By KEVIN JAKAHI
Last season, the Laupahoehoe girls returned to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation varsity after a three-year absence. The Seasiders took their lumps. They finished with an 0-10 record in a season that tested the team’s endurance.
There were just five players. Coach Joey Martin worried all season long about injuries, foul trouble and academic probation. His Seasiders survived the season, but it wasn’t easy.
“It was brutal,” he said. “I didn’t think we’d make it through but we did.”
At least, Laupahoehoe, in its first season as a charter school, has depth this season. The roster goes seven deep. That’s a huge relief for Martin, who decided to drop the program to the junior varsity level. He was also the JV coach in 2011.
“I felt it would be better for us to be a little more competitive,” he said. “We lost a few girls, so we’re pretty much starting over. Hopefully, we can gain some confidence and carry it over to next year at the varsity level.”
Point guard Kai-Lyn Requelman and shooting guard Shyla Anderson, a pair of sophomores, are returning starters and will steer the Seasiders, who have already experienced a small measure of valuable success.
“I like Kai-Lyn’s leadership. She gives us good ball-handling experience, and she does a very good job running the team,” Martin said. “Shyla’s really quick. Once she gets out on offense, she’s really explosive. When she gets the ball in her hands, we want her to be very offensive-minded. We’re looking to lean on them.”
Laupahoehoe played in the Honokaa and Keaau tourneys and posted a 3-3 record against fellow JV ballclubs, building the type of confidence Martin was looking for as the school tries to find its footing as Laupahoehoe Public Community Charter School.
The previous school year, there was an enrollment of 62 high school students. This school year, there are 40 students.
Some things don’t change. The Seasiders kept their same nickname. And under the positive-pushing Martin, they’re still the same team, even with different players.
“I like their no-quit attitude. That’s a carry-over from last year’s team,” he said. “For the most part, they have a good work ethic and each game in the preseason they got better. We’re looking to improve each game and hopefully be better on the varsity next season.”