The Akira Komai Memorial NAU Playoffs began on March 31-April 1 and continued on Easter Sunday, April 8. In Aye Major, the favored teams advanced, but in Aye Minor, the top three picks were all knocked off.

April 8
At Bell High School, Mortar Forkers experienced line-up trumped the young, active 2Hard2Guard outfit, 52-47.

Tom and Bobby Ryono led the scoring for Mortarmen (2nd place Sunday Bell) with 17 and 13 points but the team rode the shoulders of Mike Miki’s inside presence, as he drew four shooting fouls from the shorter 2Hard team (1st place, Thursday Bell).

Guard Kyle Yamasaki topped the Thursday Bell winners with 14 points and forwards Edmond Yong and Hakoh Kosaka added 12 and 11.
A defensive-minded first half ended with 2Hard ahead, 18-14.

The second half was a different story with both teams heating up, especially B. Ryono. His three treys pushed Forkers into the lead, 33-31 at the 12m. mark. Over the next 9m., the adversaries traded shots. David Maldonado’s rebound tied the score at 45-all. Neither team could break the tie until B. Ryono’s fourth trey of the half gave Forkers a 48-45 lead with a minute left. After missing, 2Hard had to give fouls but free throws iced the game for winners.

2 Hard 2 Guard (47)—H. Kosaka 11, D. Kim, B. Ahn 8, B. Morita 2, E. Yong 12, K. Yamasaki 14.
Mortar Forkers (52)—R. Odama 3, B. Ryono 17, T. Ryono 13, D. Maldonado 9, M. Miki 9, E. Louie, C. Wong 1.

* * *
In the second contest at Bell, MU Strokers barely hung on to upset Marina Tigers, 54-53.

Kevin Isa and Maney Lao were the sharpshooters for Strokers (3rd place, Thursday Bell) with 22 and 19 points, while Tigers relied on a balanced offense behind Keith Kim (13), Cleat O’Brien (11), Joey Baltazar (10) and Dean Wake.

The score was tied three times but the lead see-sawed back and forth 10 times in the first half. Marina, top team out of Sunday Bell, held a 27-26 advantage at halftime.

Isa’s triple and fast breaks allowed Strokers to surge ahead, 40-31. Then Tigers defense took over, allowing them to close on fast breaks by Kim, Wake and a jumper by Eric Matsubayashi to 40-39, with 11:40 to play.

Isa and Lao scored, only to be matched by Brian Nakagiri and Kim. With 6:15 left, Bryce Umemoto started a Stroker run. Lao added two fts, then Jordan Ikeda sank a hoop and charity for a 52-43 margin with 2m. left.

Marina upped the pressure, forcing some turnovers. Nakagiri hit a jumper and Kim converted a layup for a 52-49 score, 1:16 remaining. With 34s. on the clock, Wake made two charities to cut the deficit to a single point. Lao was immediately fouled, sinking a pair of fts for a 54-51 edge.
Tigers Baltazar put back a rebound with 17s. left and it was a one-point game again. Strokers were able to run down the clock before giving the ball back to Marina. Tigers rushed downcourt and were unable to sink a difficult a contested jumpshot.

Marina Tigers (53)—K. Kim 13, K. Quock, B. Nakagiri 4, J. Baltazar 10, C. O’Brien 11, E. Matsubayashi 6, D. Wake 9.
MU Strokers (54)—M. Lao 19, S. So 2, B. Umemoto 6, M. Nakata, J. Ikeda 5, K. Isa 22.

* * *
Over at Gardena HS, Mavericks protected their number four seed by stopping Amadeus, 70-61.

Two treys by Eric Wun and one by Matt Suminaga jump-started Mavs, only for Jeff Tom, Randy Yee and Brian Duangpichakul to reverse it in favor of Amadeus (2nd place Thursday Bell), 19-10. Then it was the Mav’s turn as Kevin Masuyama helped lead them back in front, 24-22. The half eventually ended with Mavericks (2nd place Saturday Bell) leading 32-28.

Both teams had settled in to trade points, with ties at 36, 38 and 40. Suminaga, E. Yung and Masuyama keyed an 11-3 run and a 57-45 lead for Mavs. Bob Matsuzaki and Duangpichakul rattled in 10 consecutive points, closed to 57-55.

E. Wun converted a steal and Kyle Wun drained a three to settle Mavs down, 62-55, and free throws down the stretch sealed the win.

E. Wun with 27, Masuyama with 17 and Suminaga with 14 topped the Mavs scoring. Duangpichakul made 23, Matsuzaki 15 and Yee 12 for Amadeus.

