Sports Notebook

Friday, February 21, 2003

English, Martin to feel
at home in Ohio

HPU-BYUH rivalry built on upsets

Tigers eager to get back on the mat

By Jason Kaneshiro

The air may have leaked out of the Bracket Busters balloon over the course of this college basketball season, but at least two Hawaii players will have ample motivation when they face Kent State tomorrow.

Bracket Buster

Who: Hawaii (12-8) at Kent State (18-5)
When: Tomorrow, 4:30 p.m. Hawaii time
TV: Live, ESPN2
Radio:Live, KKEA 1420--AM

In addition to a shot at playing on national television, Rainbow juniors Carl English and Phil Martin said they have family members heading from Canada to Ohio for the game.

"We haven't seen them in a while, so this road trip's going to be a good one," English said.

The team left for its Bracket Busters game a couple of hours after its dramatic 73-71 win over Nevada on Wednesday night. The Rainbows stopped in Denver and Cleveland before taking a 45-minute bus ride to Kent.

"It's tough, but being over here you understand that's just the way it goes," Martin said before the team's departure. "So we just have to prepare for that mentally."

The Rainbows went through a shoot-around at Kent State's Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center to stretch their legs yesterday and have another practice scheduled for today.

After the game, the Rainbows will stay on the mainland for next week's Western Athletic Conference games at Tulsa and Rice.

In between, the team is debating whether to head north to Cleveland to visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or south to Canton to see the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday.

What could have been: Had UC Santa Barbara started its run a little earlier, Hawaii's Bracket Busters trip might have been a lot shorter.

When the pairings were announced on Feb. 2, UCSB had just lost to Long Beach State to fall to 9-10 overall and 6-3 in the Big West Conference. UH was 12-5 at that point.

But the Gauchos won their next four games and have claimed eight of their last nine and lead the Big West. They'll host Detroit for Bracket Busters.

"Santa Barbara got hot after they assigned who you're playing," UH coach Riley Wallace said. "If they were where they are now we probably would have gone to Santa Barbara."

Back in the flow: English's 26-point outing against Nevada provided sweet redemption after a nightmarish outing against San Jose State four days earlier.

He had 19 points in the first half and hit the game-winning shot in the final moments against Nevada after going 3-for-15 from the field last Saturday against SJSU.

"Last time, sometimes the ball would go in and out and I'd just look at it in disbelief because everything felt so good fundamentally," he said. "(Against Nevada) it was just flowing."

On the line: Hawaii tied a season high by attempting 32 free throws against Nevada, making 23. In contrast, Nevada made 14 of 21 foul shots.

"We penetrated enough to draw fouls and get to the line. When we do that we're a much better ballclub," Wallace said.

The statistics back him up. The Rainbows are 11-3 when shooting more free throws than their opponents this season. In their 14 wins, they made it to the line an average of nine more times than their foes.

WAC standings

WAC games Overall

W L Pct. GB W L
Fresno St. 12 3 .800 -- 19 5
Nevada 9 5 .643 2 1/2 14 10
Rice 8 5 .615 3 16 7
LaTech 9 6 .600 3 12 10
Tulsa 8 6 .571 3 1/2 15 8
SMU 7 7 .500 4 1/2 12 12
Hawaii 7 7 .500 4 1/2 14 8
Boise St. 4 9 .308 7 10 13
San Jose St. 3 10 .231 8 6 16
UTEP 2 11 .154 9 4 19

Rice 65, Louisiana Tech 63

Tomorrow (All times HST)
Rice at SMU, 3 p.m.
Nevada at San Jose State, 4 p.m.
UTEP at Boise State, 4:30 p.m.
Fresno State at Creighton, 7 a.m. (ESPN2)
Northern Iowa at Louisiana Tech, 8 a.m.
Hawaii at Kent State, 4:30 p.m. (ESPN2)
Tulsa at Gonzaga, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


HPU-BYUH rivalry
built on upsets

By Jerry Campany

Tennis teams play for the right to be ranked higher than anyone else.

But once they get there, they might have second thoughts, especially in Hawaii.

The No. 3 Brigham Young-Hawaii men's tennis team toppled No. 2 Hawaii Pacific on Wednesday in a match that is sure to flip-flop the teams in the national rankings.

Never mind that the Seasiders are the defending national champions. Never mind that every time the Sea Warriors and Seasiders hook up a chance at the national tournament is on the line.

