Team Hawaii looks toward Japan
The trip isn't for another two weeks, but Team Hawaii isn't waiting around to start working.
The prep girls basketball squad, which had a successful trip to the Midwest last fall, is gearing up for a voyage to Japan. The trip begins June 20.
Don Takaki, owner of Island Movers, has done the legwork for the team. McKinley coach Bob Morikuni is in charge.
"They learn quickly," he said. "Today, we tried to teach them what we do at McKinley, and they picked it up real quick. This is the best of the best in Hawaii."
The team is comprised of Jazzmin Awa-Williams of Konawaena; Jamie Smith, Alana Matayoshi and Chanel Hirata of Iolani; Analee Viena-Lota of Kamehameha; Courtney Gaddis of Kalani; Dianna Zane of Roosevelt; Shanadee Canon of Kalaheo; Nicole Fu of Maryknoll; and Melanie Feldman of Punahou.
They had their first practice yesterday afternoon in the humid, sweltering confines of McKinley Student Council Gym. Thoughts of faraway Japan weren't so distant, though.
"It's Japan. I'm Japanese," said the 5-foot-8 Matayoshi, who will be taller than a lot of her future foes.
Two games will be played in Hiroshima and four games will follow in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo.
"It's a good experience to travel outside of the U.S., especially as seniors," said Viena-Lota, one of the top players from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
Canon is a first-time member of Team Aloha.
"I like it. You get to meet all these great players from all over," she said. "Japan will be a good experience for me."
Viena-Lota and Awa-Williams formed a bond last year as teammates on the mainland trip, so there will be a lot of good-natured ribbing between them on the trip.
"Kamehameha should've won (in the ILH playoffs), then they would've played us," said Awa-Williams, only half-serious. Konawaena won the state title, defeating Punahou in the final.
THE FINAL FRONTIER
When the Hawaii Interscholastic Athletic Directors Association conference begins tomorrow on the Big Island, one of the possible proposals is a Division II state tournament in baseball.
Talk of D-II baseball had spurred ideas of Pac-West and Pac-East teams to accommodate players from small private schools on both sides of the island.
But Pac-Five coach Todd Koishigawa confirmed that there will be no split.
"From what I understand, it doesn't affect us at all. The ILH rule is that only one sport per gender can decide to go D-II. Pac-Five will go D-II in football, but in baseball everyone has to be Division I," he said.
The ILH made that decision, Koishigawa noted, only recently.
"I found that out about three weeks ago. I thought there was a possibility (of Division II baseball for the ILH)," he said. "They voted about it before I heard about it. After that, we had a meeting with all the ILH baseball coaches. We had no say in it."
Even if a proposal emerges at HIADA and is passed by the HHSAA executive board, Pac-Five won't have an option.
"For this year, I highly doubt it. The decision was made and that's what they're sticking with for one year," Koishigawa said.
He added that though Pac-Five has been "grandfathered in," new programs (such as Pac West and Pac East if they ever became reality) are required to have at least nine players from one school.
KALANI HIRES COACHES
Nathan Davis will take over as head coach for the Kalani boys basketball team and George Weeks IV is the new girls basketball coach.
Davis served as assistant coach under John Chung for five years. Weeks was the boys JV volleyball coach at Iolani from 1992-1995.
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