Keaukaha returns to defend 17U title Thursday

Jay Mandaquit, a former state all-star basketball player, will be coaching Keaukaha from Hilo on the Big Island when the Kaua‘i Youth Basketball Association opens its 17 and Under boys basketball tournament Thursday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.

Karen Matsumoto, coordinator for KYBA, said there are four teams entered in the tournament, including Keaukaha.

Keaukaha returns to defend its tournament championship from last year, coached by Mandaquit who is currently coaching at Hilo High School and made an appearance at the Hawai‘i High School Athletic Association Division II games earlier this year.

At 6 p.m. Thursday, Hanakila, coached by Phil Baclayon who also coaches the Kapa‘a boys, opens against Waimea, coached by Aaron Hesapene, a former Menehune and current player with G.E.K. in the Men’s 18 and Over league, followed by Keaukaha meeting the Kaua‘i Ballers, coached by Willy Aki, coach of the Kapa‘a girls, at 7 p.m.

Friday night, the Kaua‘i Ballers take on Waimea starting at 6 p.m. followed by Keaukaha going up against Hanakila starting at 7 p.m.

Saturday will have Hanakila and Kaua‘i Ballers opening at 9 a.m. followed by Waimea meeting Keaukaha at 10 a.m.

The third place game will start at 11 a.m. followed by the championship match tipping off at noon.

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