Japan Nippon Tornadoes return and open in Bellingham Friday
The IBL has an exclusive relationship with the Basketball Japan League (bj-League) including the participation of the Nippon Tornadoes featuring japanese players, many from the bj-League, following their dream, gaining experience and building for the future of basketball in Japan.
The Nippon Tornadoes head to Whatcom Pavillion on Friday to take on the 2012 IBL Champions, the Bellingham Slam. This is Japan’s first game for the 2013 season and will be exciting for fans as the Tornadoes bring in international talent. The game will start with the welcoming of the Japan flag, and the Japan national anthem will be sung. "We're exciting to welcome the Nippon Tornadoes back to Bellingham for the second straight season. It is always a treat for our fans to play against an international team. I am hopeful for competitive games again the Tornadoes this season." General Manager of the Bellingham Slam, Kip Leonetti stated.
Japan will be bringing their best game to the court and both Head Coach Ryutaro Onodera and assistant Coach Tatsumi Nishida think they have a chance at playoffs this year as they are now playoff eligible as a full season team. Japan’s standing record in 2012 was 1-12 and this year they have high goals of getting some big wins. With Nippon’s strong point guards and shooting guards such as Takato Hara from Tokai University and Hikaru Sasaki from Tsukuba University, Nippon is ready to take on Bellingham. Starting off the season playing the 2012 IBL Champions for the first game is a challenge for any team, but the Tornadoes are ready to take them on and continue working hard this season.
Our Japanese friends have sister Cities in many IBL Cities, and our partner league, the premier men`s professional basketball league in Japan, the Basketball Japan League (bj-League) boast teams from the same areas. Tateyama city (Chiba) is the sister city to Bellingham, WA, the Chiba Jets are the bj-League’s team representing Chiba, and current Head Coach, Shinji Tomiyama was a former coach for the Tornadoes who moved to the bj-League after his experience in the IBL. Joyo Town (Kyoto) is another sister City, related to Vancouver, WA which host the Kyoto Hannaryz of the bj-League. The Hannaryz roster this season included the number one pick in the 2012 bj-League draft (non-import), 6’3” G Masaharu (Masa) Kataoka. Masa averaged 10ppg this season in the bj-League and last season averaged 21ppg with the Nippon Tornadoes in the IBL, gaining a D-League workout. Masa will return to the Japan Nippon Tornadoes this season continuing to work toward achieving his goals and reaching for his dreams.
Battle of the Bridges Part II: Portland hosts Vancouver
#23 6'9" F Jared Cunningham, Portland Chinooks defending fellow 2012 IBL All Star #20 6'6" F Chehales Tapscott, Vancouver Volcanoes both averaging a double double so far this season
Portland and Vancouver meet again in a dueling of Battle of the Bridges Part II this Saturday, this time in Portlands house, Eastmoreland Courts. In their last meeting on April 26, Vancouver took the score over Portland. Vancouver hosted Portland on their home court at O’Connell Center in their home opener and succeeded in their first home win of the season while reeling in Portland. Vancouver made 45% of its shots at their last meeting with Portland, a vast improvement from its home opener when the team shot 34% from the field. 2012 IBL All Star 6’7” F Alex Hartman was among the eight Vancouver players in double figures with 20 points. Portland, playing its first game of the season, was led by fellow All Star 6’9” F Jared Cunningham's 34 points and 13 rebounds, which earned him Player of the Week. “We were fortunate to get a win against Portland without David Lucas in our first game at home. I'm expecting them to have a full roster, which will make it a very difficult road game,” Head Coach Joe Navarro, Vancouver Volcanoes shared. With the great player relationships on and off the court between Portland and Vancouver, fans can expect another intense Battle of the Bridges.
Known as the ``Clown Prince of Basketball`` former Harlem Globetrotter Meadowlark Lemon will be in attendance at the game as they will be teaming up to promote Portland’s commitment to developing athletic talent. Meadowlark will be introduced as his newest member of the Portland Chinooks Advisory Board. “We are extremely excited about this opportunity to bring aboard one of the most recognizable names in family entertainment. Meadowlark is a sports icon who has brought smiles to millions of people all over the world. I want to urge all of our fans to come out this Saturday and meet this great American Sports Legend Meadowlard Lemon” Chinooks owner Terry Emmert shared.
IBL Game Recaps
Portland Chinooks took on Bellingham Slam in 2012 IBL Championship re-match
Portland Chinooks hosted the Bellingham Slam on Friday evening at their new venue, Eastmoreland Courts for their 2013 season home opener. After Portland lost to Bellingham in the 2012 IBL Championship last year, it was Portland’s chance to make a comeback. After a competitive first three quarters that saw a number of lead changes, the Slam trailed while Portland started to build a lead into the final frame. Portland then went cold and Bellingham took the lead and control of the game winning a hard-fought contest against the Portland Chinooks, 112-103.