Mavericks (70)—M. Suminaga 14, A. Wun, E. Wun 26, K. Wun 8, A. Olsen 3, K. Masuyama 17.
Amadeus (61)—J. Kawaguchi, P. Yamauchi, R. Yee 12, B. Matsuzaki 15, J. Tom 7, G. Kim, T. Miyamoto, B. Duangpichakul 23.

* * *
In the second game at Gardena, No-Names surprised Tigers Red, 69-54.

The Saturday Bell winners were short-handed with only six players that the upset-minded No-Names took advantage of. The game started briskly with both teams working for good shots. With the game tied at 11-all, Dave Sakiyama scored off a baseline drive. No-Name teammate Jon Silva dropped in a pair of three-point shots, then added a couple of mid-range jumpers. Derek Hawkin’s fts completed a 14-zip run, 25-11.

Phu Nguyen drove the lane and slowly cut down the deficit, 33-24. Kevin Hirai’s three-point just before the buzzer gave No-Names (3rd Place Sunday Bell) a 36-24 halftime lead.

Minutes into the second period, No-Names went on another burst, 11-2, and upped their advantage to 50-32, 12:37 remaining. Tigers finally found their range. Jesse Oshiro, David Nitta with two treys, and Nguyen made a game of it, closing to 55-45 with 7:50 left. No-Names settled down, matching Tigers effort point for point before pulling away on free throws in the final 2m.

Tigers Red (54)—G. Fujihiro 2, R. Yamashita, P. Nguyen 17, J. Oshiro 16, D. Nitta 12, S. Aiboshi 8.
No-Names (69)—N. Schultz 2, J. Silva 16, D. Hawkins 5, J. Lee, K. Hirai 10, B. Kumagawa 8, S. Iseri 8, D. Sakiyama 14.

* * *

Hollywood Dodgers Black scored the final five points of regulation and went on to stop Yoho’s, 68-62 in overtime at Bell.

Yoho’s had youth going for them, but HD is playoff-tested (Aye Minor). Neither team gave an inch in the first half. The longest run by either side was six points, and usually only a basket separated them. Mitchell Yoshitake’s layup gave Yoho’s a 32-29 halftime lead.

A 9-zip run keyed by M. Yoshitake (20 points) pushed the Yoho’s (3rd Place Gardena AM) out to a 44-34 advantage. Scott Uyeshima scored six straight and with help from Mason Mellor (21 points), Dodgers (3rd Place Saturday Hamilton) closed to 47-46 with 6:35 left in regulation.

Yoho’s managed to increase their lead with layups, 51-46 and 54-49. S. Uyeshima’s two fts and a trey by Kento Koyama (12) cut the deficit to 56-54, 2:35 left. John Yoshitake (11) hit a short jumper and Scott Saida’s (11) charity made it five points again, 59-54. With 1;45 on the clock, Brandon Ito (14) tripled and after getting the ball back, Mason Mellor’s shot from the key tied the game at 59-all with 45s. remaining. Neither team could connect forcing overtime.

John Yoshitake made a layup only for Dodger Ryan Yoshiyama to match with his own layup. With 2m. left, Ito completed a conventional three-point play and a 64-61 HD lead. M. Yoshitake sank a ft with 1:20 on the clock. HD ran the clock down and got the ball back to run some more time. Keith Louie hit a single ft and with 14s. left, Ito’s two fts sealed the win, 68-62.

Yoho’s (62)—Jor. Yoshitake 9, M. Yoshitake 20, M. Price, Joh. Yoshitake 11, S. Saida 11, R. Hosozawa 6, Ji. Yoshitake 5, B. Imamura.
Hollywood Dodgers Black (68)(OT)—Ma. Mellor 21, K. Louie 1, R. Yoshiyama 4, S. Uyeshima 10, Me. Mellor 2, K. Koyama 12, B. Ito 14, D. Uyeshima 4.

* * *
Taking control in the second half, Entourage squashed a tired Westside Tiger outfit, 73-57.

Champions of the Saturday Hamilton competition, Entourage had five players in double digits. Con Luong had 15 points, Brahmon Graves 13, Vince Lee 12, Dan Takehara 11 and Sei Wei Lee 11.

Four of the six Tigers (3rd Place Sunday Hamilton) hit double figures, let by Stan Nomura’s 17. Jodi Komesu made 15, Justin Lui 12 and Don Kim 10.

Westsiders made a game of it in the first half, hitting 9 treys. A closing run by Kim and Komesu had Tigers trailing by just one at the break, 42-41.

Early in the second half, Entourage powered away with a 12-3 run, resulting in a 56-49 lead with 12:25 left. Tigers upped their physical defense and attacked the key, closing to 55-51 with 8:15 on the clock. But, Westsiders ran out of gas, scoring just two points the rest of the way and Entourage coasted home.

