KAPA‘A — Run, dribble, run.
Or, is it dribble, run, dribble? The Termites were swarming at the Bernice Hundley Gymnasium at Kapa‘a High School Tuesday night during the halftime of the Kaua‘i Interscholastic Federation (KIF) girls’ basketball game.
Four players positioned themselves at the corners of the paint, with one manning the ball at the charity stripe.
The players were facing the wrong way, as the Kilauea Panthers’ coach, David Mireles, who also wears the hat of principal at Kula High & Intermediate School, gave the signal, and the Mitey Mite game was on, as the black-shirted Panthers dribbled, ran and dribbled downcourt to the waiting defenders, the Kilauea Black Dragons, who wore white shirts.
Coached by Philip Baclayan, who was earlier in the year at the helm of the Kapa‘a High School boys’ basketball team, the Dragons snagged the rebound, and ran, dribbled, ran, and shot.
All of this to the delight of the fans who urged on the aspiring players.
“Twenty-one games a day,” said Bill Troutman, site coordinator for the Kilauea program. “We start at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, and the last game tips off at 6 p.m.” Troutman said the Termite basketball program started on April 1, and runs each Saturday through May 6.
However, this Saturday, Troutman explained that only the older, refereed games will take place, starting at 1 p.m., because of all the Easter egg hunts that will be taking place in the community.
In addition to the youngsters who range in age from kindergarten (5 and 6) through grade six (11 and 12), Troutman said the highlight of the day is the game featuring the termite players and the Kilauea seniors.
“That game starts at 10:30 a.m.,” said Mark Ozaki, Kaua‘i Police Activities League (K-PAL) director earlier in the week while watching his daughter compete at a swim meet.
The Termite program is made possible through the cooperative effort of the Boys & Girls Club Kapa‘a Clubhouse, and K-PAL, Troutman said.
Because the Boys & Girls Club program doesn’t cover the 5-6 year olds, K-PAL stepped in to cover that age group.
Overall, Troutman said the league has 28 teams, including one senior-citizen squad, three teams from the North Shore, and three teams who come up from Kapa‘a to play in Kilauea.
The Termite basketball program was originally started by the county’s Department of Public Works Offices of Community Assistance Recreation Agency, before being taken over by the Boys & Girls Club.
Similar programs take place from Kilauea to Waimea on Saturdays in April. Those sites include the Kilauea Neighborhood Center, Kapa‘a Middle School, Kalaheo Neighborhood Center, and the Boys & Girls Club Waimea Clubhouse.
Additionally, due to the number of teams, there are some weekday games to accommodate the large number of youngsters who participate in the program.
On May 6, Troutman said the season will close with a goodwill tournament, where he hopes teams from the other programs will come to spend the day in Kilauea.
“Everyone gets to play,” Troutman said. “The season is going well.” Meanwhile, Lisa Mireles, the wife of coach David Mireles as well as the principal of Kula Elementary School, explained that their daughter couldn’t sleep last night because she was so excited about playing in the big gym.
“It’s all about the kids,” said Troutman, whose daughter Caroline Troutman is on the Kapa‘a High School girls’ varsity team.
• Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or email@example.com.