| Score! This here is a Featured Match.
Rakuzan High vs Shūtoku High has been featured, meaning it was chosen as an article of interest.
|Rakuzan High vs Shūtoku High|
|Type||Winter Cup semi-finals|
|Final Score||86 – 70|
|Rakuzan High||Shūtoku High|
|Rakuzan High|| Seijuro Akashi|
|Shūtoku High|| Shintarō Midorima|
|Manga||Chapters 175 - 183|
|Anime||Episodes 54 - 57|
|Previous||Kaijō vs Fukuda Sōgō|
|Next||Kaijō vs Seirin|
Rakuzan High vs Shūtoku High is the first Winter Cup semi-finals. It is another match between two of the Generation of Miracles, these being Midorima against Akashi. The winner of this match, Rakuzan, would advance to the WC finals.
Both teams raced through the first three rounds and the quarter-finals quite easily and now face their first real challenge. Midorima and Akashi share history as vice-captain and captain and played a lot of shogi, but Akashi always won. This is the first time they have to play each other in basketball and Midorima is eager to teach Akashi the true meaning of defeat.
As both teams enter the gym, Shūtoku is announced as the Legendary King, while Rakuzan is honored as the Emperor of Creation. Both teams get ready and it surprising to see that Akashi is the captain and ring respected by everyone, even the second- and third-years.
As the players line up on the court, Midorima tells Akashi that he will definitely win. Akashi responds that that's impossible, since Akashi never loses. The tipoff is given and the ball goes to Takao. He fakes a drive and leaves the ball in Midorima's hands, who immediately takes a shot from the half-court and makes it. He once again declares that he is the one who is going to win and that he will teach Akashi defeat.
The 1st quarter continues with Midorima shooting threes as usual, though he refrains from shooting mid-court or full-court shots. During Rakuzan's attack, Akashi brings the ball upcourt and faces Takao. Takao was trusted with guarding Akashi, though he was expecting to be helpless, he can contain Akashi enough to shut down a drive. Instead, Akashi sends a pass inside to Nebuya, who scores. The first quarter ends with a 16 – 16 tie.
During the time-out, Rakuzan keeps the original gameplan, while Nakatani urges Shūtoku to make the first move. Midorima confronts Akashi about his scouting tactics, but Akashi denies that he's holding back, that the match will simply end before he should even do anything. Meanwhile, Shūtoku takes the offense and Midorima is suddenly guarded by two players. Takao anticipates this and passes to Miyaji instead, who goes up for a one-on-one against Hayama. Miyaji does a crossover between Hayama's legs and passes him. When Nebuya comes up to guard him, Miyaji passes the ball through to Ōtsubo, who dunks it. Hayama is scolded for taking it easy and Hayama says he'll go serious and receives the ball. He dribbles so fast and hard the ball seems to disappear and while Miyaji is still in awe, Hayama speeds up and passes him. Akashi reconfirms that there is no need for him to come out.
Passing Miyaji, Hayama goes for the basket and encounters Kimura underway, though he simply double clutches and lays it in. During the next Rakuzan attack, Hayama dribbles past Miyaji once more, lures Ōtsubo out and dishes it inside for Nebuya, who finishes. Meanwhile, Takao is panicking and gets the ball stolen by Akashi. Hayama receives it and goes for a counter, passing Miyaji again. He goes up for that lay-up but is unexpectedly blocked by Midorima. He then gets the ball again and uses a well put screen by Kimura to pass his double team, fakes a shot and passes it through to Miyaji, who dunks it in a fast break. Midorima claims that there's not a single person on the team who's a hindrance. Soon after, he closes the second quarter and the first half with a long-range three pointer, tying the game at 39.
During half time, the field is reserved for the next teams to play, in order to warm up. The second half commences with Shūtoku's possession. Midorima receives the ball and faces his mark, Akashi. As a very important play, the flow would most definitely go to the winner. Midorima posts Akashi up and suddenly goes upwards for the shot, using his advantage in height. However, having foreseen this with his Emperor Eye, Akashi steals the ball and goes for a fast-break. Takao catches up to him but is no match for Akashi's Emperor Eye, as he falls facing his ankle break. Akashi backs up to the free throw line and throws it in.
The following ten minutes, Rakuzan comes out on top, with Akashi using his Emperor Eye to the fullest and shutting down their opponents. The quarter ends with a 14-point lead for Rakuzan.
