CARSON.—The 2016 NAU State Championships were held Sunday with two games at Carson High School. Sabres Black and Yellow Storm were awarded titles in Aye Minor and Aye Major divisions, respectively.
Sacramento Sabres Black bested Mustangs, 71-68, in a closely contested from start to finish. While both teams matched each other in scoring, and the largest lead at any time was eight for Mustangs, six for Sacramento, their styles of play were direct opposites. Sabres often looked for a quick shot and did not hesitate to take long-range attempts. Mustangs were more deliberate, working down the clock, and looked for shots in the painted and mid-range areas. Sabres had 58 shot attempts, 26 from the three-point line compared to Mustangs 64 tries, 50 of them two-pointers. And so the game went. Sabres hit four triples in the early minutes but Mustangs countered with eight deuces to help take a 17-14 edge. Four points by Sabre Patrick Chen forced a 30-30 tie at half. Leng Ung came out firing for Sabres at the start of the second half, only for Mustangs to respond with three straight three-pointers by Wayley Louie, Hayashi and Dean Hashimoto and a post-up by Darin Hashimoto to take the largest lead of the game, 47-39. In the next 5m., Sacramento slashed back, starting with Neil Tsukiji’s trey from straightaway, and finishing with drives and layups by Ung, Mike Ojima and N. Tsukiji. With 6:45 left, Sabres grabbed a 57-53 lead. The lead changed hands three time before Ung’s triple and Chen’s layup put Sabres ahead for good, 67-63 at the 1:35 mark. Fts by Ryan Tsukiji and Neil Tsukiji made it 71-65 with 25.2s. remaining. With 10.8s. left, Darin Hashimoto fought double-time on the offensive glass, eventually grabbing the board and converting a three-point play. Sabres missed four fts to ice the game but played enough defense to run out the clock. Ung was named MVP, leading all scorers with 20 points, and he added 7 rebounds and three steals.
Yellow Storm wore down San Francisco Drakes Black and completed them off with a 26-1 run before posting a 67-49 victory. Stormers held a 55 to 31 edge on the backboards, which allowed them to cast 82 shots, 20 more than the visitors. Eric Lim grabbed 10 of those caroms and Scott Thi had nine board. Kyler Lee nabbed MVP honors with his nine rebounds and 29 points. Lee with help from Craig Liu opened up a 22-11 lead for YS. Drakes tried to find some offensive consistency but Storm led 32-24 at intermission. Aaron Koga put in 7 straight points to open the second half for Drakes. Two triples by Eric Lew helped push SF ahead, 38-34. Steve Song on a rebound basket, followed by a steal and drive tied the game and started the lightning for YS. Lee rained down 14 of his total and Liu thundered for three lay-ups, to give Storm a 60-39 margin.