Jamboree brings basketball fans together


POSTED: Sunday, March 01, 2009

Old friends opened a door for new friendships at the 16th annual Mufi Hannemann Basketball Jamboree yesterday.

One of the teams in the 14-under final, the SFC Mustangs of Connecticut, made the long trek out of a snowstorm back East mainly because co-coach Jeff Hill played basketball at Harvard with Hannemann. A while ago, when Hill's daughter, Jamie, talked about playing hoops, the mayor's ears perked up. Soon, the Mustangs—a team of 12- and 13-year-olds—were en route to the islands.

The Mustangs have taken in some of the typical tourist sights, but going to Manoa Gym on a Saturday morning was the best detour.

“;They're in vacation mode. It's a thrill for them to be here,”; coach Hill said. “;But this tournament is more about what Hawaii is about, with its diversity of people.”;

Jamie Hill, a guard, gave props to Hawaii hoopsters.

“;The basketball experience? The competition is a lot better here,”; she said.

SFC, a team comprised of players from three small towns, fell to another Hoosiers-like team in the Kona Stingrays. The 'Rays had solid performances from Dawnyelle Awa and Lia Galdeira. Just 12 hours after leading Konawaena High School to a state championship, they suited up for their club team. They also competed separately in the prep-collegiate division, playing with other prepsters and former college stars like Nani Cockett (UH) and Aritta Lane (Fresno State).

That meant no breaks between games from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., but the two freshmen were all smiles throughout the day.


Simply golden

Coach Da Houl's team, led by ex-collegians Michelle Gabriel (UH) and Summer Aona, captured the Prep-Collegiate title with a 61-54 win over coach Mona Fa'asoa's squad. The high schoolers on the winning team: Kylie Maeda ('Iolani), Keely Bitanga (Kaiser), Michelle Hardy (Moanalua), Keaton McFadden (MPI), Mikela Thoemmes (Roosevelt), Kamie Imai (Waiakea), Georgette Lopes-Liutolo ('Iolani) and Galdeira.