Kailua’s Star Power Plus ‘Un­tapped Po­ten­tial’ Await Fate

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Sports -

hop­ing they can gel this week.

Even if Kailua’s sea­son had ended at the OIA tour­na­ment, it still would have fin­ished with work well done. But this still is a team with un­tapped po­ten­tial, in Llamedo’s view. “What’s scary is that we still haven’t played our best basketball yet,” she said.

“We’ve had a lot of good mo­ments, but we haven’t had a game yet where ev­ery­thing clicked. They’ve had to work to­gether for ev­ery win. If we play our best at the state tour­na­ment, we can sur­prise some peo­ple even more.”

Kailua is in its first year of com­pet­ing in Di­vi­sion I since the state sep­a­rated into two di­vi­sions in 2004. The Surfrid­ers made the DII state tour­na­ment last sea­son and have con­tin­ued their up­ward mo­bil­ity ever since. De­spite a pair of tough losses last week to Roo­sevelt and Moanalua, Llamedo still has her eye on “the big pic­ture.”

“The Roo­sevelt game was a very tough loss, but we’ve put it in per­spec­tive and the kids are ex­tremely proud of where they’ve come from,” she said. “I feel like this is the best Kailua team to come through here in a while. I look at this as a team ev­ery­one will re­mem­ber.”

Asked what has pleased her most, Llamedo an­swered without hes­i­ta­tion. “Their will­ing­ness to do what we’ve been ask­ing them to do.”

As through­out the sea­son, the team is count­ing on vet­er­ans Tara Takata and Ta­u­fau Wil­liams to be im­pact play­ers at states. Wil­liams, who is a for­ward, is av­er­ag­ing a team-high 17.7 points per game. Takata is a guard cur­rently scor­ing at an 8.9 clip.

“In ev­ery game they’ve com­bined for a lot of the scor­ing. They’ve been our one-two punch. They con­nect well on the floor, and that makes them dif­fi­cult to stop. They’ve been the core.”

Pa­tri­cia Vaimoana has been an un­sung heroes, mean­while. “She’s not show­ing up in the scor­ing col­umn, but her re­bound­ing and her play on the de­fen­sive end (have made a dif­fer­ence),” Llamedo said. “Those are the three who have re­ally run this team.”

The DI state tour­na­ment be­gins Fri­day with firstround games at sites that were still to be de­ter­mined at press time. The quar­ter­fi­nals will fol­low Satur­day. The semi­fi­nals are Feb. 14 at McKin­ley High, while the ti­tle game is Feb. 15 at Blaisdell Arena.

Llamedo was to learn of Kailua’s first- round op­po­nent late last week.

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