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Prep roundup

Falcons boys break through for first victory

Seoul American junior guard Maria Bruch looks to pass as Daegu freshman guard Bethani Newbold closes in during Saturday's Korea Blue girls basketball game. The host Falcons routed the Warriors 57-35.

SARAH DOYLE/SPECIAL TO STRIPES

By STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 9, 2017

YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea – What better way to help the coach celebrate his birthday than with the team’s first win of the season?

Caleb Lee, the lone returner on Far East Boys Division I Tournament champion Seoul American, had 21 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists Saturday to help the Falcons edge Daegu 45-44 on Saturday at Falcon Gym.

The victory came on coach Steve Boyd’s 65th birthday, but he insisted on not saying anything to his players until after the game. “I didn’t want to put any extra pressure on them,” he said.

Boyd sounded particularly pleased with the performance by Lee, a 5-foot-7 sophomore guard. “He had a pretty big game, perhaps his best game overall,” Boyd said.

Though part of the team that won Seoul American’s fourth D-I title last February, Boyd said Lee “didn’t get a whole lot of experience” playing behind several senior veteran guards. “So this year, I’ve put a lot of responsibility on his shoulders,” Boyd said.

The Falcons, who entered Saturday’s game 0-3 on the season, trailed by four after one period but rallied and pushed ahead by nine points entering the final period. The Warriors came back and actually led by a point with 31 seconds left.

“Daegu hit a couple of threes that got them right back in it,” Boyd said. “We just happened to be where we needed to be” at the end.

And the game may not have ended yet; Daegu coach Blake Sims filed a protest, claiming that the official scorer failed to record two points that might have made the Warriors a winner. It was not known when a ruling might take place.

Seoul American is off until after the Christmas break. Daegu hosts Humphreys on Wednesday and visits Osan next Friday.

Scott’s playmaking helps Eagles soar past Red Devils

MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan – It took four seasons, but senior Aaliyah Scott is blossoming into the capable point guard that Robert D. Edgren coach Sarah Richardson said she’d been waiting to see.

Scott dished out a combined 13 assists for the Eagles, who improved to 5-2 on the season by sweeping Division I Nile C. Kinnick 48-44 and 25-23 over the weekend.

“Huge difference” from last season to this one, Richardson said of Scott, adding that she has “matured a great deal” and assumed the point guard’s leadership role, “and her confidence level has skyrocketed. And she’s not afraid to shoot.”

The Eagles have much stronger chemistry than the team that went 16-14 a season ago and finished second in both the DODEA-Japan and Far East D-II Tournaments, Richardson said.

“It’s no longer ‘me, me,’ and ‘I, I,’” she said. “Now, it’s about ‘we.’ They’re working hard to build that chemistry. It doesn’t matter who gets the points; it’s about getting the job done. And they genuinely like each other.”

The Eagles have a game against a Japanese team on Monday before the two-week holiday break.

Titans matmen win CAJ Invitational title

TOKYO – After stumbling to a 31-29 dual-meet loss to Nile C. Kinnick in their season opener, four-time defending Far East champion St. Mary’s righted the ship Saturday and captured the title in the Christian Academy Japan Wrestling Invitational.

The Titans captured four weight classes and posted six runner-up finishes to edge out the Red Devils 99-96 in the second weekend meet of the season. Kinnick won five weights to finish well ahead of third-place Yokota.

“I feel we are back on track,” said Titans coach Shu Yabui. “Everyone performed much better than when we lost to Kinnick. We need to keep moving forward and improving the small things.”

The tournament featured five girls divisions, believed to be the largest field of girls in a single in-season invitational. Edgren had the most girls in the field, seven, with Jessica Taylor placing first in the D Division.

Eagles sophomore Raphael Gomez remained unbeaten and took the 129-pound weight class. “We had a good time,” coach Justin Edmonds said. “All we can do is keep rolling from here.”

Matthew C. Perry wrestling got some good news with senior Andrew Borrero returning from injury to finish third at 158 pounds. Kadee Sanford won the girls A Division for the Samurai.

Bailey breaks 17-year-old DODEA-Japan record

Britney Bailey continues adding to her collection of accolades in this, her senior school year. Her latest achievement came Saturday in Yokohama, when the Yokota senior broke the 17-year-old DODEA-Japan record for most points in a single girls basketball game.

She had 43 points and pulled down 21 rebounds as the three-time defending Far East D-II champion Panthers walloped St. Maur 66-21 to remain unbeaten at 9-0.

The 43 points broke the record of 41 set by Yevonne Sears of Edgren in February 2000. The DODEA-Pacific mark of 44 points was set in November 2009 by Gabby Falco of Kubasaki.

The other defending D-II champion, E.J. King’s boys, got a huge weekend from junior Dyson Robinson, who averaged 25.7 points over three victories in the Western Japan Athletic Association Basketball Festival at Kobe. King is now 6-1 on the season.

Seoul American's Miguel Villareal looks to pass out of danger against Daegu's Ethan Rodriguez during Saturday's Korea Blue boys basketball game.
SARAH DOYLE/SPECIAL TO STRIPES

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