Things learned, observed in Hong Kong basketball tournament Day 2.0
Published: November 26, 2010
UPDATES with Day 2 games complete; WILL STAND.
Musings, mutterings and the occasional schmahts as Ornauer sits content in being reminded of just how relaxing an evening on Stanley Waterfront can be:
-- No DODDS-Pacific girls team will be playing for the championship this year. Kubasaki, Yokota and Kadena each lost their first-round playoff games -- by whopping scores, an average of 39 points. But at least one will carry home a trophy. Kadena plays Yokota at 8 a.m. Saturday; the winner is guaranteed at least sixth place.
-- In fact, every first-round playoff game were blowouts. Average margin of victory in those games? 32.8 points.
-- Pretty clear that the comeback game of the tournament thus far has to be Kadena’s boys' 72-67 come-from-behind win over Singapore American. The Eagles led the Panthers 27-13 after one quarter, and to add injury to insult, sophomore Jaylen Street was playing with seven stitches in his right eyebrow, the result of an errant elbow from teammate Jason Sumpter on the rebound of a missed Street shot on Thursday.
-- But foul trouble eventually caught up with Rauson Clower, Singapore’s 6-foot-4 senior center, and Kadena chipped away at the lead until Xavier Jones, the Panthers’ 5-6 sparkplug guard, used a leaping layup to put the Panthers ahead for good 68-67 with just over a minute left.
-- "Kinda surprised myself," Panthers coach Robert Bliss said of the rally, adding that "once we got within eight points, I knew we had a chance."
-- "My lifetime high," Jones remarked after looking at the scorebook to see the game’s leading scorers; he had 23 points. "Not your career high?" Bliss asked. "No, that’s my lifetime high," Jones insisted. Dude has an interesting way of putting things. J
-- Street, for his part, said the eyebrow was a bit sore, but he was OK playing. And the comeback lessened whatever pain there was considerably. "Unexplainable," Street said of the comeback win.
-- But there was no coming back in Kadena's second game of the day, an 80-57 loss to Hong Kong International. Vengeance for Kadena's championship victory a year ago and a huge night for Adam Xu, who had five of the Dragons' 10 three-point goals.
-- In fact, call Friday night the Night of the Threes. Even in defeat, Taipei American's Max Huang hit six threes, in a 93-72 playoff loss to Singapore American.
-- All good things must come to an end, and two-time defending girls champion Faith Academy’s win streak of 14 games in this tournament dating back to 2008 finally ended at Singapore American’s hands, 61-40 in Friday’s final pool-play games.
-- Talk about your opposites. Yokota’s girls handed a 70-30 beatdown on Kubasaki in one final pool-play game at the middle-school gym; Kubasaki did similar to Yokota’s boys, 57-38 in the game immediately following.
-- Freshman to watch for: Trinity Davis. Yokota. 20 points in the first half against Kubasaki. Plays alongside point guard Erika Ettl as if the two are tethered; Davis can shoot, handle the ball and is cool under pressure.
-- Singapore boys’ performance against Kadena notwithstanding, this is perhaps the best group of Eagles boys and girls to come along in a long time. Parental support is surely not lacking; seems as if there were a pair of adults in the stands for each of the Eagles’ 20 total players. "That’s more support than we get for most of our home games," senior Hannah Goode said, taking great care to add: "But we do love our fans."
-- And there’s much love for Singapore’s boys team from their girls counterparts, who each wear shirts saying "We Love Our Boys" on the front, with the name of one boys player and jersey number stenciled on the back. "We’re really close with our boys," sophomore Alex McConaghy said.
-- Enjoyable travel moment of the week: Seated along Stanley Waterfront, consuming … er … sports beverages with some of the greatest coaching minds in the Pacific, video of a Shakira concert on one big screen and English Premier League football on the telly. Great for the soul.
-- To the HKIS IT department and those responsible for setting up those Web casts at Dragonnet: Great job, guys. And thanks for the opportunity. J
More later. Keep up with the tournament both here and on Facebook.