KALAHEO — Kaulupono’s “Minion Squad” had their moment in the limelight Monday night, triggering waves of cheer whenever they found the basket during the summer youth basketball league games held at the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
The score did not matter as fans went wild whenever the tiny tots tickled the twine in Kaulupono’s 29-4 win over Westside B in a girls fifth-grade division matchup.
“We put all our little girls in,” said Eric Rita, one of the coaches on the Kaulupono bench led by Coach Pedro Saligumba. “These are our second-graders. We call them the Minions, and they were having fun.”
Nine of the 12-player Kaulupono roster made marks on the score sheets, led by veteran guards Kiaura Ortiz-Rita and Katelyn Constantino who finished with six points apiece in the opening game of three. Bethany-Pearl Remigio, one of the “Minions,” added four along with Chaleiah Lancaster-Fabro, and Wailana Christian had three second-half marks. Liana Hasegawa, one of the Kaulupono players on several division teams, had a first-half pair, joined by Hailey Mata and Ari Acosta who found the net in the second half.
Shaylee Remigio and Xyrah Kua did the honors for Westside B, finding the hoop in the second half in answer to a 16-0 deficit at the break.
Coach Jason Peralta of the Westside girls had a long night as the Westside teams grappled through three games in the night.
Under the constant coaching of John Quinones, the Ao uka Rebels, fifth grade division girls chipped out a 9-5 lead over the Westside A at the break behind balanced scoring from Skylyn Fagarang, Mikylah Labanon, Cairee Quinones and Sophia Badua, who each bucketed a pair.
The relentless Westside A girls came close, pulling to within three points in the final two minutes on a Sky Ripley play, and having an opportunity to force overtime in the final second when Lilly Kaohelauli‘i was sent to the charity line on a re-wound clock. The window closed when Kaohelauli‘i’s first shot bounced harmless.
Fagarang and Badua topped the Rebels’ win on four points apiece while Tavina Harris finished with a game-high six points in the 15-12 effort. Ripley finished with five points, and a digit from Mary Joy Angala, the hard-pressing guard, rounded out the effort.,
Harris continued her effort in the paint, netting a game-high dozen points to lead the Westside A to a 21-10 showing over Westside B in the finale.
Kayleen Lewis and Kua each netted four points in the Westside B effort.