Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2022 |
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KAPAA — The Warrior boys found its stride in the latter of this past Kauai Interscholastic Federation season.
After losing in the season’s first round playoff game, Kapaa (8-2 KIF, 4-0 2nd round, 1-1 playoff) went on to win the next five games — going 4-0 in the second round and winning the championship playoff game versus Kauai High.
“I think we found out what we were doing, and what we had to do, to kind of win out the KIF,” said Kapaa varsity boys basketball head coach John Kaneholani during Tuesday’s practice in Kapaa.
The Warriors coach hopes the team will continue to ride that wave when he and the boys go to Oahu for the OC16 Boys Basketball Championships – Division II state tournament.
“I hope we continue to play a lot better,” Kaneholani said. “We’re going to play a tough team.”
Kapaa is seeded No. 3 in the tournament will play University Laboratory School of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the opening round. That quarterfinals match is scheduled for 5 p.m. today at Farrington High School in Honolulu.
Kaneholani said while it’s good to be seeded, he’s not putting much stock in it because every team in the competition will be good.
“To me, seedings doesn’t mean much. Who you play means a lot,” he said. “There is no weak teams in the state tournament. There’s only eight teams in there. So, everybody is good in there. So, we got to make sure that we’re ready to play.”
Warriors senior forward Mosese Fifita said practices have picked up intensity leading up to states.
“It’s not different. Just harder,” he said. “More conditioning, more footwork and more fundamentals.”
Fifita added: “We just have to stick to the game plan and do what our coaches say — listen to what our coaches say because they’ve been there. Do what they say, work as a team and stick to the fundamentals, and we’ll be good.”
Kaneholani said his team and University are similar and should make for an interesting opening game.
“They have the same makeup as we do. They have big guys. They have guards that are quick, guards that can shoot. And we have that, too,” he said. “We got to find out what we’re going to do — if we’re going to be conservative or be aggressive.”
“If we can shoot the long ball, that would be an advantage to us. Our big boys are good under the board. They’ll fight for the rebound. That’s an advantage for us, too,” he added. “Other than that, we just got to stay together and play as a team.”
Senior forward Christopher Yam added playing well on defense will be key.
“(I want to) just work hard and make sure that nothing gets in my head — just stay focused,” Yam said. “Coach guys told us that they have a few bigs that are (good fundamentally), and that it will be tough to beat them.”
Kaneholani hopes the team is primed and will take advantage of the opportunity.
“I’m looking forward to see how these boys react to the game, the chance they’re going to have to be part of the state tournament,” he said. “Whether we win or lose, they’re going to enjoy it. I know they are, because a lot of them are playing for the first time.”
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