GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Farrington guard Val Lesu, front, will be in the Governors' backcourt again this year.
Running required under Tatupu at Farrington
If the Lady Governors of Farrington give fans a certain retro vibe this season, it's not by accident.
Under the tutelage of new coach Caroline Tatupu, Farrington is pushing the gas pedal to the floor on both ends. That's exactly the way Tatupu likes her basketball.
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"Fullcourt and halfcourt presses. It's back to the old system," she said, referring to Farrington's heyday, when run-and-gun basketball was the norm under boys coach Harry Pacarro.
One of Pacarro's best players, Steven Leopoldo, assists Tatupu, which is why practice sometimes seems more like a track meet. The imagery of constant motion and fullcourt drills shook off the weak links before tryouts began.
Only 20 players turned out.
"The word got out that we're going to run, and that made a difference," Tatupu said, not a bit concerned. Many of the Lady Govs -- 11 of the current 13 -- played under Tatupu on the JV.
2006-07 record: 16-14 (10-6 OIA Red).
On paper: Though the Govs lost longtime coach Jenic Tumaneng, and standout guards C'ani Kealoha and Elaine Leaupepe (graduation), they haven't skipped a beat. Farrington is 3-0 in nonconference play with wins over McKinley, Punahou II and Word of Life.
Tatupu gives her players the green light, but only within their shooting ranges.
"Whatever we're capable of, I'll throw out there," she said.
Her front line is young, but athletic, aggressive and tall. Jerica Onosai (5-9) and Lusina Otineru (5-10) are juniors, while Sofia Folaumahina (5-11) is only a sophomore.
Guards Val Lesu and Honor Stone bring experience to the backcourt, but floor general Natalie Mata is at least one week away from returning from an ACL injury that sidelined her last year.
The skinny: With the talent from last season's varsity and JV teams, Farrington is competitive. With the addition of two transfers, the Govs may well contend for the OIA championship.
Janelle Nance is a 5-11 sophomore who came to the Govs from St. Francis.
Brydgette Tatupu-Leopoldo, a 5-7 freshman, should step in smoothly. She attended Mid-Pacific in eighth grade and for one quarter this fall, carrying a 3.3 grade-point average. Then, she decided to play for her dad, Steven, at Farrington when the new staff was announced.
The Govs are ready for a frantic pace, but unlike the old-time Pacarro teams, won't be platooning five at a time. Not yet.
X factor: The point-guard situation is a dilemma for Tatupu, who would like to see Mata and another returnee, Precious Maave, return to form. Sometimes the best weapon against a pressing team is to unleash a press against its offense, returning a taste of its own medicine.
The Lady Govs will find out shortly whether they're ready for the big time. They face Maryknoll tonight and Punahou on Friday. Both games are part of the McKinley Tigers' tournament.