Team Japan in Australia
The Japanese men’s team for athletes with an intellectual disability were in Melbourne last week to participate in the annual Ivor Burge Championships.
The team competed against Australian State and Territory teams, dramatically making it through to the Final after losing their first three games of the tournament. However they stumbled at the final hurdle, going down 88-52 to the Victoria Metro team who extended their run of Ivor Burge Championships Gold Medals to 11.
Following the completion of the tournament, where the Japanese team were well received and supported by the Australian basketball fans for their spirit, the team faced the Australian Boomerangs in an International friendly on Sunday. The Boomerangs came away with a win on home soil, finishing the game 76-56.
The game got off to a slow-scoring start, with only 11 points scored in the first 5 minutes, but once Frazer Dawber and Jarrod Thompson started scoring from inside and outside the arc respectively, the Boomerangs completed the first period with a 23-8 advantage. The Japanese found more form in the second, out- rebounding the Aussies and finding Nakagawa who scored 9 in the period, bringing the Boomerangs lead down to 9 at the half-time break.
Japan weren’t able to maintain the pressure, however, as the lead ballooned to 17 in the third quarter and edged up to 20 in the last, to give the Boomerangs the win.
Thompson (22 points) and Dawber (16 points and 9 rebounds) were the standout scorers for the Boomerangs and were ably assisted by the Kinross brothers; Wayne finishing with 12 points and Brad with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Both with double-doubles, Akira Takayama (13 points, 17 rebounds) and Subaru Takagi (10 points, 16 rebounds) were outstanding for Japan, along with Yuichiro Nakagawa who scored 13 points before being forced from the game by injury in the final period.
This was an important hit-out for both teams who are preparing for the Global Games to be held in Ecuador in September. Basketball Australia and AUSRAPID are thankful to the Japanese team for their visit, and hope to see them back again at the 2016 Ivor Burge tournament.