HIGH SCHOOL REPORT
PAUL HONDA / PHONDA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Clifton Pires said he'd hit a home run against his younger sister, Caira, if he batted against her. She insists that she'd strike him out.
Siblings Clifton and Caira Pires push each other in everything they do
IF you ask Clifton Pires what his grade-point average is, he'll shrug.
Then he'll ask his sister, Caira, what her GPA is. She knows.
It's how Clifton keeps track, wanting to make sure his GPA is just a wee bit better.
She's a 2.8, he's a 3.0.
Their competition extends from the classroom to athletics.
Clifton Pires, a 6-foot-2 junior, is a cog in the Kalaheo boys basketball machine, now in his third year on the varsity squad.
Caira, 5-3, is only a freshman, but is already competing in what could be the second of three varsity sports. Volleyball is done, softball is in season, and there's a possibility of basketball in spring.
"I wouldn't say she's fast," her brother said. "But she has skills."
Caira began playing tee-ball at an age so young, she can't remember. Softball came along when she was 10.
"Baseball was more like a boys sport," she said. "On my team, there were only two girls, but other teams had no girls. I wanted to play with girls instead."
Her first team was Kulia, a slow-pitch team. After that, she joined Haaheo's 12-and-under ASA team.
"Everything was faster all around. It was more fun. We won a state tournament," said Caira, who was at first base.
After two seasons, she began playing for the Shockers with Castle coach Jon Berinobis.
"We got to travel to Maui," she said. "We didn't do that good, but it was fun playing people we never played, and we got to play on a different island."
Coach Alan Cofran's Kalaheo squad is off to a 3-0 start in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference. The Mustangs also hosted Castle during a preseason tournament and won 4-2.
"That was the first time ever Kalaheo has beaten them," Caira said. "I like playing for the high school better. It's more competitive and there are stronger players."
Keliko Kepa, Kalaheo's ace, has a gentle way of guiding her younger teammates," according to Pires.
"She's like my best friend," said Caira, who now plays second base and shortstop and also gets some spot duty on the mound. "She throws all her good pitches to try and get me out. We just laugh at it.
"It's fun, but it's kind of a lot of pressure, too."
Clifton dismissed any notion that his little sister would dominate him in on the diamond
"I'd hit a home run," he promised.
"I'd strike him out," she said. "I'd give him all kind of pitches. Probably a fastball, then go inside to get him scared. And then another fastball, and he'll swing and miss. Then I'll throw a change-up."
|"Just try your hardest at everything. Boys ... stay away from them."
Clifton Pires, Kalaheo basketball and volleyball player, to his younger sister Caira, a softball and volleyball player for the Mustangs
She had a passion for the game since she was small. She just loves to play.
With volleyball and basketball, too, she's busy from September to April. She is considering trying out for the varsity hoops team. Freshmen are rare to find in Chico Furtado's program.
"I'm kind of scared to try out," said Caira, who watches her brother play when Furtado coaches the Kalaheo boys team. "I never really had a coach like him before. He yells a lot."
"Nah," Clifton said. "He's good. He's a little intimidating sometimes, but he's a good coach."
Clifton was good at roundball from the time he started in the Kailua Basketball Association at age 5. As the tallest player on his teams, Clifton scored a lot of points on the 8-foot baskets.
Caira and Clifton get a lot of encouragement from their mom, Tuesday, and stepdad, Jeff Piimauna.
"Uncle Jeff would be the one to say, 'You guys, you gotta go to practice,' and we'd run to our mom if we didn't want to go," Caira said. "But somehow we would end up going anyways."
Volleyball is a secondary sport for Clifton, who started playing in eighth grade at St. John Vianney.
"I wanted to get in condition for basketball," he said. "I didn't think I was gonna play in high school, but all my friends from the basketball team, like Chase (Moses) and Elias (David) played."
Kalaheo won the past two OIA volleyball championships.
"The practices are fun playing for coach Sivan (Leoni, the former University of Hawaii standout)," Clifton said. "Unlike a lot of coaches, he'll set up the nets and play with us. Sometimes his friends play with us. It's fun."
Basketball, though, is Clifton's passion. He is deceptively quick and agile around the basket, and his quick-shooting release make him a tough matchup for low-post defenders.
"When he's doing well, I feel proud, Caira said. "I go to all his games. When he's not doing well, I tell him to pick it up."
Clifton can't really hear his sister during games.
"Coach Chico is a little louder," he said.
In the classroom, the tone is a bit more mellow, of course, which suits the laid-back junior. He likes all of his classes, but enjoys history most.
"Our teacher (Sarah Razee) is pretty nice, and it comes easy to me," said Clifton, who formed a group with teammates Tyler Caswell and Chase Moses for a project about Muhammad Ali. "He did speeches in front of millions of people. I like how he stood up for his beliefs and refused to go to war because he felt it was wrong."
As for the competition in the classroom ...
"Me and him will tell each other, 'What are you getting in your classes?' And when the report cards come out, we check them together," Caira said. "In everything we do, we try to challenge each other, I guess. That's why every time, I try harder."
Not that Clifton doesn't appreciate her. Without Caira around, the house would be very quiet.
"That would suck," he said. "I would have no one to compete with. I'd miss her a lot," he said.
He has some minor advice for a sister who seems to have a clear perspective of school and sports.
"Just try your hardest at everything," big brother said.
"Boys ... stay away from them."