With good enough weather, Seoul rolls
By DAVE ORNAUER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: December 14, 2012
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea – Jim Davis said he was crestfallen as he gazed out the window of his home Friday morning. The Seoul American boys basketball team’s assistant coach had to trudge through near-freezing rain to a doctor’s appointment, but all the while he was afraid of another weather postponement.
“That’s our greatest fear. We need the games,” Davis said. His Falcons have played just five games this season; they’ve been scheduled for nine, and most Steve Boyd-coached teams play 10 or more by this time of the season.
Fortunately for the Falcons, the weather warmed just enough to keep the precipitation in liquid form and Friday’s home games with Osan American went on as scheduled. Both of Seoul American’s games last weekend were postponed by snow.
On Friday, Darien Briggs led four players in double figures with 12 points and the Falcons outscored the Cougars 15-0 in one stretch en route to a 70-31 triumph. On the girls side, Jasmine Thomas nearly had a triple double with 15 points, nine rebounds and seven assists as the Falcons rolled 46-12. Each game finished with a running clock.
“Had the temperature stayed down, that rain was going to freeze; that wouldn’t be good,” Falcons girls coach Jesse J. Smith said. “At least we got a chance to play, we tried to get as many (players) in as possible.”
Though she didn’t show much in the stat book, Smith said he was impressed with the on-court leadership being demonstrated by point guard Hannah Nelson, the school’s reigning girls Athlete of the Year.
“She’s doing everything I’ve asked her to do,” Smith said. “She’s really taking over that leadership role.”
What must a coach to do keep his players sharp and ready to play when games get called off, especially a young team like Boyd’s?
“Our learning curve is so big; losing those games hurt us in a lot of ways,” he said. “Our kids need minutes. The motivation is there. They need the seasoning, so they can get used to running my stuff and get familiar with each other, develop chemistry.”
While the Falcons savored runaway victories, Yokota’s girls played another tight game in Japan, this time coming out on the winning end of a one-point game. Katelyn Sult was fouled at the buzzer and hit two shots as the Panthers edged Matthew C. Perry 41-40, ending the Samurai’s six-game winning streak.
The victory came three days after the Panthers lost 36-35 at home to Seisen International on a foul shot by Nikita Endo with no time left.
Patrick Anderson of Seoul American puts up a shot over Manasseh Narty of Osan American during Friday's Korean-American Interscholastic Activities Conference Five-Cities Division boys basketball game at Yongsan Garrison, South Korea. The Falcons crushed the Cougars 70-31.
DAVE ORNAUER/STARS AND STRIPES