Na Koa Green, Team Lihue set pace in Kapaa hoops

KAPAA — Alakai Gonsalves scored 14 points, including a pair from outside the three-point arc, and Brandon Murata added 12 points to lead Na Koa Green, an eighth-grade team, to a 66-11 showing over Yung Swag Saturday at the Bernice Hundley Gym.

This was just one of 13 games in pool play at the inaugural Na Koa Memorial Basketball Classic for players in sixth-grade and under, and eighth-grade and under.

“We have eight teams in the sixth-grade division, including one team from Maui, the Imua-Maui, and eight teams in the eighth-grade division,” said Kamahalo Kauhane, coach for Na Koa Green, an eighth-grade team and tournament coordinator. “It’s been hard because Dino Pabre’s summer league opened, and the county’s summer league is scheduled to open. We also had several teams who had planned to come from off-island cancel out.”

That did not deter the action as a series of four sixth-grade division games opened the tournament Friday night at the gym on the Kapaa High School campus.

Earlier Saturday, Team Lihue rolled over ISLE Blue in eighth-grade division pool play.

“These boys are going to sleep well tonight,” said Max Manera, coach for Team Lihue eighth-grade squad. “This is the boys’ fourth game today. They opened with two games in Kalaheo with Dino’s league and then came here for two more games. They won all four games. I thought they would get tired, but no, they won all their games.”

Manera and the team in yellow-shirts emblazoned with “Warriors” were not out of the woods, as they were scheduled to face Na Koa Gold in an 11 a.m. tipoff Sunday.

“This is the team,” Manera said. “They mostly Hanakila players, and Coach Kauhane is getting them ready for high school play.”

Championships for Na Koa Memorial Basketball tournament is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. today.

These teams, with the exception of the Imua-Maui, are a preview of the summer league. Coach Bobby Kamakele will release the schedule for the first week of play, which starts Tuesday at Kalaheo Neighborhood Center and Bernice Hundley Gym.

Two eighth-grade girls games are on tap in Kalaheo when Kaulupono hosts the Rebels in a 6 p.m. tipoff followed by the Kauai Lynx hosting the Dream Team in the 7 p.m. match. A sixth-grade girls game between Kaulupono and the Rebels will close the night starting at 8 p.m.

Over at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapaa, the eighth-grade Warriors open against Na Koa in a 6 p.m. tipoff followed by Isle Hoops taking on Yung Swag at 7 p.m. The 8 p.m. tipoff will see Tamba hosting Thunder.

Games are also scheduled for both sites on Thursday and Saturday starting at 6 p.m. each night.

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