Jamboree gives girls basketball players 1 final hurrah


POSTED: Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's all about the kids at the Mufi Hannemann Basketball Jamboree.

Some of the top age-group girls basketball clubs from Oahu squared off, as did many of the state's top varsity players.

But for Kyla Evers, the game continues to give her exactly what she puts into it. At 31, the former 'Iolani and University of Hawaii hoopster was out there competing with the high schoolers as one of the ex-collegians. She was a big factor on both ends of the floor as her team, coached by former UH player Hedy Liu, won the title against Tani Dutro's squad.

“;Finally, after 10 tries,”; Evers exclaimed.

For a decade, the teams she played on were ousted. For years, it was a double-elimination format. Now, in the one-and-out format, her team won its three games and Evers was everywhere, blocking shots, running fast breaks and hitting jumpers.

Basketball gave her a chance to get back in shape.

“;I lost the 20 pounds just working out and training against the small-college players,”; she said. “;I'm looking forward to the next D-I league.”;

Some of the youngsters, like Molokai standout Kalei Adolpho, were done after one loss.

“;In a way, it's good because you're done, but you kind of want to play some more,”; the 6-foot-1 junior said.

Waiakea's standout, Kamie Imai, played with Evers for three games and didn't seem a bit fatigued despite the long week at the state championships, which wrapped up on Friday.

“;It's about having fun playing basketball,”; said Imai, who will play at Utah State next season.

McKinley's do-everything guard, Kylie Sato, has been in the Jamboree for years, including two as a high school player.

“;I played with the Starzz for Coach Gerald (Hieda) about four times in the Jamboree,”; she said. “;You get to meet new people. Everyone wants to play more, but there's not much time, I guess.”; Sato, along with about 150 onlookers, awaited the start of the age-group finals featuring clubs like Eastsidaz, 808 Basketball and Kalakaua. The next wave of talent keeps coming.