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‘Bittersweet feeling’

One of the most decorated girls basketball players to come out of the Kauai Interscholastic Federation is about to end her college career.

“I feel pretty pretty good,” said Kauai High School alumna and Chaminade University of Honolulu senior guard Kristle Henry. “I’ve grown a lot as a person on and off the court. There’s nothing more I can ask for. I’m thankful to be given the opportunity to play for Chaminade and to have a free education. It’s just, words can’t express how thankful I am.”

Henry will lace them up for the last time for the Silverswords, as Chaminade will host Hawaii Pacific University at 5 p.m. at the McCabe Gym in Honolulu.

“It’s a bittersweet feeling,” Henry said in a phone interview Friday. “A part of me is sad because I’ve been playing since I was 5 years old. That’s been my whole life, but part of me is ready for a new chapter in my life. So, bittersweet: half good and half bad.”

Before attending Chaminade on a scholarship, Henry graduated from Kauai High in 2013 as one of the school’s most accomplished student-athletes:

w Four-time KIF Girls Basketball All-Star

w 2013 KIF Girls Basketball Player of the Year

w Two-time KIF champion (2012, 2013)

w Two-time Hawaii High School Athletic Association Division II girls basketball all-tournament team

w Kauai High School runner-up in 2012 HHSAA D2 tournament

w Kauai High School third place in 2013 HHSAA D2 tournament

At Chaminade, Henry continued to rack up the stats.

She is currently tied all-time in the school’s history for most career steals with 166.

“One thing, for sure, I want to get at least one more steal to beat that record here,” Henry said. “Other than that, not so much. I just want play, have fun and have a good time out there and just enjoy myself.

“Also, the fact that my family is going to be there, it means a lot to me,” she continued. “My mom and my dad, and also some family coming down from Ohio. It just so happened they’re coming for a vacation at the same time as this game. So, it’s nice to have other family who have never watched me play before come to watch this game.”

Henry also has the Chaminade record for most steals in a single season with 57, which was set in her sophomore year, and she tied the program’s record for most steals in a single game with six — twice.

Among her other accomplishments as a Silversword are:

w Second all-time in career rebounds (377)

w Second all-time in career assists (248)

w Third all-time in career scoring (902)

w Third all-time in games started (82)

“I didn’t even know about the stats as I was playing,” she said. “The stats never really had an impact. It wasn’t about the stats. It was never about that. I played for the team, and just did what I could to help the team in the best way possible.”

Despite her statistical prowess, the Silverswords have not won many games in the last four years.

Chaminade currently is 3-20 overall with a 3-16 record in the Pacific West Conference.

From 2014 through 2016, the Silverswords women totaled just 15 wins — the best was the 2014-15 season in which the team had a 7-17 overall record with a 7-13 PacWest conference record.

“It was pretty frustrating,” she said. “It was all different because coming from Kauai High School, we did struggle at the beginning. My freshman and sophomore year, we struggled. But then we started finding that light and started winning.

“We were trying to figure out what we’re missing. Are we giving it our best? Are we not practicing hard enough? All the questions came up,” Henry continued. “But we did the best we could as a team and as a program. I don’t know. Even before our game tomorrow, I still question what we are missing. What do we need for this win? It’s been a long journey, but I’m still thankful.”

Despite the win-loss record, Henry said playing college ball the last four years has been worthwhile.

“Being able to play in D2 and leading my teammates, that’s probably the most rewarding aspect of all of this,” she said. “I’ve met some pretty great people in general. I couldn’t be more thankful for the teammates I have. They’re why I continue to play. They’re awesome.”

She will graduate from the school in May with a degree in psychology. She hopes to work as a personal trainer on Oahu afterward.

“I would like to say even though Kauai is such a small island and the exposure wouldn’t be as high as it would be on the mainland for a lot of students, just don’t lose hope,” she said. “It’s there if you pursue your dreams and do your best to do what you want to do. I do know a lot of people get discouraged because it’s Kauai and it’s a small island, but that means nothing. You just got to go out and do it. Don’t give up, and just keep working hard.”

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