Wednesday, February 24, 1999
HPU to open withBy Jerry Campany
Special to the Star-Bulletin
When Hawaii's division two basketball teams said good-bye to the HIAC, they knew that it would come down to a real tournament with more at stake than simple pride and bragging rights.
Hawaii Pacific, Chaminade and Brigham Young-Hawaii will compete in the Pacific West Conference tournament beginning tomorrow at the Blaisdell Center and ending Saturday at Mid Pacific Gym.
This tournament is more important than the past HIAC championships because the winner earns a spot in the NCAA II regional tournament March 4-6, with a chance to advance to its national championship tournament.
The Sea Warriors have reeled off nine straight conference wins to earn nearly every advantage over the field of eight. Every advantage except the top seed.
Hawaii Pacific is hosting the tournament and is the only nationally ranked -- 23rd in the latest poll -- squad in the tournament, but is seeded second.
Hawaii Pacific was bumped from the top spot -- and the right to face 7-11 Humboldt State -- because of its loss to top-seeded Central Washington on the road.
To HPU coach Tony Sellitto, that game is ancient history.
"They were at home with a tremendous crowd behind them, and it was our first road game of the season," Sellitto said. "Ever since that loss, our guys have wanted to get them over here."
Before the big dogs meet, both teams will have to win games against desperate teams seeking redemption for earlier losses and advance to the final game.
With the No. 2 seed comes an opening round game against cross-town rival Chaminade, who dealt Central Washington its only loss of the season.
The Sea Warriors have beaten Chaminade three times this season.
Brigham Young-Hawaii (7-7) opens up against an Alaska-Anchorage (10-4) team that it beat earlier in the year, but the Seasiders have lost to a lot of teams that they should have beaten and feel ready to trot out the team the conference expected to see from the outset.
"We haven't had as good a regular season as I thought we would have, but now we are ready to play and I like our chances," BYUH head coach Ken Wagner said.
"It is strange to say coming off a couple of tough losses, but I feel like we are in a better mental state now than any time this year. This is our chance."
Three Sea Warriors, one Seasider named among best in PacWestStar-Bulletin staff
Hawaii Pacific didn't miss a beat when moving from NAIA to NCAA Division II this season.
The Sea Warriors, ranked 23rd in the final national poll this week, dominated the all-conference selections much as they did Pacific West Conference play.
HPU (19-6, 12-1) placed three players on the PWC all-Pacific Division team yesterday: Robert Parker, Shannon Lee and Willie Flowers. Also named to the team were Brigham Young-Hawaii's David Evans and Jim Hajdukovich of Alaska-Anchorage.
Evans, a 6-foot-6 guard, was also named the PWC's Newcomer of the Year. He averaged 23 points for the Seasiders, who are seeded fifth in the PWC Tournament that opens tomorrow at Blaisdell Arena.
Parker, a 6-6 swingman, led HPU with 18.7 points per game and 45 blocked shots. He was named the conference's Player of the Week on Monday after scoring a combined 60 points in two Sea Warrior victories last week.
Lee, an NAIA honorable mention all-American last season and a 6-foot product from Kaimuki High, averaged 13.2 points and 7.8 assists.
Flowers, originally a walkon for the Sea Warriors, averaged 18.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in PacWest play as HPU went 13-1.
Seattle Pacific senior forward Jeff McBroom was named the PacWest Player of the Year. He was also an all-Western Division selection, leading the conference with a 24.0 ppg average.
Coach of the Year honors went to Greg Sparling of 17th-ranked Central Washington. The Wildcats (17-1) are seeded first in this week's conference tournament.
At Blaisdell Center
Brigham Young-Hawaii (7-7) vs. Alaska-Anchorage (10-4), noon.
Humboldt State (7-11) vs. Cent. Washington (17-1), 3 p.m.
Seattle Pacific (12-6) vs. Saint Martin's (10-8), 5 p.m.
Hawaii Pacific (13-1) vs. Chaminade (7-7), 7:30 p.m.
At Mid-Pacific Gym
Semifinals 6 and 8 p.m.
At Mid-Pacific Gym
Championship, 7 p.m.