Westside Tigers (57)—J. Lui 12, D. Kim 10, D. Hong, S. Nomura 17, J. Komesu 15, T. Nomura 3.
Entourage (73)—B. Graves 13, K. Ogawa, C. Luong 15, S. Lee 11, V. Lee 12, G. Yoshino 4, D. Takehara 11, L. Sakata 7.

* * *
SB Quicksilver A scored the final eight points of the game to stun Centinela Black, 53-49, at Gardena HS.

Centinela’s Nick Lee made two fts with 2:09 left to give the second place team out of Gardena AM a 48-45 lead. Masa Lau put back a rebound at at 1:21, it was a one-point game. Quicksilver (1st Place Gardena AM) had another defensive stop and Brad Tokita converted a rebound for the lead, 49-48, 29s. left. Closing free throws by Lau and Kyle Taniguchi shut the refrigerator door.

Quicksilver came out with intensity and after their first rotation of subs, led 15-zip. Jason Tamashiro (16) and Lau (13) did much of the scoring. Centinela (2nd Place Gardena AM) responded with their own fire as Mike Noguchi (11) and Chris Castillo eventually forced a tie at 21-all. Quicksilver went inside to Lau and regained the lead by halftime, 27-24.

With their legs refreshed, Quicksilver sprinted out in the second half. Tamashiro led the way to a 39-28 margin. And, like the first half, Centinela picked up their energy. Over a 6:30 stretch, keyed by Todd Nakatsuka and Keith Waite, Centinela went ahead, 43-42. Two minutes later, a trey from the corner by Kip Tashiro completed their 18-3 run and a 46-42 margin.

Tamashiro powered and completed his “and one”, only for Lee’s charities to make it 48-45, Centinela.

SB Quicksilver A (53)—B. Nakashima, B. Tokita 5, K. Watanabe 7, K. Taniguchi 4, M. Nakashima, D. Tamashiro 3, N. Kahawai 2, J. Tamashiro 16, M. Lau 13.
Centinela Black (48)—M. Nagata 6, M. Noguchi 11, B. Mitsuuchi, N. Lee 8, T. Nakatsukasa 4, C. Hiroshi-Castillo 7, A. Gungap, K. Tashiro, K. Waite 7.

* * *
Big Dogs featured too many offensive weapons and they wore down the Cubs, 74 to 63, at Gardena.

Finishing atop the Sunday Hamilton league, Blue Dogs were led by Justin Wong and his 23 points. Garret Yee scored 15 points and Storn Tin made 12. Cubs (2nd, Gardena PM) showcased their young talent of Jacob Gee and Jason Campbell with 29 and 16 points. Veteran Paul Okui dropped in 11.

Like many games, the teams took turns scoring in bunches. Big Dogs behind Wong and Ron Fukute opened an 11-4 lead. Gee, P. Okui and J. Campbell reversed it for Cubs, 21-15. After trading scores, Big Dogs had a 12-4 drive and a 33-30 halftime lead.

Five minutes into the second half, the Dawgs did it again. Yee had a hot hand during a 10-2 run for a 52-43 advantage and 12:57 left to play. Cubs found their shooting touch but they lost ground to the duo of Yee and Wong. With 2:52 remaining, Big Dogs had increased their lead to 69-53.

Cubs (63)—J. Gee 29, T. Tashima 1, M. Okui 2, J. Campbell 16, G. Campbell 3, P. Okui 11.
Big Dogs (74)—C. Yeung 5, J. Morimoto, J. Wong 23, B. Yoshimura 6, C. Yamashita 4, R. Fukute 9, G. Yee 15, S. Tiv 12.

* * *
Sunday, April 15th at Rancho Dominguez Prep

A Minor
9:00am-Mortar Forkers vs MU Strokers
10:30am-No-Names vs Mavericks

A Major
12:00pm-SB Quicksilver A vs Big Dogs
1:30pm-Entourage vs Hollywood Dodgers Black

A Plus Quarterfinals
Sunday, April 15th at Gardena HS

10:00am-Air One vs FOR Magic
11:30am-FOR Quicksilver A+ vs James Real Estate Ironmen
1:00pm-Coast Tigers vs FOR North Torrance Optometry
2:30pm-Bruins YG vs GI Quicksilver

* * *
So. Cal Finals
Sunday, April 22nd at Rancho Dominguez Prep

10:00am-A Minor
11:45am-A Major

Sunday, April 22nd at Rancho Dominguez Prep

1:30pm-A Plus
3:15pm-A Plus
5:00pm-Tigers Blue vs Nakatani
6:45pm-Pacific Pride Quicksilver vs Westside Lions

* * *
North/South State Finals
Sunday, April 29th at Rancho Dominguez Prep

10:00am-A Minor
11:45am-A Major

So. Cal Finals
Sunday, April 29th at Rancho Dominguez Prep

1:30pm-A Plus

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