Kings dominate inside, win by 40 points – Ryukyu Golden Kings vs Niigata Albirex BB GAME1 –

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On Saturday, October 15, 2022, Ryukyu Golden Kings and Niigata Albirex BB played GAME 1 at Okinawa Arena.

The Kings suffered a loss in GAME 1 against Nagoya on the road in the previous game, as they struggled with their opponent’s defense.

However, in GAME 2, the Kings defeated Nagoya in a game where it was hard to tell who would win until the very end, and survived the West Division rivalry with a win and a loss.

In their first home game in two weeks, will the Kings be able to take advantage of their superiority inside to win?

 

Cooley had a double-double with 29 points and 14 rebounds

Starting for the Kings are #4 Koh Flippin, #7 Allen Durham, #24 Naoki Tashiro, #30 Keita Imamura, and #45 Jack Cooley.

Starting for Niigata were #3 Reno Shibuta, #4 Keve Alma, #10 Tensho Sugimoto, #25 Rosco Allen, and #34 Zen Endo.

The Kings took a 24 second violation from the Niigata offense on their first defence.

Then #45 Jack Cooley scored on a pass from #4 Koh Flippin and a second chance goal off an offensive rebound for 10 points in a row.

The team’s frontcourt defense was strong, disrupting the rhythm of the opponent’s offnse and forcing turnovers. In addition, #15 Yoshiyuki Matsuwaki took an offensive charge from the Niigata offense.

 

The Kings got into the game from defence and increased their lead to 18-7 with three-point shots from #7 Allen Durham and #30 Kaita Imamura. Niigata took a timeout. The Kings dominated from the start of the game.

After the timeout, Niigata’s foreign players made a series of shots to close the gap, but #34 Shota Onodera hit a 3-pointer to give the Kings a 21-14 lead at the end of the quarter.

 

 

In the second quarter, #14 Ryuichi Kishimoto is active on offense.

Kishimoto scores a point by himself from a steal by attacking in the paint. He also sank a 3-point shot against Niigata’s 2-3 zone, breaking down the opponent’s plans. Kishimoto not only scores on his own, but also assists to #4 Flippin to push his opponent away.

 

On the other hand, in defence, the Kings were inside and did not allow Niigata to shoot easily. The Kings outscored Niigata in the paint area and increased the points diffense.

Niigata’s #4 Keve Alma made his presence felt both offensively and defensively, but the Kings’ momentum continued to build.

The Kings ended the first half with a 43-26 lead.

 

In the third quarter, the Kings’ defensive intensity remained the same.

At the start of the quarter, #4 Flippin disrupted the pace of the opponent with his fierce defense from the frontcourt. In the first offense of the quarter, Niigata was unable to break down the Kings’ defense, and again the Kings were held to a 24-second violation.

On offense, #24 Naoki Tashiro was outstanding. Tashiro was able to assess the situation of the opponent’s defense and score points with cut-ins and passes to #45 Cooley.

 

Another strong point in this game came from #1 Josh Duncan. Duncan makes big plays such as post plays off of offensive rebounds and alley-oops to get the team and boosters excited.

 

In the 4th quarter, #11 Reita Matsumoto entered the game. Matsumoto got the arena excited with his first 3-point shot of the season, off an assist from #14 Kishimoto. Matsumoto made one more late in the game, and despite his short playing time, he was still able to get the job done.

 

Cooley’s performance was not limited to the inside, as he was the star of the game on this day. He also hit a three-point shot that caught the defense off guard and rattled the net.

The Kings dominated the game from start to finish, and in every quarter, the Kings scored more points than Niigata, winning by 40 points. #45 Jack Cooley had a double-double with 29 points and 14 rebounds.

 

HC Oketani felt that they could take the initiative against Niigata with #45 Cooley and #1 Duncan, and indeed, the game played out as they had hoped.

He also noted, “We played good defense from the start of the game in many areas and were able to give them the first punch.”

On the other hand, HC Oketani said, “We will fix the turnovers and the transition defense in the first half and go into tomorrow’s game” and did not let up for GAME 2.

 Against Niigata, they outscored the Kings in fast break points, but were far behind in second chance points, which they were wary of.

Niigata’s HC Hiraoka emphasized, “It is important to get all five players on the court in the paint and make them aware that they must all grab one rebound together.

It will be interesting to see if the Kings can carry the momentum from GAME 1 into GAME 2 against a Niigata team looking to make a comeback.