KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Now, it’s the Kadena Panthers who are sporting the wrestling winning streak.
Dating to the last regular-season dual meet of 2002-03, Kadena has won six of its past eight dual meets against the Kubasaki Dragons. Prior to that point, Kubasaki had won every dual meet between the two teams since Kadena High opened for the 1981-82 season.
“I’d rather not think about it. I’d rather go one match at a time,” Kadena coach Steve Schrock said. “(But) I’m very proud of them.”
Veterans led the way for Kadena in Friday’s 34-20 victory over Kubasaki at the Panther Pit, with 2002 Far East 101-pound champion Brenden Stanford, now at 141 pounds, and Jake Bloom (135) and defending Far East 168-pound champion Devon Copeland (180) scoring technical falls.
Impressing Schrock was Kubasaki newcomer Steve Courtney, who beat Austin Copeland by technical fall at 148 pounds.
“I haven’t seen a kid that strong technically since Justin Miller,” Schrock said of the Far East’s only four-time weight-class champion out of Kubasaki, 1996-99. “He’s a sound wrestler. He’s fun to watch.”
Kubasaki kept it close, matching Kadena pin for pin, until Kadena’s Branden McCullough pinned Carl Tapang at 129 pounds. The Panthers never trailed again.
“I have a lot of respect” for Kubasaki coach Terry Chumley, Schrock said. “She’s a great coach and she’ll put a competitive team out there.”
Kinnick boys improve hoop record to 9-0
TOKYO — Nile C. Kinnick’s boys continue to rule the Japan high-school basketball roost.
The Red Devils’ big three — Travis Ekmark, Leonard Lynce and Paul Ergus — each scored in double figures and Kinnick used strong defense in the second half to pull away from Christian Academy In Japan 76-51.
What may be worse for Japan boys basketball than Kinnick improving to 9-0 is that the team’s best basketball may be yet to come, as coach Nathan Brewster predicts.
“I don’t see us playing the best that we can yet,” he said. “We put it on CAJ in the fourth quarter, but I know there are things we can do better. I know we can improve. We haven’t put together four full quarters. I keep telling the guys, to be a championship team, we have to put a whole game together.”
What has come together, Brewster said, is the players’ grasp of his system, particularly on defense. The Red Devils threw numerous looks at CAJ with their 1-2-1-1 zone press and various half-court zone and man-to-man defenses.
“We really frustrated them with that,” Brewster said.
Kinnick improved to 5-0 in the Kanto Plain Association of Secondary Schools.
“We’re rolling now,” Brewster said. “We’re doing things that we couldn’t do last year. We have three starters back and my system is familiar. They’re starting to get it. Last year, we were still learning it, we were always a second late and a foot short. This year, it’s starting to come together.”
Ekmark had a triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists. Ergus added 20 points and 10 rebounds and had Lynce 23 points and 10 rebounds. Dane Masuda and Andy Carrico each scored 11 for the Knights (7-1).
Taegu girls win critical basketball showdown
CAMP WALKER, South Korea — Keep Margaret Nurse off the boards, Michelle Chandler instructed her Taegu American girls basketball team.
The Warriors did just that, bottling up the 6-foot-4 Osan American junior center en route to a 51-32 victory Friday.
Taegu improved to 6-0 in Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference play and 6-6 overall, while the Cougars fell to 3-2. The two DODDS-Korea powers are expected to contend for the Far East Class A Tournament title next month in Pusan.
It was Taegu’s first victory in eight seasons against the Cougars, who dressed only six players because of injuries and illness.
Nurse scored 18 of the Cougars’ 32 points, but most of those came when she made moves to the basket or took a pass inside, not on the offensive glass.
“I asked them not to let Margaret get offensive rebounds,” Chandler said. “They kept her off the boards. They did a good job.”
The Warriors girls mixed things up defensively, showing Osan a variety of looks. But while Taegu ran roughshod in the first half, outscoring Osan 30-11, “we came out flat in the third quarter,” Chandler said.
“We have to play four full quarters,” she said. “We didn’t come out as intense. We have to keep our intensity up.”
Especially the next time the two teams meet: Jan. 22 at Osan Air Base.
Among the Osan players who should be back in the lineup are starting point guard Sharon Kroening and forward Mina Davis, who transferred to North Carolina last spring but is returning to finish her senior season.