Prep Beat

By Star-Bulletin Staff

Saturday, November 14, 1998

Young Seabury Hall
reaches semis

By Catherine Toth
Special to the Star-Bulletin

Tapa

Experience usually will beat out youth.

But Seabury Hall proved the reverse can be true.

With just one senior, the fourth-seeded Spartans outlasted third-seeded Konawaena yesterday, 15-9, 14-16, 15-5, in the quarterfinals of the Nissan Hawaii High School Athletic Association boys' volleyball tournament at McKinley High School.

"I'm just proud of the way they've improved every single game," Seabury coach Don Molin said. "We're a very young team, but they're playing like a bunch of upperclassmen."

Out of 14 players, the Spartans rotate in six sophomores and seven juniors, four of which are over 6-feet tall.

"Everybody takes on the role of leadership," junior outside hitter Luke Brown said. "We're all friends and we don't get down on each other. I think our unity helps us win."

"And our good attitude," added sophomore outside hitter Chris Thibaut, whose six kills in Game 3 secured Seabury's win.

It's this attitude that pulled them through this tournament. In the first round, they took out Kauai in two sets, but barely squeezed by Waianae in three. Konawaena didn't make it easy either, taking the Spartans to another three-game marathon.

"They're very tough," Molin said. "They block well and they've got some great hitters."

The Wildcats came armed with experience. Eleven of their 14 players are seniors, including setter Makai McMichael.

"The competition was a lot different from Kona, so it was a good experience for us," the 5-6 senior said. "I'm not sorry about anything. I thought we had a great season."

The real test for Seabury will be in tonight's semifinal match against top-seeded Kamehameha.

The Warriors blew past Kohala yesterday, 15-4, 15-8. But the Cowboys made a last-ditch attempt to catch up in the second game behind the arm of senior middle blocker Tony Rocha.

"I was confident in our guys, but I was surprised that (Kohala) brought a lot of emotion to the game," Warriors coach Pono Ma'a said. "We wanted to play the emotional volleyball instead of just playing good volleyball, so that hurt us a little bit. But I thought we came back and did well."

Fueling Kamehameha's offense was senior middle blocker Micah Smith, who recorded eight kills in the second set alone. Fellow middle blocker Joshua Day, Kamehemeha's tallest player at 6-5, contributed six.

"Our middles and our setter (Kalei Chun-Dela Cruz) are really strong," Ma'a said. "And because of our ball control, it opens everybody up."

Although their tournament play is over, Kohala put up a good fight against the much-taller Warriors.

"It was pretty tough, but we were just having fun," Cowboys' sophomore setter Dwayne Keyes said. "We knew they were good, so we just played our best."

Seabury doesn't sound daunted about playing Kamehameha today.

"It's all up to our guys right now," Molin said. "They know they can play with anybody right now, but all six guys have to come up a notch. You just can't have one guy stepping up; you need all six players."

"I think they're beatable," said Brown, Seabury's go-to hitter. "We just can't make any mistakes."

According to Konawaena coach Guy Enriques, who scouted the Warriors during the tournament, Seabury will need to concentrate on its blocking in order to win.

"I don't think it'll be easy, but Kamehameha is somewhat predictable," Enriques said. "They go to their same guys. If (Seabury) can put up a good block, it'll make the difference. Kamehameha has a lot of movement in their offense, but the Spartans are big enough and quick enough that if they just slow the ball down, they might have a chance."

Four-time defending state champion Punahou breezed through its quarterfinals, sweeping Waianae, 15-3, 15-13. Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Pearl City knocked off Nanakuli, 15-7, 15-1, to advance to the semifinals.

Tapa

Nissan HHSAA Boys

Tonight at McKinley

Bullet Semifinals
Kamehameha vs. Seabury Hall, 2 p.m.
Pearl City vs. Punahou, 3:30 p.m.
Third-place game: 5:30 p.m.
Championship: 7:30 p.m.



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