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Zach LatimoreBasketball

Robert D. Edgren High School, Japan

Last week: Averaged 21 points and six assists and made the game-winning steal and basket in the closing seconds as the host Eagles split their season-opening Japan Basketball League weekend series with Nile C. Kinnick.

Latimore, a senior, capped his 30-point performance in Friday’s 59-54 victory with the steal and layup with 1:50 left. He added 12 points in a losing cause Saturday as the Red Devils responded with a 49-45 victory at the Eagles’ Nest. Latimore also had nine rebounds, nine steals and five blocked shots in the two games.

“Zach is an outstanding athlete. He is an excellent team captain and has the heart of a true teammate,” said first-year Eagles coach Michael Gros. “Zach is a well-rounded student-athlete who has his priorities in order.”

Aja’ WalkerBasketball

Kadena, Okinawa

Last week: Began the season by racking up a career best in scoring to power the defending Far East Class AA champion Panthers to an 89-79 victory over Gushikawa, a Japanese team.

Walker, a sophomore, scored 36 points, nearly doubling her previous career best of 19 in last year’s Class AA championship game, and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Panthers, who have gone 28-4 since Walker joined the team.

Walker might not have even started Saturday’s game, coach Ken Hudson said, were it not for a knee injury that sidelined senior power forward Brittany Gilliam. “I put it to her, I said, ‘I guess you’re going to have to take her spot.’ And she rose to the occasion,” Hudson said.

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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