Hannemann Jamboree brings out the best from the women
Brandy Richardson deserves better than to be asked about air balls.
If anyone asks, though, she can laugh about it. The former Kalaheo and UC Santa Barbara player was among many former college players who suited up in the 15th annual Mufi Hannemann Jamboree yesterday at Manoa Recreation Center.
She laughed about her miscues, though she also showed flashes of her athleticism and skill in an otherwise physical matchup with Nani Cockett's team.
"You can mention the two air balls," she said of her first experience as an alumna of the event. "I don't mind. It's fun seeing the best players from Hawaii come together. No other state does that. It's great that Mufi has done this."
The event drew current high school standouts, as well as top teams in the 14- and 12-and-under divisions. Tournament play kept all four courts running through the day.
Richardson's squad, Team 7, reached the final of the Prep-Collegiate bracket by beating Nani Cockett's squad (Team 5).
Team 4, led by Britni Ronolo, Shawna-Lei Kuehu and Elysse Umeda, beat Team 7 in the final 40-38. Kapaa's Terri Maguire was the coach.
Now an assistant coach at Moanalua, Richardson has as much fun watching young players develop as she does playing the game.
"I think when you're older, it's fun to see the younger ones like Mana Hopkins (of Konawaena). She's really good. I'm surprised UH hasn't offered her. She has a nice midrange game and that's hard to find on the college level," Richardson said.
Hopkins has an offer from Division II Hawaii Pacific.
Among the prep players were several who had played in the state tourney the night before. Jamie Smith of Iolani suited up, as did Brittni Fuller and Itali Lindsey of Radford. All three had played four nights in a row, but pushed aside fatigue to play in the Jamboree.
Other notable hoopsters were Danielle Awa and Leah Galdeira of the Stingrays, South Kona's prominent club team coached by Bobbie Awa. The Stingrays edged 808 Basketball Club 27-23 in the 14-under final.
In the 12-under final, the Sting defeated the Rebels (Kahuku-Laie).
The Jamboree honored former UH guard Da Houl for her service in women's and girls basketball. Houl is an assistant coach at Mid-Pacific and has participated in the Jamboree since its inception in 1993.