But pay heed to when they do meet, there is always a chance of an upset.

"The rankings don't really matter to the players," BYUH coach David Porter said. "I doubt their players were thinking about defending it and I know our players didn't push any harder because (HPU) was ranked higher. Our players think of themselves as national champions anyway."

Three of the past five times the Seasiders and the Sea Warriors have hooked up, the lower ranked team has won. Before the Seasiders took down the Sea Warriors this week, HPU knocked BYUH out of the top spot in April last year.

Moving to Manoa: The Sea Warriors' men's match with Hawaii-Manoa at the Kailua Racquet Club has been rescheduled, with the Warriors gaining home-court advantage.

The match was originally scheduled to take place Monday at the Sea Warriors' courts, but will now be played at the Manoa Tennis Complex the same day. HPU will then head to Hilo to take on the Vulcans in another rescheduling.

Seasiders stay put: The BYUH men's basketball team's steady climb up the regional rankings has been slowed, with the Seasiders staying in third.

The Seasiders had been moving toward the top spot all year, but have not been able to displace No. 2 Humboldt State (20-2) or No. 1 Cal State San Bernardino (17-4).

The top spot brings the right to host the regional tournament, while the top eight spots determine the field.

The Seasiders (13-2) will get their chance to impress the voters this weekend though, as they travel to Hilo to take on the Vulcans. Hilo (15-7) has been ranked in the region all season but slipped one spot to seventh this week when Cal State Bakersfield (16-5) passed it.

But even a sweep of the Vulcans doesn't guarantee anything, as Hawaii Pacific dropped out of the rankings after losing to the Seasiders in overtime. The Sea Warriors were replaced in the No. 10 spot with conference rival Montana State-Billings, with whom they split at Billings earlier this season.

The Sea Warriors will get another shot at the Yellowjackets on March 1 at the Blaisdell Arena.

Even though the Seasiders appear stuck in the regional poll, they are rocketing up the national poll, moving six spots to No. 13 this week. Humboldt State is third in the national poll, while Cal State San Bernardino is at No. 18.


Tigers eager to
get back on the mat

By Nick Abramo

The McKinley wrestling team has put an unfortunate occurrence in the past.

The defending OIA champion Tigers were unable to take part in last weekend's Eastern Division tournament because of a paperwork snafu.

"The boys have accepted it and are moving on," McKinley coach Chris Johnson said. "We take full responsibility regardless of what happened and we look forward to moving on to the OIA championships. It's over."

The Tigers are still eligible to take part in the OIA championship tournament at Leilehua, Feb. 28 and March 1, and at the state tournament March 14-15 at the Blaisdell Arena.

"Everybody is up for the OIA tournament and we're going to put on a good show," Johnson said. "We've got five returning OIA champions and we think we can carry the OIA flag. At the states, we'll be able to compete, but we might not have enough firepower to overtake Saint Louis or Iolani."

McKinley wasn't allowed to compete in the division tournament because OIA wrestling coordinator Joe Whitford didn't receive the Tigers' faxed entry list before the deadline required by the OIA.

"I already faxed my game list (for the upcoming OIA tournament) in to the coordinator and it's not due until next Thursday," Johnson said.

Emile Suehiro, Rene Suehiro, Lawrence Thain, Desmond Thain and Pat Takemoto are the Tigers' five returning OIA champions.

Repeat performances: It's not often you find a boy or girl repeating as Star-Bulletin athlete of the week, but two high schoolers did it this week.

Mililani soccer player Whitney Shimatsu and Kailua softball player Courtney Kessell were the only logical choices for the honors for the second week in a row.

Both played the leading role in securing their teams' runs to the OIA (two weeks ago) and state championships (last week).

Lancers have new track coach: Sacred Hearts hired Steve Jacobson as its new track and field head coach, according to athletic director Wade Okamura.

Jacobson was a track and field head coach previously with McKinley and was the 2000 ILH cross country coach of the year at St. Andrew's Priory.

A graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, Jacobson is a practicing attorney.

Menehunes seek volleyball coach: Moanalua High School is seeking applicants for a varsity girls volleyball coach.

Interested coaches can send resumes to Moanalua High School, 2825 Ala Ilima St., Honolulu, HI, 96818, attention Dana Dias, athletic director.

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