Cougars To Host Girls Hoops Tour­ney

MidWeek Islander (East Oahu) - - EAST OAHU SPORTS - By JACK DANILEWICZ

Re­lent­less de­fense and an up-tempo of­fen­sive at­tack have been sta­ples of Si­mon Bi­tanga’s Kaiser bas­ket­ball teams since he took over the pro­gram six years ago.

As the Lady Cougars of­fi­cially start pre­sea­son camp this week, they al­ready have the look of a pro­to­typ­i­cal Kaiser team.

“We’re young and scrappy,” he said. “We lost a lit­tle height from last year, but we’ve gained more speed. We should be ex­cit­ing.”

Kaiser is com­ing off another solid sea­son that saw the girls team go 12-7 over­all (10-1 in OIA East) en route to an ap­pear­ance in the DI state tour­na­ment.

Gone from that team is Bi­tanga’s daugh­ter, Mikaela, who com­pleted her el­i­gi­bil­ity and whose tal­ents now be­long to Clark Col­lege in Wash­ing­ton state. A trio of re­turnees — Chantelle Arce, Rose Shi­maoka and Brandi Arita —will fig­ure big in the 2013-14 ro­ta­tion. All three gained valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence last sea­son and are poised to make even big­ger con­tri­bu­tions.

“Chantelle is good on both sides of the ball — she’s al­ways one who does the things that win games,” Bi­tanga said. “All of our girls al­ways will do what you ask, es­pe­cially her.”

Arce is the lead­ing scorer among re­turnees, hav­ing av­er­aged 8.1 points per out­ing last win­ter.

Shi­maoka was a fresh­man last year, but played more like an up­per­class­man. “We knew she was go­ing to play var­sity as ei­ther a fresh­man or sopho­more, so we brought her up last year to see how fast the game (at var­sity level) is and to play against ex­pe­ri­enced teams.” (She av­er­aged 6.1 points per game a year ago.) “She did very, very well for a fresh­man.”

Now a se­nior, Arita has emerged as one of the team’s de­fen­sive spe­cial­ists.

“Brandi worked hard in the off-sea­son. She’s a shut­down de­fender. We’re ex­cited to see what she can do as a se­nior. Dur­ing the sum­mer, she was mak­ing a cou­ple of three’s a game. She was never a scorer, so get­ting points from her is a plus.”

Bi­tanga also is ex­cited about sopho­more trans­fer Brook Ho, who com­petes with Bi­tanga’s East­si­daz Bas­ket­ball Club. “She’s our big (post player). She’ll take care of the mid­dle for us. She’s al­ready on the right track.”

Kaiser won’t have to wait long to see first-rate com­pe­ti­tion. It will again host a three-day tour­ney Nov. 1416, which will bring to­gether some of the state’s top teams: state run­ner-up Kon­awaena, La­hainaluna, Kame­hameha-Hawaii, (de­fend­ing state champ) Kame­hame­haKa­palama and Pu­na­hou, plus the OIA’s Roo­sevelt and Moanalua.

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