Vancouver hosts the Admirals and stay undefeated at home
Sabres opening weekend in the IBL
Another victory was won for the Vancouver Volcanoes at home at O’Connell Center against the Kitsap Admirals on Saturday, increasing their win streak to three games. If Vancouver keeps it up they will possibly beat their old home record of 13-0 they had in their championship run in 2011.
On Saturday, Kitsap and Vancouver were tied at the end of the first quarter, but Vancouver blew the game open by outscoring Kitsap 40-19 in the third quarter. Vancouver led by as much as 40 points at the third quarter leading 131-91. 6’3” G Kevan West was Vancouver’s’ leading scoring with 21 points, and the IBL Player of the Week 6’3” G Tysaiah Curry of Kitsap scored 23 points in the losing effort. Vancouver increased their IBL win streak to three games with a 131-93 victory over Kitsap.
The Salem Sabres hosted their opening weekend at Chemeketa Community College on Saturday versus the 2012 IBL Champion Bellingham Slam and on Sunday the 2011 Champs, the Vancouver Volcanoes. Taking on these two champion teams right from the start can be a challenge for any team, but the Salem held their own, kept their scores high and had fans engaged in a great game.
The Sabres had a quick jump start in their game against the Bellingham Slam on Saturday evening. Salem came out of the gate on fire in their franchise's first IBL game, racing out to a 17-7 lead by the first time out. Bellingham responded by battling back to take a 31-29 lead into the second quarter. 6’6” F Cory Largent took high scorer honors with 23 points, but that was not enough to save the game for the Sabres. 6’4” G Jacob Stevenson led seven Slam players in double figures with 28 points. Rookie 5’11” G Rico Wilkins enjoyed his best night of his young pro career with 27 points on 7-for-13 shooting from three-point game. Despite the big lead, Bellingham's defense refused to rest in the fourth quarter, as they held Salem to 19 points. Bellingham defeated Salem, 143 to 104.
On Sunday in the Vancouver game, the Sabres fought hard to keep up with the Volcanoes whom had a strong lead in the first quarter of the game. The Sabres trailed the Volcanoes 31-16 after the first quarter, yet came back to with a 25 point difference in the third quarter, still behind the Volcanoes 96-71. Salem’s own 2012 IBL All Star 6’6” F Cory Largent led the team with 27 points and 3 assists, as well as high scorer 6’9” Daniel Deane, now on the Salem roster after starting the season with Vancouver, with 19 points. Vancouvers 2012 IBL Most Improved Player and IBL All Star, 6’4” F Paul Hafford scored a game-high 34 points on 12 of 17 shooting for the Volcanoes and 6’7” F Alex Hartman also had a big game with 27 points on 10 of 19 shooting. Salem fought hard yet was defeated by Vancouver, 131 to 111.
Next up Salem is on the road in a re-match versus Vancouver, this time at their house, Clark College, but Coach Navarro with the Vancouver Volcanoes knows it will be work to keep defending their home court, where they have not lost a game this season. “Salem will be ready for us since we just played them last week, a lot of their players are still getting adjusted to the speed we play at in IBL. We must do a much better job defending Cory (Largent) if we want to get another win.”
IBL Player of the Week- Tysaiah Curry
Presented by Phiten, #23 Tysaiah Curry of the Kitsap Admirals has been named IBL Player of the Week. This 6’3” Guard has recently started playing in the IBL and by averaging 27ppg, 7.5apg, 3.5spg to be a stats leader in three out of five categories, 3rd in rebounds at 10.5rpg just behind the two leaders from last season, adding 1 bpg, is a stand out member of the Admirals.
Owner and Head Coach Ashley Robinson of the Kitsap Admirals seems to think so as well. "I have known the Curry family for 10 years now. I have played with and against the older brothers Termaine and Trivone and now I have the honor to coach Tysaiah. Tysaiah is a pillar for the Admirals on and off the court. He is a player that listens, I can depend on to deliver and will leave it all on the floor every night. He is a player that will be an asset to any team on any level!”
Curry is the middle child to two older and one younger brother who also play basketball at various colleges such as Central Washington University. Curry’s mother and father also played basketball, and Curry says he takes after his mother. His mother was All American in high school and is the one who taught the game to him.
After the losses the Admirals faced the past two weekends, Curry is ready to get back to practicing harder than ever, especially after being named Player of the Week. “It’s a great honor to be named POTW. I play basketball because I love the sport and this makes me want to play even more. It’s giving me the motivation to play harder.” Curry stated. “It’s time for us to bounce back in the game and get practicing after those losses. We need a lot of focus and no days off. We can do it with practice and hopefully win some games.” Curry concluded.
View Tysaiah Curry's full player profile here.