After one month into the 2009-2010 season, the Shiga Lakestars lead the Western Conference in the bj-league with 7 wins and 3 losses as of November 1, 2009. They won five home games in a row until November 1 when they lost to Takamatsu Five Arrows.
I went to see a game this past two weekends on October 24 (Sat.) against Osaka Evessa in Moriyama (photos here) and on October 31 (Sat.), 2009 in Hikone against Takamatsu Five Arrows (photos here). The game against Osaka was most exciting since it was a very close game. Osaka was a tough team, but in the end our Lakestars came out on top at 66-64. They also beat Osaka the next day in another close game at 83-80.
Unfortunately, Fujiwara Takamichi, the team captain and point guard, suffered a dislocated shoulder on October 25 against Osaka. He will be out of action for several weeks. You can see him at games with a shoulder and arm brace. I wonder how he sleeps.
The game against Takamatsu this past Sat. wasn’t a cliffhanger, as Shiga led comfortably most of the way, but it was exciting to watch as well. It was also the first time the Lakestars were playing in Hikone. Ticket prices in Hikone were higher than usual. Too bad they lost the next day though, 81-91. The Lakes missed too many shots and free throws. It was their third loss. Kind of surprising since Takamatsu is in last place in the Western Conference with 2 wins and 6 losses. Even though they lost their first home game on November 1 against Takamatsu, the Lakestars showed the spirit of never giving up all the way to the end. We have to give them credit for that. That game was broadcast live by the Biwako Broadcasting Company (BBC).
Anyway, the Shiga Lakestars are really on a roll, still in first place in the Western Conference. Of course, they still have a long way to go with over 40 more games to play. But it’s a great start and it really boosts morale among the players, coaches, and fans. I’m sure the players will work extra hard to hang onto this No. 1 rank.
Hopefully the Lakestars will continue to do well and in turn attract more fans to see them play. I’ll try to see as many games as I can this season (more than the four games I saw last season). Even though I still disagree with the design of their uniforms with a company’s name (“Goal Free,” which is pretty silly since in English, it means the team has no goals) displayed more prominently than “Shiga Lakestars.” You can’t really tell what team it is at a glance. I wish the bj-league would recognize that the teams should be promoting the respective locale first, and companies second.
Photos of Lakestars vs. Osaka here (Oct. 24, 2009 in Moriyama).
Photos of Laketstars vs. Takamatsu here (Oct. 31, 2009 in Hikone).
My English page for the Lakestars (game schedule, venue locations, player bios, etc.)
Japan Times article about Lakestars in 1st place (Oct. 31, 2009)