KAPAA — Kiarra Palacio, an 11th grade student at Waimea High School, said she started coming to the Agena basketball clinic from when she was in the first or second grade.
Her brother, Brandon, a Menehune basketball standout, was still in high school at the time she started. He has since graduated and was at the Bernice Hundley Gym on Tuesday to help coach the nearly 70 students who took in the three-day clinic that wraps up Wednesday afternoon.
“This is a good clinic,” Kiarra said. “I’ve been coming every time they’ve hosted it. They make you work on things you should know — you know, fundamentals.”
Basketball coach Dennis Agena led the clinic which is open to students in the fifth through 12th grades and coinciding with the Department of Education Fall Break.
“This is amazing,” said Karen Matsumoto of the Kauai Youth Basketball Association, who co-sponsors the clinic with the County of Kauai Department of Parks and Recreation. “I found material from a clinic he hosted eight years ago, and he’s still going. We were worried about coaches coming to help him, so it is good that Brandon Palacio and Marissa Martinez, former clinic participants, came to help out.”
Braelyn Cayaban is a four-year participant in the clinic, bringing her Kaulupono Basketball team mate Kierstin Gummerus to the clinic for the first time.
“I like the drills,” Gummerus, a point guard, said. “There’s one for driving, and I like the ‘Make A Move and Drive’ drill.”
Matsumoto said the county’s Transportation Department makes a special run from the Westside to help kids get to the clinic.
“The students get charged the student rates, and the bus makes stops in Kalaheo and Hanamaulu for students,” Matsumoto said. “Coach Bob Kamakele of Kaulupono Basketball rides the bus the entire route to tend to the players. It’s amazing how much dedication our coaches have for the players.”
Jaliyah Casem, a 10th grade student at Kapaa High School, said she’s been attending the clinic since she was in the third, or fourth grade.
“My basketball coach and my mom both wanted me to come,” Casem said. “They kept track of these clinics and made sure I didn’t miss any. Attending the clinics have been good, especially in learning ball handling skills. They also make you learn the fundamentals.”
Charlie Brown III, now 11 years old, said he’s been attending the clinic since he was 7 years old.
“You got to work on the fundamentals,” Brown said. “And they make you do it in the hardest way possible.”