Kubasaki wins third title in five seasons
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – Playing textbook basketball, the Kubasaki Dragons defeated archrival Kadena, 76-64, Wednesday for their third Far East Division I boys basketball title in five years.
“It was nice to have probably our best basketball game of the season in the championship game,” said Kubasaki coach Jon Fick, who won his fourth title in nine years. It was the school’s 12th Far East boys championship.
The eighth meeting between the two schools this season was won at the free throw line. Kadena committed nine more fouls than Kubasaki, and the Dragons outscored the Panthers 31-10 from the charity stripe.
Much of that work was done by Nick Ashley and Jacob Green.
Ashley, a senior who has played all four years at Kubasaki, was named tournament Most Valuable Player after hitting 12 of 16 from the line as part of his game-high 26 points. Green, the team’s point guard, hit nine of 10 free throws and finished with 16 points, eight assists and six steals.
A lot of the free-throw damage was done in the first half, Fick said, when the Dragons built a 38-26 lead.
“We got to the rim, got fouled and got to the foul line,” the coach said. “We were able to weather the storm in the second half.”
Kadena, led by 21 points from Justin Wilson, rallied in the final quarter and cut the lead to single digits. But the Dragons held on.
“Kadena-Kubasaki: It’s never going to be done until it’s done,” Fick said of the two schools’ fierce – but generally friendly – rivalry.
Skylor Stevens and Matt Ashley added 11 points each for Kubasaki and Isaiah Johnson scored 10. Kortez Hinton scored 16 for Kadena.
Kubasaki topped St. Mary’s 56-34 to reach the championship game. Kadena downed American School In Japan 56-42 in the other semifinal.
St. Mary’s won the third-place game 48-40.
Kelsey Rogers provided information for this article.
MVP – Nick Ashley, Kubasaki
Brandon Rogers, Koki Wiley, American School In Japan; Joshua Turner, Christian Academy Japan; Kortez Hixon, Justin Wilson, Boysie Gordon, Kadena; Jacob Green, Matt Ashley, Skylor Stevens, Imani Washington, Kubasaki; Josiah Ferguson, Nile C. Kinnick; Yudai Atsumi, Ryoya Wakamatsu, St. Mary’s; Myles Haynes, Jez Harper, Seoul American.
Sportsmanship – CAJ