Falcons earn top KAIAC seeds; Kinnick wrestlers clinch Kanto
Seoul American’s girls basketball team and Nile C. Kinnick’s wrestling squad tuned up for postseason play in high style on Wednesday.
Devanee’ Taylor had 16 points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots and the Falcons used a 12-4 second quarter to fly past Seoul Foreign 50-34.
The Red Devils won their first Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools mat title since 2004. They capped a sweep of five regular-season dual meets with a 56-5 romp at Christian Academy In Japan.
"It feels great," second-year head coach Nico Hindie said. "The kids were excited, pumped. They knew [going in] they had a share of the title but didn’t want to let it slip away and came out and wrestled tough. It’s a testament to the hard work by these kids for two years."
Marlowe Gonzales (122), Elijah Gamble (129), Cameron Butts (135), Philip Bayani (141) and David Ford (158) each won by pin for Kinnick.
The Kanto finals are Saturday at St. Mary’s International.
On the hardwood, the Falcons girls (22-1, 14-0 league) won their 17th straight Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular-season title and the top seed in this weekend’s KAIAC Division I tournament, also at Seoul Foreign.
The host Crusaders (13-7, 9-5) did not make it easy, coach Billy Ratcliff said. Seoul Foreign burned the Falcons’ man-to-man defense and got some early transition points. So Ratcliff switched to a half-court trap and "that made the difference," he said.
It’s the first time, Ratcliff said, that he had his entire roster together this season. "Everybody’s eligible. Nobody’s injured. I think we’re where we need to be," he said.
Defending Far East Boys Class AA Tournament champion Seoul American (31-10, 13-1) also earned the top seed in the KAIAC tournament, but by the narrowest of margins following Wednesday’s 80-67 loss at Seoul Foreign.
The Falcons won their first league encounter 65-51 on Jan. 16 at Seoul American. The Falcons and Crusaders (19-2, 13-1) shared the regular-season title for the second time in four years, but Seoul American got the top KAIAC seed by one point in the point-differential tiebreaker.
"But we’ll take the ‘W,’ " Crusaders coach J.P. Rader said, adding that better rebounding, limiting the Falcons’ shot opportunities and attacking the basket made the difference Wednesday.
Gal Tesler’s outside attack, particularly in the final period, doomed the Falcons; he had 32 points, including 10 three-point goals, four in the last eight minutes. "He had a great fourth quarter. He broke our backs. He kind of took over," Falcons coach Steve Boyd said.
"The guys played tough tonight. It sets up a good KAIAC," Rader said.
Yokota edges St. Mary’s matmen on seventh tiebreaker
It came down to the International Federation of Associated Wrestling Styles (FILA) seventh tiebreaker, most three-point throws, to decide the winner of Wednesday’s Yokota at St. Mary’s Kanto Plain dual match.
The meet ended with the teams tied 29-29. They were even on the first six tiebreak criteria: cautions, forfeits, pins, superior decisions, regular decisions and shutout decisions. But Yokota had five three-point throws to St. Mary’s two.
"It was insane," Yokota coach Brian Kitts said.