SUWEON, South Korea – No more than 15 turnovers per game. That’s the goal established by Seoul American’s boys basketball team.
They committed one over that standard on Saturday, but it wasn’t enough to keep them from their seventh Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Division I title in nine seasons under coach Steve Boyd.
Behind Most Valuable Player Tyrone Beckem’s 19 points, seven assists and seven steals, the Falcons beat Yongsan International-Seoul, 87-59, in Saturday’s final at Gyeonggi Suwon International School.
“We’ve cut down (on turnovers) and are controlling the ball better,” Beckem said. “We have our times. We just have to slow it down.”
Tomiwa Akinbayo had four of the Falcons’ 12 first-quarter steals (they finished with 28) as Seoul American’s boys burst in front, 26-9.
They appeared sluggish in the middle two quarters, although extending the lead to 21 points. They broke it open in the final period, running off eight straight to seal the deal.
In the huddle following the game, Boyd said he was “proud of the way” his Falcons played, but they “have much yet to do” before next week’s Far East D-I Tournament on Guam.
“We have to be there mentally,” Akinbayo said. “We can’t play their game. We have to play our game the entire time.”
“We also have to keep on building our chemistry,” Beckem said.
Meanwhile, the Falcons girls made early work of their quarry in Saturday’s title game on their home court for their 19th straight KAIAC tournament title. They beat Daegu American, 47-7, in a game called with 3 minutes, 1 second left in the third quarter by coaches’ agreement when the lead reached 40 points.
Liz Gleaves scored 12 points and girls tournament MVP Jordan Elliott dished out five assists as the Falcons opened with a 34-0 run. Backups played most of the contest after Seoul American scored the first 10 points. Mecca Perkins had eight points and seven rebounds.
It was believed to be the first KAIAC title game ever to be halted early by a mercy-rule option that permits the losing team’s coaches to declare a halt to the game if the lead reaches 40 points. According to Falcons coach Billy Ratcliff, Daegu’s coaching staff indicated prior to the game that they’d request a halt in that circumstance.
Seoul American student-journalists Joshua Kim, Taewoo Lee and Gloria Patterson contributed to this report