LIHUE — The 11th annual Kauai Hoops Classic basketball tournament is set to kick off Thursday, hosted by local club Kauai Lynx Basketball.
About 60 teams from Kauai, Oahu, Maui, Big Island and Alaska will play in boys and girls divisions. The tournament will play Thursday through next Sunday.
“We got teams from all over the state. Most of them are repeat teams. They come down. They got programs, or they’re high school coaches trying to coach their teams during the offseason,” said Clarence Sales, Kauai Lynx Basketball coach. “They bring them to tournaments like ours to get them ready for summer travel wherever they go — Oregon, Vegas, or wherever they got showcase tournaments on the mainland. So, they kind of use our tournament as a prep for those events.
“What we’re more pleased to see is that the number of girls teams entered has doubled since we first started this. Our goal is to hopefully promote more on the girls side, too. The boys side is always given every year,” he continued. “When they come out to the gym, they’ll see teams or coaches from Konawaena, Waiakea, Kamehameha-Big Island and our local coaches as well from all the high schools. So, it’s pretty good. It’s going good so far.”
Kauai teams competing this year are Kauai Lynx, Kaulupono, Dream Team, Team Lihue, Na Koa, Shaka Hoops, Westside, Kauai 808, Isle Hoops, Kauai Ballers, Waimea, and Kauai Lightning.
Games will be played at Kauai High School, Kapaa High School and the Kalaheo Neighborhood Center.
Play will begin 1 p.m. Thursday. On the following days, play will start 8 a.m.
“It’s grown quick — quicker than we anticipated,” Sales said about the tournament over the last 11 years. “The good thing is that a lot of the players that play here, we see them in states, too, when the players go to states. Some of them move on to college. A kid from Alaska, he played in the tournament for three years. Now, he plays for the Texas Longhorns. So, it’s good to see them move on. It’s not just competing, but seeing them take it to the next level.”
The tournament is free and open to the public, and concessions will be at each site.
“They can come out and support their favorite club or teams from different islands,” Sales said.
Info: www.kauailynx.com, email@example.com
Nick Celario, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.