Far East tournaments roundup
Top-seeded Daegu teams both bow out early
Robert D. Edgren's Vanessa Black looks to dribble between E.J. King defenders Deb Avalos and Yasmine Weddle during Tuesday's knockout-bracket double-elimination playoff game in the Far East High School Girls Division II Basketball Tournament at Misawa Air Base, Japan. The Cobras eliminated the host Eagles 57-54.
Being top seeds simply didn’t work out well for Daegu's basketball teams.
Favorites entering this week’s Far East High School Division II Tournaments, the Warriors boys crashed out in two games and girls teams lasted only one game longer in the double-elimination events. Daegu’s girls beat Matthew C. Perry 55-27 for seventh place at Robert D. Edgren High, while the boys play E.J. King for ninth spot on Wednesday.
“We peaked too early,” said coach Phillip Loyd of Daegu’s boys team, which won the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Five-Cities Division regular-season title and beat perennial power Seoul American twice along the way. Things went downhill after the second win, Loyd said.
“It was hard to get the motivation after that,” he said, adding the Warriors had their chances in their two Monday losses, 61-56 to St. Paul Christian and 75-49 to Okinawa Christian International. “We had our opportunities to shoot; we took 60 shots each game. But the (shooting was) horrible.”
The Warriors boys were 12-7 entering the D-II tournament at Camp Zama and took third in last weekend’s KAIAC tournament, while the girls, last year’s Far East D-II champions, were 10-5, third in KAIAC’s regular season and fourth in the KAIAC tournament.
“I wish we were at the midpoint of the season,” girls coach Gregory Miller said. “At the start of the season, we were so young and inexperienced. Now, they realize what Far East and KAIAC is and how to play in a tournament.”
Neither coach blamed pressure of being the top seed for their early Far East woes, particularly Miller, whose Warriors - despite being the No. 1 seed - had to play a first-round game, while the Nos. 7 and 8 teams got first-round byes.
“If you’re a good team, then you’re going to beat the team in front of you. If you aren’t, you aren’t,” Miller said.
Did DODDS officials err in making the Warriors the top D-II seeds?
DODDS Pacific Far East athletics coordinator Don Hobbs said seeding procedures would be reviewed after the tournament, with e-mail, phone and video conferencing to follow on the subject. “I’m not saying anything right now,” he said. “We’ll wait until everything plays out and go from there.”
New champions will be crowned, it turns out, in both D-II tournaments. Four-time champion Morrison Academy of Taiwan had its streak ended by Edgren, 60-56, the second time the Eagles beat the Mustangs in the tournament. Longtime Morrison coach Dan Robinson says he plans to step down after the season.
“I feel blessed,” Robinson said, adding that in his more than 20 years at the helm, this may be the youngest team he’s ever had. “We didn’t have much this year. We lost so many players. We really overachieved. We improved a lot.”
The other two top seeds held to form the first couple of days in the Boys D-I Tournament on Okinawa and Girls D-I at Yokota, but one league champion was quickly shown the door on Tuesday when Guam High’s boys stunned KAIAC Tournament champion Seoul American 51-43 at Kubasaki High School.
The Panthers never trailed, leading by 14 points after outscoring the Falcons 16-5 in the third quarter. Lordan Aguon had 21 points for Guam High.
Not all news was good in Panthers country, though. Their 215-pound wrestler, Ian Hansen, was taken to U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka with an ankle injury suffered during Tuesday’s Far East High School Wrestling Tournament pool-play bout with Zama American’s Ian Pope. He suffered a bad ankle sprain, tournament director Tom Bell said.