 2-1 after taking a pair of DODDS Japan contests from the Red Devils, the latest a 73-72 double-overtime win on Saturday coming on the heels of a 55-53 escape Friday.

“It definitely felt that way,” Herrera, the Eagles’ first-year coach, said of the great-escape theory. The Eagles on Friday trailed at intermission 33-15 “and the crowd at halftime started leaving,” Herrera said, before Edgren outscored Kinnick 23-4 in the third quarter to lead for good.

“We stayed true to ourselves, allowed the defense to work and it paid off for us,” he said.

On Saturday, it was Kinnick’s turn to rally, outgunning the Eagles 22-13 in the fourth quarter to tie it 48-48 before Shawn Robinson scored nine of his 29 points in the two overtimes to help the Eagles win.

“Team defense and we played as a team,” Herrera said. “The scoring was spread, the defense was there, all my players made plays and created openings for everyone, everyone knew their role and played it out.”

Likewise, the unbeaten Eagles girls (3-0) pulled a weekend sweep of their own, following Friday’s 49-44 win over the Red Devils with a 48-33 Saturday triumph. Eagles senior Vanessa Black averaged 26.5 points in the two games.

“The girls are really working hard this season,” coach Sarah Richardson said, noting that her Eagles play fewer games than their counterparts in the Kanto Plain, so they have to make “every opportunity count. My girls are hungry and trying to take it one game at a time.”

Down south at Sasebo Naval Base, the move to Division II seems to be agreeing with Yokota’s boys and girls, who each remained unbeaten at 4-0 by completing sweeps of E.J. King.

Sarah Claypool averaged 17 points, Caitlyn Rowan 16.5 and Sarah Cronin 15.5 in two games as the Panthers girls won 58-11 and 61-15. Coach Kitty Martinez said the hot start is something she expected.

“I’m not surprised at all,” Martinez said. “Our girls work hard in practice and it shows on the court.”

It was their first D-II vs. D-II competition since the move was made last month. Yokota’s boys also cruised on the weekend, with Jadan Anderson averaging 22.5 points and Jermaine Neal 22.5 in 77-39 and 79-45 victories.

Anderson said the Panthers would rather still be competing at Division I, and said the boys and girls teams had spoken of sweeping both banners before the move. “It is what it is,” Anderson said, calling the move to D-II an “unfortunate event.”

“We have to work twice as hard now. Everybody will be coming at us,” he said. “You just kind of get an extra fire in your stomach. The unfortunate event has made us even more motivated.”

Calm prevailed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, where Matthew C. Perry’s boys completed a weekend sweep of Zama 59-54. Friday, the Trojans forfeited to the Samurai over what Zama coach Parish Jones termed a referees’ misunderstanding of the rules.

“A lot more calm today,” said coach DeWayne Pigge’ of Perry, which improved to 6-0. “It feels great. We have a long way to go, but it feels great. The boys are working hard, coming together slowly and the veterans are showing leadership.”

Over in Korea, Seoul American’s girls continued their rebound from a season-opening double-overtime loss to Taejon Christian International by winning their third straight. Team defense was key, coach Dean Florio said, in a 59-12 win over Daegu in which the Falcons had 30 rebounds, 30 steals and nine blocked shots.

“Our defense has been solid,” Florio said, adding that after the first game, “we made some adjustments and the girls are catching on offensively.”

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