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CAMP KINSER, Okinawa — Dontellius White provided 3rd Marine Division/Expeditionary Force a scoring spark, and it earned the team a day off in the Marine Forces Pacific Regional basketball tournament.

White, a 5-foot-8 guard, scored a tournament-high 40 points Wednesday despite sitting out the final 9:50 with a minor wrist injury as Division avenged last year’s championship game loss to Marine Corps Base Hawaii with a resounding 96-66 victory.

The victory gave Division the top seed in the single-elimination playoffs and a bye into Friday’s semifinals. The other six teams had to play Thursday for a spot in the semifinals.

“That’s a big help for us,” Division player/coach Paul Davis said of the chance for his team to rest.

White left the game briefly after a frightening collision under the basket with 11:12 left in the half, but he already had taken control of the game by scoring 21 of his 27 first-half points.

“He was the difference,” Hawaii coach Guy Woodard said. “That boy was on fire!”

“He was feeling it,” Davis said. “We kept giving it to him. Every time down the floor, we made sure he got a good look. But he did a lot of that on his own.”

His play overshadowed that of last year’s tournament MVP Nathan McQuirter, who helped Hawaii beat Division last summer before transferring to Okinawa. He scored just eight points, four on a pair of monster dunks.

“I always wanted to play against them,” McQuirter said. “I hope we see them in the finals.”

The two teams are in opposite sides of the bracket, so they wouldn’t play each other again until the final, if they get that far.

The championship game is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
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