- extremely tight game
- clinch ... title
- 優勝する（後出 win the title も同意）
- point guard
- 攻撃（後出 offensive ability は攻撃力）
- well‐integrated unit
- as a whole
- retake the lead
- pull off ～
- keen to ～
- roaring cheer
Toast of Tochigi
There was nothing B‐grade about the B‐League basketball final.
In an extremely tight, seesaw game, the Tochigi Brex defeated the Kawasaki Brave Thunders 85‐79 on May 27 to clinch the championship title in the league's inaugural season.
Tochigi's Furukawa Takatoshi, who scored 21 points including three 3‐pointers, was named the final MVP. With Jeff Gibbs, who joined the team this season, scoring a game‐high of 25 points, and veteran point guard Tabuse Yuta controlling the offense, Tochigi functioned as a well‐integrated unit at the packed Yoyogi National Gymnasium in Tokyo in front of a crowd of 10,144.
"I'm extremely happy to win the title as the team played as a whole," said fan‐favorite Tabuse, 36, the only Japanese person to have played in the NBA.
After finishing the first quarter locked at 21‐21, Eastern Division champion Brex led 43‐37 at the end of the first half. Central Division champion Kawasaki scored 26 points in the next quarter, gaining as much as a 6‐point advantage at one stage, but Brex retook the lead in the final quarter after Gibbs scored double‐digit points.
Kawasaki, the league's highest‐scoring team with an average of 84.3 points per game during the regular season, struggled to show its offensive ability. Point‐scoring king Nick Fazekas got the team the most points (23) but only scored 8 points in the first half. And 3‐point shooter Tsuji Naoto pulled off only one 3‐pointer out of seven attempts. Kawasaki Head Coach Kita Takuya concluded that a lack of accuracy played a decisive role in the defeat.
Keen to contribute to local communities, Tochigi is one of the most popular teams in the league. On May 27, Brex fans wearing yellow shirts － the team's official color － occupied more than 70 percent of the arena, lifting their players with roaring cheers.
"We wholeheartedly appreciate our fans who have pushed us to where we are now," Tabuse said.