East­si­daz bas­ket­ball club look­ing ahead to Las Ve­gas na­tion­als

MidWeek Islander (East Oahu) - - FRONT PAGE -

Three play­ers on that team — Mi­caela Bi­tanga, Kiana Nakai and Cierra Pacheco — play for East­si­daz’s un­der-15 team this sum­mer and hope to have a sim­i­lar run in Las Ve­gas when they play in the na­tion­als July 26-30.

The 15-U team al­ready played four games in Kala­heo Sum­mer League, beat­ing Kala­heo, Mililani and Cas­tle and los­ing to Hawaii Se­lect’s trav­el­ing All-Star team.

Since they have one of the younger ros­ters, a 3-1 record bodes well long-term. KSL con­tin­ues for the next three weeks. East­si­daz will take five girls teams to Las Ve­gas at the end of July, but its un­der-15 team may be its best way to make a state­ment there.

The club also has Mililani stand­outs Kel­lie Sakai and Darcey Goulsby, and MidPa­cific’s Chan­dler Arce. Pacheco plays for Wa­iakea and moved from Hawaii Is­land to play with the team.

“Kel­lie is awe­some — of­fen­sively and de­fen­sively,” Bi­tanga said of Sakai, who started ev­ery game last sea­son as a sopho­more for Mililani. “She’s an all-around player, the to­tal pack­age. She’s small, but she’s not scared to take it up against any­one.”

At 5-9, Goulsby is a strong post pres­ence. “She’s pow­er­ful and strong and she knows the game. She’s very good in­side on de­fense, very hard to beat.”

Arce plays on the perime­ter along with Bi­tanga and Nakai, who also play for Kaiser. “She has a nice 3-point shot — she’s a scorer,” he said of Arce. “Mi­caela is ma­tur­ing, and Kiana is good, de­fen­sively, and she helps us out of­fen­sively be­cause she’s a 90 per­cent free-throw shooter.”

Led by the pair, Kaiser ad­vanced to the Di­vi­sion II state tour­na­ment in the win­ter, its first tour­na­ment ap­pear­ance in four years.

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