Ray Parks and the Nagoya Diamond Dolphins have secured a spot in the playoffs of the 2021-22 B.League season after holding on for an 89-86 triumph against the San-En NeoPhoenix on Sunday at the Toyohashi City Gymnasium.
Parks made four of five shots to finish with 15 points along with five assists and two steals, while Scott Eatherton had a 25-point, 11-rebound double-double in Nagoya's win.
The Diamond Dolphins improved to 30-13, holding onto the third seed in the Western Conference. After the game, they confirmed their participation in the B.League Championship 2021-22, the first time in three seasons that they reached the playoffs.
Nagoya's win also spoiled the return of Thirdy Ravena to San-En. Ravena had eight points, four assists, and three rebounds in his first game back since April 6, having missed six games due to health and safety protocols.
The NeoPhoenix trailed by as much as 17 points but rallied late and were within two points, 85-83, off an Elias Harris dunk with 21 seconds to go. But Takumi Saito made two clutch free throws to help the Dolphins stay ahead, and a triple by Yoshiyuki Matsuwaki was too little, too late for San-En.
Parks made two free throws to peg the final score, and a Harris triple at the buzzer missed its mark as Nagoya escaped with the win.
San-En fell to 10-42 as they lost a third straight game. Harris had 26 points and eight boards in the defeat.
KIEFER, SHIGA HOLD ON TO BEAT HIROSHIMA
In another game, Kiefer Ravena and the Shiga Lakestars held on for an 82-80 victory against the Hiroshima Dragonflies at the YMIT Arena.
Ravena scored 16 points on an efficient 4-of-7 clip, while also registering six assists and three steals in 30 minutes. Novar Gadson fired 26 points, while Sean O'mara had a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards for Shiga.
Shiga played catch-up for most of the second half before a transition bucket by Reon Shibuta put them ahead for good, 73-72, midway through the fourth frame. Ravena assisted on a Gadson layup and a three-pointer from Naoto Moriyama to push their lead to six, 78-72, with just three and a half minutes to go.
The Dragonflies got within three points, 82-79, with 34 seconds to go off a split at the line by C. Jackson, and Shiga left the door open when Teppei Kashiwagura missed a triple on the other end. But off a Ravena foul, Naoto Tsuji made just one of two free throws, and Gadson controlled the board as time expired.
Nick Mayo had 24 points and six assists for Hiroshima.
The Lakestars improved to 14-37 in the season, with two wins in their last five games.
Also triumphant were Dwight Ramos and the Toyama Grouses, who grabbed an 85-80 victory against Kyoto Hannaryz at the Kyoto City Gymnasium.
Ramos had six points, three rebounds, and three assists in 29 minutes to help the Grouses nab back-to-back wins for a 22-32 record. Brice Johnson (27 points, 11 rebounds) and Julian Mavunga (24 points) led the way in the win.
The Grouses trailed 80-79 with 1:32 to play, but scored the last six points of the contest to snatch the win. A jumper by Johnson with 1:18 left gave them the lead for good.
Meanwhile, Javi Gomez de Liaño scored 17 points in a losing effort, as the Ibaraki Robots fell 84-77 to Levanga Hokkaido.
Gomez de Liaño came off the bench and also contributed five rebounds and three assists, as Ibaraki played with just seven men in the game. Atsunobu Hirao led the team with 34 points.
The Robots fell to their second straight loss, giving them a 14-34 record.