Thursday | January 19, 2017
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BIIF basketball: Hilo seniors key to team chemistry

By KEVIN JAKAHI

Hawaii Tribune-Herald

Hilo seniors Sharry Pagan, Cherish Quiocho, and Chenoa Rogers make an impact on the basketball court without scoring.

Pagan and Quiocho are starters at forward, and Rogers provides a strong post presence as a backup.

First-year coach Cliff Kawaha likes the harmony each brings to the four-time BIIF Division I runner-up Vikings, who have strong team chemistry on and off the court.

“Sharry has a positive and fun-loving attitude and a great sense of humor,” he said. “Cherish is kind-hearted and sweet toward everyone. Chenoa is respectful to all the players and coaches.”

Each played a role in Hilo’s 46-39 win over Kamehameha in a BIIF game on Saturday night at the Vikings Gym, where Senior night was celebrated.

One thing the Viks have worked on is spreading the offense, basically, scoring from all parts of the floor, especially against a tenacious defensive team like the Warriors.

Kamehameha, last season’s HHSAA Division II runner-up, plays a tough man defense and relies on its athleticism and length.

Hilo’s defense is pretty tough, too, and forced 15 turnovers for a 12-5 scoring edge off giveaways. But those weren’t easy points on uncontested layups.

Junior point guard Mandi Kawaha had a layup in a half-court set, and Asia Castillo got a steal and layup in transition. That was it for easy points on layups.

In fact, the Viks didn’t cash in on any putbacks, another easy way to score points, because Warrior forwards Taylor Sullivan and McKenzie Kalawaia are active under the boards.

Quiocho scored 10 points, showing off her mid-range game. She beat a defender off the dribble and buried a pull-up baseline jumper, and the southpaw also scored from the elbow.

Rogers, who got the start on Senior night, scored four points. Kawaha passed off a dribble-penetration, and Rogers finished. Rogers got the ball on the block, faced up and drove to the hoop for a bank shot.

With the mid-range and post covered, all that was left was long distance. Freshman gunner Jamila Collins-Ebanez took care of that with a pair of 3-pointers, and Kawaha added another long ball.

The easy points — layups, putbacks, and free throws (8 of 15 from the line) — weren’t really there for the Vikings, who needed to find other ways to score, and they did.

On defense, they allowed only three Warrior layups. Jordyn Mantz and Sullivan raced down the court after a Hilo missed shot, and Saydee Aganus bolted through a seam for another layup in a half-court set.

Other than that, the Viks buckled down and hustled back on missed shots, and their help-side defense closed driving lanes. That’s essentially Defense 101, a course Kawaha’s hoopsters passed with flying colors.

Kamehameha made 10 of 16 free throws. It was a good trade-off. Hilo got called for blocking fouls, but the visitors didn’t capitalize at the line for their share of easy points.

Pagan didn’t score, but that’s no surprise because that’s not her role.

“She’s a fearless and aggressive defender,” Hilo coach Kawaha said.

As for the Warriors, they may be the BIIF’s toughest .500 ballclub. They already took care of league runner-up Kohala, 46-36.

Mantz, a 5-6 junior guard, was a handful for Hilo’s defense. She scored a game-high 12 points, draining a pair of 3-balls and going 4 of 5 from the line.

The Viks relied on their bigs, junior Mele Vaka and Rogers, to put a lid on workhorse Sullivan, who finished with six points and displayed Kevin McHale’s up-and-under move.

Sullivan, a 5-8 junior, missed that McHale shot. (YouTube has a library of the Boston Celtic’s post skills.) She was fouled and made 1 of 2 free throws.

Actually, Sullivan also scored on a brilliant reverse layup in the first quarter. So Kamehameha had four layups to Hilo’s two.

But that was manini fish stuff. Collins-Ebanez led the charge with a team-high 11 points, dropping a pair of 3-pointers, and her teammates tagged along.

When it was Kamehameha’s turn to have the ball, Hilo’s defense held the visitors to 33 percent shooting (13 of 39), relying on the impact of its senior trio.

“Sharry is a strong motivating senior,” Kawaha said. “Chenoa is an excellent communicator and our best encourager. And Cherish consistently executes with commitment on defense and offense.”

 

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