They’d gone unbeaten but largely untested in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference, winning a combined 17 Division I games by double-digit margins, most via the 40-point “mercy rule.”
On Saturday, Seoul American’s basketball teams finally got the fire testing each coach said they needed in the Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Basketball Tournament at South Korea’s Camp Humphreys.
“This is what we needed, our first real test,” said coach Billy Ratcliff, whose Falcons girls reached the final of this tournament a year ago and ended Saturday 1-1 in pool play, needing a win over host Camp Humphreys to assure itself another playoff berth.
The Falcons (9-1) lost to Yongsan Garrison, 62-56, in double overtime before rebounding to beat Kunsan Air Base, 56-43. But more than the wins and losses, it’s what the team can take with it to make it better and prepare for next month’s Far East Division I Tournament on Guam.
“You can’t make the little mistakes at the critical times when you play grownup teams,” Ratcliff said, adding he was “proud of how the girls fought back” after trailing Yongsan by 10 points in the second half.
Seoul American’s boys (16-6) had a rougher go, losing to Humphreys, 104-59, in the tournament opener, then hanging on longer before falling, 66-53, to Kunsan. The Falcons played without starting point guard Tyrone Beckem and “committed too many turnovers,” coach Steve Boyd said.
“We dug a hole for ourselves,” he said. “You can’t do that against teams like that and expect to recover. Every time we made a mistake, they made us pay.”
Which is one reason the Falcons “had to do this,” Boyd said. “Just the experience alone, against this level of competition, we’ll be better for it as a result.”
Beating Humphreys on Sunday would be no easy task for the Falcons girls; the Bulldogs (15-0) feature a handful of collegiate veterans. Still, Ratcliff was optimistic. “We have a good shot. They haven’t run with a team like us. I like our chances,” he said.
Boyd’s Falcons boys, meanwhile, headed back to Yongsan Garrison on Sunday for two games against intramural teams, against which the Falcons are 6-2. “It never stops,” Boyd said.
Falcons earn 11th straight DODDS Korea title Seoul American’s wrestling team improved to 8-0 with 46-9 and 45-14 dual-meet wins over Daegu and Osan American on Saturday at Osan, clinching its 11th straight DODDS Korea regular-season title.
But the Falcons did it with one eye looking toward the “Rumble on the Rock” tournament Jan. 28-29 at Okinawa’s Kubasaki High School.
“We need to see where we’re at,” Falcons coach Julian Harden said, in terms of preparing for next month’s Far East meet at Camp Humphreys. The three teams’ numbers are as thin as they’ve ever been; the Falcons have just 11 varsity wrestlers, Osan seven and Daegu 3.
“Several of our guys haven’t had a chance to wrestle yet,” Harden said. “We’re in the process of rebuilding all three schools programs. We’ll be at the bottom of the barrel until we get this thing fixed.”
Edgren, Zama share E.J. King mat crown At Sasebo Naval Base, Japan, Robert D. Edgren won four gold medals, while Zama American won three, including two-time Far East champion Michael Spencer at 168 pounds and the teams shared the title with 32 points each in the E.J. King Invitational.
Edgren’s basketball teams also enjoyed a successful weekend, sweeping two games each from Nile C. Kinnick’s boys and girls teams at Misawa Air Base.
“They play well on their court, they shoot well on their court and we don’t,” Kinnick girls coach Charles Boyer said after Jen Black scored a combined 41 points for Edgren in 61-56 and 44-41 wins. James Ervin’s 28 points was tops for Edgren’s boys in 71-63 and 78-58 triumphs.
Matthew C. Perry’s boys and girls teams each came away from their Western Japan Athletic Association tournaments with 2-1 marks, each losing their last game, the boys (41-38) to Kyoto International University Academy and the girls (42-24) to Osaka International.
Perry’s boys were outscored 14-3 in the third period. “We went stone cold in the third quarter. That was the difference,” assistant John Ayers said.