SASEBO NAVAL BASE, Japan — A new date, fewer teams and a different name has not changed the traditional tip-off of the high school basketball season in Japan.

As has been customary since Rick Kendall’s arrival at E.J. King High School seven years ago, a two-day event kicks off the boys and girls seasons this week.

Seoul International of Korea, Matthew C. Perry, Marist Brothers International, Fukuoka International of Japan and E.J. King have boys teams entered in the E.J. King Shootout, while Marist, Perry and King field girls teams.

Last year, eight boys and four girls teams competed, including large-school powers Seoul American, the defending Far East Class AA champion, and St. Mary’s International of Tokyo, which won the previous two Class AA crowns.

By agreement between E.J. King Principal Linda Connelly and the Department of Defense Dependents Schools-Japan district office, the tournament was scaled back.

Connelly and district officials cited two reasons for downsizing: The event was becoming too large and taxed base billeting and other resources, and school officials said they would rather have players home for the holiday weekend.

The boys will play a round-robin event while the girls compete in a double round robin.

“Everybody will get at least three or four games this weekend,” Kendall, E.J. King’s athletic director, said.

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