Far East basketball tourney roundup: Osan girls beat Edgren to win Class A title
Every time Osan American’s girls have finished third in their league tournament, they’ve captured the Far East High School Girls Class A Basketball Tournament title.
Four times, to be exact.
The latest came Friday, when Jasmine Pressley scored 12 points to secure the championship for the Cougars by 41-37 over Robert D. Edgren in the first finals meeting between DODDS-Pacific teams since 2003.
"It feels great. It feels awesome," Pressley said.
The title was the fifth for coach Bruce Barker, four of them at Osan. Asked if this one felt more special than the others, he said: "They’re all special. But this is a team that put in a lot of effort to pull this off. This was not an easy tournament. Anybody could have won on any given day."
It marked the second time that Osan has won both the Girls Class A volleyball and basketball tournaments in the same school year.
"I’m very glad to be a part of that," Cougars senior guard Celine Baldevia said.
The Cougars entered the Far East tournament with high hopes, going 14-3 overall, finishing second in the Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference regular season and third in the tournament.
But the Cougars began Class A 2-2 in pool play, including a 43-31 defeat at Edgren’s hands in Monday’s opening-day play.
"I knew we had the potential," Baldevia said. "We had to push ourselves to that point. We had to focus on one team at a time."
The Cougars rebounded, while the Eagles suffered a big blow when freshman center Imani Wimbush went down Thursday with an ankle injury. With Edgren’s size negated, Osan clamped down on Eagles guard Ashley Hawkins, who had been averaging 17.6 points per game.
Double-teaming Hawkins every step of the way, the Cougars held the Edgren junior to nine points and the Eagles to just two in the second period. That, plus the Cougars’ spreading their offense to make Edgren come out of its zone defense, "made the difference," Pressley said.
"I needed my big girl," said Eagles coach Sarah Richardson after her third defeat in a Far East tournament final since 2000. The Eagles finished 16-8 after going 3-18 last year.
"We fell a little short. Our legs weren’t well. But they played hard. At least a DODDS team took it," Richardson said.
The last time two DODDS teams met for the title was in 2003, when Osan beat Matthew C. Perry
Now, Osan will try to duplicate its 2001-02 feat of winning three Far East Girls Class A titles in one school year. The soccer tournament will be staged May 18-21 at Daegu, South Korea.
"Maybe," Baldevia said. "That would be so great."
Daegu’s boys ‘hit empty,’ take home Class A bronze medal
At Misawa Air Base, Japan, the Daegu American’s boys’ bid to reach their first Class A final since 1994 ended when defending champion Yongsan International-Seoul downed the exhausted Warriors 63-53 in a knockout game. Daegu American (16-12) finished in third place.
"We hit empty about the third quarter," coach Phillip Loyd said after his highest-ever Class A finish as a coach.
Of his team, which lost four games by a total of 11 points, he said: "They were in every game. They fought hard. They left everything on the court. I’m extremely proud of them."
Morrison Christian Academy won its third Class A title and first since 2002, dethroning YIS-Seoul 55-47 in the second of a two-game double-elimination final at Misawa’s Potter Fitness Center.
Defending champs dethroned; Class AA title pairings set
Both defending Class AA champions were dethroned in Friday’s single-elimination semifinals. Of the two, perhaps the more shocking was St. Mary’s International’s 62-36 thumping of boys champ Seoul American.
Reserve Amritpal Warraich scored 28 points and Toni Taniguchi added 16 points as the Titans almost reversed the outcome of their 62-35 pool-play loss to the Falcons on Tuesday.
"Seoul got unlucky early and got a little frustrated," Titans coach Fred Sava said. "And their press didn’t bother us as it did in the first game. We made a few adjustments, and our top players stepped up."
St. Mary’s on Saturday played Yokota in the championship, the 20th time the host team reached the final since 1982. Yokota rallied past Simon Sanchez of Guam 52-34.
In the Girls Class AA tournament at Camp Zama, Seoul American got 21 points from Liz Gleaves but did not take the lead until 6:14 remained in the game in ousting 2007 and ’08 champion Kadena 54-51.
Playing with four fouls, Gleaves hit a field goal, then a three-pointer to give the Falcons a 45-40 lead. "That’s what did it," Kadena coach Dewayne Pigge’ said.
The Falcons faced Faith Academy, a four-time Class AA champion trying for its first title since 2000. The Vanguards downed Notre Dame of Guam 48-34 in the other semifinal.