No. 9 Hilo likes to run and gun


POSTED: Friday, December 25, 2009


A little of the new and a little of the old have a lot of veteran watchers intrigued in Hilo.

The Vikings are in reload mode under coach Kyle Keamo, but that doesn't mean they're struggling. With the arrival of two transfers from Waiakea, Hilo is in position to give league-wide favorite St. Joseph a serious run for the league title.

Hilo enters the regular season ranked No. 9 in the Star-Bulletin Boys Basketball Preseason Top 10.

On paper: Hilo returns scorers like Scotty Wong and Dustin Leong, and also has former Waiakea starters Dakota Allen and Mitchel Shintani.

“;I think as a whole the kids get along,”; Keamo said. “;We've been blessed with kids who like playing with each other.”;

The chemistry project has gone fairly well. Hilo is 7-3 in nonconference play, posting wins over 'Iolani, Honokaa, Keaau and Kamehameha-Hawaii last week to capture the Hilo Holiday Prep Classic title.

Allen, a post scorer, had 17 points in a win over Baldwin on Monday. The Vikings' six-game win streak ended with a loss to Harker on Tuesday at St. Anthony's tournament on Maui, followed by a loss to Kamehameha-Maui.

The skinny: Keamo succeeded the late Larry Manliguis two seasons ago, and with former All-State guard Jason Mandaquit on his bench as an assistant, the Vikes have some of their old mojo back.

Hilo won the 2000 state title with a swarming fullcourt press and Mandaquit at the point.

Figuring out the nuances of the press, as well as keeping up with the energy level of its uptempo, fast-break system, is a key for the new players.

X factor: Learning how to downshift is a must.

“;We need to work on patience and spacing on offense,”; Keamo said, noting that Hilo's had more games than practices in the past two weeks.

“;We like to get up and down. Sometimes when we don't get a score in transition, the kids want to be quick instead of being patient and taking a good shot.”;