KALAHEO — Grant Kidani, coach of the Honolulu Sharks, said the Kauai Lynx Veterans Day Weekend basketball tournament was about building bridges.
The Sharks, one of five teams in the eighth-grade division, had advanced to the semifinals of that group Sunday, and Kidani was busy coaching as well as getting photos of the girls on the floor.
“You can talk about building a team,” Kidani said. “But all the talk doesn’t mean as much as having to live with each other for a few days. For a lot of these girls, this is the first time they’ve traveled without either of their parents. It’s all about developing these young girls to become not just better basketball players, but better people.”
Teams participating in the eighth-grade division include the visiting Honolulu Sharks, Kaulupono, Mix Plate, Kauai Ballers and the LynxCon3, a team made up of Kauai Lynx and the Con3 Jacks, a team from Maui.
Team participating in the sixth-grade division include the Mix Plate, Kaulupono, LynxCon3 and the Kauai Lynx 5th.
In addition to playing through the pool format leading to seeding and eventual title, the Honolulu Sharks and the eighth-grade LynxCon3 hosted exhibition games against the Kapaa High School girls junior varsity squad.
“We wanted to play too,” said Monique Tomacder, a player with the Kauai High School program who was watching the semifinal game. “But by the time the coach came back with an answer, it was too late to work with Kauai Lynx coach Clarence Sales.”
Games started Friday afternoon and continued through Sunday at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
“You’ll find that more and more girls and women are taking big leadership positions like Hillary Clinton just running for the presidency,” Kidani said. “Women are filling in key corporate leadership positions. Having a tournament like this helps them because they can be playing hard and physical, but when the final whistle blows, you see them hugging and laughing and having fun. This is all about building bridges because the friendships they create will continue long after the ball is put away.”