Lady Knights Hun­gry For State Bas­ket­ball Tour­ney Play

MidWeek Islander (Windward Oahu) - - Windward Oahu Sports - By JACK DANILEWICZ

Cas­tle girls bas­ket­ball head coach Joe Lilio can’t help but look upon this week’s Di­vi­sion II state tour­na­ment as an op­por­tu­nity for the Lady Knights to com­plete some un­fin­ished busi­ness.

“We won our first (state tour­na­ment) game last year, and then we had a let­down against HBA,” Lilio said. “I don’t know if we were just glad to be there, but we want to be play­ing in the last (cham­pi­onship) game this year. We got a taste of it and don’t want to set­tle.”

The team was 6-7 over­all at press time and is “peak­ing at the right time,” ac­cord­ing to Lilio. Cas­tle had won three of its last four, head­ing into last Thurs­day’s OIA White ti­tle game against Kaimuki. In win­ning their semi­fi­nal over Pearl City last Tues­day, they had al­ready as­sured them­selves of a sec­ond straight state tour­na­ment berth prior to the cham­pi­onship game.

Iron­i­cally, although the Knights are in DII, their best win came Jan. 20, when they went on the road and shocked DI Kahuku 61-53.

“The Kahuku game, and then get­ting a few more wins, helped with their con­fi­dence,” Lilio said. “They’ve shown th­ese past few games how well they can play to­gether, and hope­fully we can carry on our mo­men­tum. You have to be con­fi­dent and be­lieve in your skills and your team­mates, and they’re fi­nally buy­ing into what we’ve been teach­ing them.”

De­fense has be­come the team’s forte in re­cent weeks. It held Waipahu and Pearl City to 12 and 23 points, re­spec­tively, in the first two OIA play­off games.

“We’ve seen a lot of im­prove­ment on the de­fen­sive end, and the girls are fi­nally get­ting into bas­ket­ball shape. Dur­ing our Christ­mas break, we had a few away on trips and only four or five kids at prac­tice some days. Now we have a full squad back, and we’ve moved up some from our JV team. We’ve been hav­ing some real good prac­tices.”

With the JV team cap­tur­ing an OIA White ti­tle of its own last month, the pro­gram’s fu­ture is bright. For the present, Lilio is count­ing on the tal­ented trio of Sierra Koki, Dar­rien Da­cosin and Kaylee Ishii to lead the way this week.

“Sierra is al­ways steady,” Lilio said of Koki, a se­nior point guard. “She’s been real con­sis­tent. Dar­rien has been steady, de­fen- sively also,” he added of Da­cosin, who en­tered last week­end av­er­ag­ing 9.4 points per game — good for fifth in the OIA White. “She’s also one of our bet­ter free-throw shoot­ers.”

Ishii’s out­side shoot­ing also has helped of­fen­sively. The sopho­more con­nected on six 3- point­ers in Cas­tle’s big win at Kahuku and came back in her next out­ing to re­peat it against Waipahu. She is cur­rently scor­ing at a 9.4 clip.

“She missed a good part of the sea­son when she was away on a trip, so it was good to get her back. She’s been shoot­ing the ball very well.”

Lilio also had praise for se­nior Asia Almeida, who was among the stars of the Kahuku game when she reached dou­ble fig­ures with 12 points.

Pair­ings for the state tour­na­ment were to be re­vealed late Sun­day. Firstround games and quar­ter­fi­nal games were to be played on Tues­day and Wed­nes­day at Kaimuki and Kalani high fields. Thurs­day’s semi­fi­nals will be at Kaimuki with the DII state ti­tle game set for 5 p.m. Satur­day (also on OC-16) at Stan Sher­iff Cen­ter.

We’ve seen a lot of im­prove­ment on the de­fen­sive end, and the girls are fi­nally get­ting into bas­ket­ball shape. We’ve been hav­ing some

prac­tices.” real good

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.