Ben Pana said his Keaukaha team started slow at the Midsummer Night Madness tournament in Seattle, but his team is certainly hitting its stride at the right time.
With a thrilling 49-47 overtime win over Oregon Elite Red Saturday, the Hilo-based squad improved to 5-0 at the tournament and advanced to the All-Star championship bracket
The game came down to the final seconds of overtime. Lexi Pana recorded a basket with 13 seconds left, and then got a quick steal and found Riana Arima for the go-ahead bucket.
“This is our first time at this tournament so just winning the first game was a big step for us,” said Pana. “We are pretty excited to get so far.”
The championship bracket pits Keaukaha against the three other bracket champions vying to be the top team in the 68-team All-Star division.
In the first game of the day, Keaukaha overcame a slight halftime deficit to blow out Spokane Stars Navy 68-38.
“It was a good game at half, but in the second half our defense and transition game took over,” Pana said.
Keaukaha will play North Idaho Elite at 7:15 a.m. HST with a berth to the championship on the line.
Team Stingray’s undefeated run at the tournament ended Saturday with a 53-34 loss to the Montana Sky in the Elite Diamond bracket championship. Chanelle Molina recorded a double-double in the loss, racking up 15 points and 12 rebounds. Gabrielle Ewing added eight points and Celena Molina grabbed 11 rebounds.
Earlier in the day, the Stingrays knocked off the Northside Swarm 56-48. Cherilyn Molina led the way with 15 points and four steals. Mercedes “Ihi” Victor added 14 points and six rebounds, and Chanelle Molina tallied 10 points and nine assists.
The tournament is not over for the Stingrays. The squad will matchup with Bucky’s Elite in the Elite division third-place bracket at 7:15 a.m. HST. With a win, the team will play just hours later for third place.
“All four Hawaii teams are supporting each other up here, so when we come into the stadium we have a nice crowd,” said Pana. “It’s hard to miss home because there are so many local people here making it feel like we are back home in Hawaii.”
Locked in a defensive battle in the second half, Chicas connected four passes to work the ball down the left side and found Jordyn Pacheco, who cut in and scored from 18 yards out as the 13-and-under East Hawaii club beat Eugene Timbers Cypress Black at the Adidas Premier Cup in in Eugene, Ore.
“(Cypress Black) played a very similar style to us,” Chicas coach Skee Saplan said. “It was kind of like we were playing each other.”
Behind Saydee Bacdad’s second consecutive shutout, Chicas earned a bye and the No. 1 seed heading into the final day of the 14U tournament. It needs a win Sunday morning to reach the championship game. Eugene Timbers Cypress Black won later Saturday to reach the final.
Saplan credited his four fullbacks — Kierstyn Yamamoto, Karla Ishi, Kalamanamana Harman, Caneel Corpuz — with providing a stabilizing force in front of Bacdad.
“Our defense has been very strong,” Saplan said. “Saydee was not tested too much, but she handled the routine stuff.”
Kona plays in
While the soccer world had their eyes on Brazil, a Big Island soccer team was making noise overseas at the 23rd annual Donosti Cup in San Sebastian, Spain from July 6-12.
The Kona Eagles placed second in their U-15 division. In the playoffs, the team put together three wins before falling 1-0 in the final to Sporting de Herrera.
The team is made up of: Noah Wise, Ryan Mariano, Hunter Olaso, Travis Almarza, Alexander Grace-Double, Isaiah Geliga, Joshua Lopez, Kolby Martin, Ian Denzer, David Madigan, Johnathon Bicknell, Yuki Lavoie, Skyler Pleuss, James Schneider, and Kyle Nickelsen.
The Kona Heat also participated in the tournament.
The tournament is touted Spain’s largest soccer tournament with more than 400 teams from around the globe participating.
Before heading to the Donosti Cup, the Eagles also participated in the Barcelona Cup. The squad went 2-2-1 at that tournament, placing third in their division.