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Alex MierzejewskiBasketball

Kadena, Okinawa

Last week: Scored 13 points, grabbed 22 rebounds and recorded 11 steals as the Panthers opened the Okinawa-American League season strongly, routing Urasoe, a Japanese high school team, 90-68 on Saturday at Kadena High School’s Panther Pit.

Mierzejewski, a senior, recorded the first triple-double in Panthers coach Bob Bliss’ 20-plus years of coaching high school ball, beginning in Germany in the late 1980s and continuing on Okinawa starting in 2000. Bliss credits Mierzejewski’s improved moving ability on the court for his performance.

“He moves so much better, to be in the right place at the right time to get all those steals,” Bliss said of Mierzejewski, who’s in his second year on the varsity and fourth year in Kadena’s program. “He’s made tremendous progress every year, and this season, he’s coming into his own.”

Yudia JohnsonBasketball

E.J. King, Japan

Last week: Played a key leadership role in helping the Cobras get off to their second straight 3-0 start to a season, sweeping a three-game series at Matthew C. Perry High School, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni.

Johnson, a senior, scored 21 points but contributed 25 assists, including one on a game-clinching pass to Kristia Suriben as the Cobras edged Robert D. Edgren 49-45 on Saturday and beat host Matthew C. Perry 46-24 on Friday. Johnson saw limited action in E.J. King’s 46-3 trouncing of Marist Brothers International.

Coach Bridget Vertin calls Johnson “the glue that holds the team together. She brings confidence to the court. She’s a leader … people look up to her. They follow her example. She always keeps her cool.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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