LIHUE — Numerous young hoopsters congregated to the Garden Isle for the ninth annual Kauai Hoops Classic, which started Thursday.
Fifty teams from around the state and from Alaska comprised of players who are seventh through 12th graders are participating in the tournament.
“It’s fun. It’s exciting,” said Ipo Yoshioka, Kauai High School varsity boys basketball head coach. “Good for the Classic. Good for the island, and fun for everyone.”
During the four-day tournament, games will be played at the Kauai High School gym in Lihue, the Bernice Hundley Gym at Kapaa High School, Wilcox Gymnasium at Island School in Puhi and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Phenom 49, Team Supreme 40
Things at Kauai High School started with Phenom, a team from Maui, defeating Team Supreme, 49-40, in a 12th grade boys game.
Phenom built a seven-point lead by halftime and never relinquished it. Pressing and creating turnovers boded well for Phenom.
“This game, it was OK,” said Phenom coach Rene Yadao. “First game. We could have done more — less turnovers, and they were rushing their shots. Usually, they would be calming down towards the second half, which they did better. Second half, I think we did better.”
Bronson Ranches led Phenom in scoring with 22 points, six rebounds, two steals and an assist. Bryson Ranches had seven points and nine rebounds. Chey Higashiguchi had seven points and three rebounds.
Ethan Galisa led Team Supreme with 18 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block. Daymon Jzay Osay had six points, two 3-pointers in the first half, two steals and two rebounds.
Team Flex 45, Westside Basketball Club 26
Kauai’s WBC faced an uphill climb early on and couldn’t recover. WBC fell short to Oahu’s Team Flex in the tournament’s opening day at Kauai High, 45-26, in a 12th grade boys game.
“These teams from Oahu, they got a lot of speed. The speed was evident right off the bat,” said WBC coach Dino Pabre, who’s also the head coach of Waimea High School’s varsity boys basketball team. “Our kids just got to get adjusted to it a lot quicker than they did.
“Team Flex, they’re a good team. They’re an all-star team with guys from all different schools. They have an advantage when they get here. We’re just our school,” he continued. “Overall, the kids played hard. But when you dig yourself a hole, it’s hard to come out.”
Team Flex, last year’s ninth grade boys tournament winner, started with a 12-0 and kept the lead. The team’s speed was displayed with creating turnovers and running the fastbreak.
“That’s what we work on — getting out in transition and finishing in traffic, and playing high-tempo,” said Team Flex coach Mack McAlister. “If those guys do that, I think we can be successful.
“This is our second year last year. We won last year, so we want to repeat,” he continued. “Last year, we won a championship. This year, we want to compete at this level.”
DJ Pabre led WBC with 11 points, all in the second half, four rebounds and an assist. Taylon Yadao had nine points, all from 3-pointers in the first half, and one steal. Jacob Delos Reyes had four points, seven rebounds and a block.
Jamal Stone had 16 points, five steals and two rebounds. Jeremy Coloyan had 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists and a block.
Aiea Blazers 41, Shaka Hoops 2 25
Yoshioka, coaching two Shaka Hoops teams, saw his first team’s effort fall short in its opener.
Shaka Hoops 2 lost to the Aiea Blazers, 41-25, in a 12th grade boys game. Though the team had numerous shot attempts, most did not fall through.
“I thought they played a good game,” Yoshioka said. “We were outsized. Shots didn’t drop, but we played. We played hard. There’s some things we got to work on, but it was a fun game to watch. It was a good game. I’m excited for them.”
Gavin Toyofuku had seven points, five rebounds and a steal for Kauai’s Shaka Hoops 2. David Pascua had six points, two rebounds and two assists. Malu Ralston had six points and eight rebounds.
Aiea Blazers’ Isaiah Africano was the game’s leading scorer with 16 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two assists. Scott Paguirigan had nine points, seven rebounds and a steal.
Tournament play continues today at Kauai and Kapaa high schools, Island School and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Full tournament results: kauaiclassic.com.