Two minutes into the final quarter, Kimura tries to screen out Akashi for Midorima to run free. However, using his Emperor Eye, Akashi foresees it and simply dodges it. Midorima receives the ball but is unable to move without endangering ball possession, due to Akashi's tight defense. Takao asks the ball back, but Akashi has already leapt forward and stolen the ball. Kimura and Miyaji immediately close in on him, but Akashi does a cross-over and makes them fall, dribbling past them in the process. Akashi reaches the basket and goes for the lay-up, but is met by Ōtsubo, who tries to block it. Akashi switches to a pass for Nebuya, who dunks it. During the next transition by Shūtoku, a rushed Takao tries to go for a lay-up, but is blocked by Mibuchi. Lightning fast, Akashi is already on the other side of the court but encounters Midorima on his way. However, he does another crossover and Midorima falls before the captain. Now a 20-point lead, the situation seems hopeless for Shūtoku. Against all odds, the second and third-years keep it together and motivate Midorima and Takao, who find new hope.
Takao dribbles the ball upcourt and takes his time setting up the offense. Seirin High, who's watching the game, comment and see that they're preparing for a high-risk strategy. With three seconds left on the 24-seconds clock, Midorima comes at odds with this being a gamble, but knows that he trusts his teammates. He sets himself ready for a shot, but without the ball. He starts his shooting motion and goes up, but still with no ball to actually shoot. Suddenly, a ball shoots inside his hands and Midorima fires, scoring the difficult three pointer. It was Takao who carefully aimed the ball in Midorima's hands, revealing their new cooperation skill. Akashi, his team and the bystanders are all amazed. During Rakuzan's next attack, Hayama misses a shot and it is rebounded intensely by Ōtsubo. The following fast-break, Takao passes it again to Midorima, who shoots it high up in the air and scores. Midorima declares that the game has only just begun.</p>
The Seirin team discusses the recent plays, saying that Midorima was facing the Emperor Eye for the first time and had to take a gamble in order to win. They also notice that Akashi's visibly getting pressured. Akashi is in ball possession and is guarded by Midorima. Akashi tells him to get out of the way and makes an anklebreak. Akashi makes it to the basket and goes up, however, Midorima has got back up already and meets Akashi at the basket, towering over him and blocking the ball's path. Akashi switches to a pass for Nebuya, who goes up for the dunk, but it is blocked by a ferocious Ōtsubo. Takao grabs the loose ball and speeds up to the middle line, where he hands it over to Midorima, who shoots and scores. Shūtoku is on a roll and has cut back the lead to 11 points. They immediately turn up the pressure and Midorima and Takao double team Akashi. Completely unexpected, Akashi backs up and shoots at his own hoop. He scolds his teammates not to slack off and says that if they lose, they can blame it on him for that own goal. He adds that as a symbol of his failing, he will gouge out his own eyeballs and give them to his team. Akashi's motivation has effect, as his Uncrowned Kings take the stage again and execute a smooth offense, when Hayama scores with a clean lay-up.
Approaching Midorima, Akashi then says that Midorima will no longer be able to even touch a ball... Midorima tells Akashi that stopping their (Takao and Midorima's) shots is impossible. Akashi tells Midorima that he's absolute. He further explains that he can see the future and it is but a simple matter to change it. It's Shutoku's possession and Takao is dribbling the ball. Takao is double teamed by Mibuchi and Mayuzumi. However, Takao does a turnaround and breaks through the double team. Midorima, having believed in Takao, is already in shooting position. Takao passes the ball, but it is intercepted by Akashi. Akashi then scores a lay up, making the score 75-62. Akashi then explains the flaws of Midorima and Takao's combination play. After pointing out the flaws was when Takao was surprised. He thought that he grasped Akashi's speed in the first half, but it was so subtle that he was surprised.Takao and Midorima are shocked. Eventually Midorima stated that he had fallen to Akashi's trap. He soon stated that shogi and basketball are the same, a strategic move only works when you plan ahead without the opponent aware of it. It is due to this that his plays are well-designed, which is from Ōtsubo's perspective. Shutoku's fans and bench players cheer Shutoku on. Mibuchi has the ball and scores a three pointer while being fouled by Takao. Mibuchi converts the free throw to complete the four point play. During the final seconds of the match, Akashi ankle breaks Midorima, stating that the match is over. Midorima refuses to give up and gets back up to try and block Akashi. However, he is unable to reach and Rakuzan wins, 86-70.
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 175, page 9
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 175, page 17
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 176, page 8
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 176, page 18
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 177, page 18
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 178, page 19
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 179, page 18
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 180, page 18
- ↑ Kuroko no Basuke chapter 181, page 19