Wednesday, May 19, 1999
money to Chargers
The twin sisters have helpedBy Cindy Luis
the Pearl City girls' basketball team
to a 12-1 record and a berth in
the state tournament
It's the team cheer that echoes across the gym whenever the Pearl City High School girls' basketball team breaks from a huddle.
Win or lose, the Chargers do it together. Most are two-sport athletes, some play three sports. They've spent a lot of time together this school year, from volleyball to softball or soccer and now to basketball.
That overall athleticism has carried Pearl City to berths in the state volleyball and soccer tournaments, and they just missed out in softball. Tonight, the Chargers make their second-ever appearance in the state girls' basketball tournament.
Pearl City (12-1) opens against Oahu Interscholastic Association West rival Nanakuli (10-3) at 6:30 p.m. at the Stan Sheriff Center. It's a place few thought the Chargers would be this week.
Coach Alfredo Canencia says that without junior twin sisters Momilani and Mililani Monis, Pearl City may not have made the OIA playoffs, let alone gone through the season unbeaten until running into top-seeded Kalaheo in the OIA final last Friday.
"A lot of our players do two, three sports but, for the twins, basketball is first," said Canencia, in his sixth year with the Chargers. "They're real natural athletes and they practice hard every day. When they first came in as freshmen, you could see the potential. They pick up things quickly.
"Momi is more of a finesse player. Mili is stronger and was on the varsity as a sophomore. Mili does more of the behind-the-scenes things on defense, is more vocal and is one of our team captains. Momi is probably the better ball-handler and shooter."
Statistically, the 5-foot-7 twins are not far apart. Momi Monis, floating between off-guard and small forward, averages 10 points and five rebounds; Mili Monis, at power forward/center, averages nine points and nine rebounds.
Basketball is their third sport this year (volleyball and softball were the others).
Basketball is their passion.
"It was the only thing we played in eighth grade and I've always liked it better," said Momi Monis. "It's a more physical sport. "And I like our team. I would come to practice every day if we had it."
The athletic genes are there, as well as the support. Dad William Monis was a standout in baseball and football at Waianae; stepfather Jesse Baugh was an all-star basketball player at Nanakuli and also excelled at football and track.
It was Baugh who worked with the twins when they decided to try out for basketball in eighth grade.
"The twins are doing OK this year, better than expected," he said. "Their offense is coming along, but it can still improve.
"They are athletic. I just give them some insight."
Baugh talked about a dirt court outside the family home that is surrounded by hedges. He said his daughters never hesitated when diving for loose balls.
"They'd dive in the hedges, in the dirt, down the hill for balls," he said. "They have the instinct for the game."
And the desire.
"It's better now that we're both on the varsity," said Mili Monis. "Me and my sister click on the court. She knows what I'm going to do with the ball and I know what she's going to do, without us talking."
Canencia has experienced the "twin thing."
"They always seem to know where each other is on the court," the coach said. "They know when the other is in trouble and always seem to find a way to help each other out."
"They're both good players and it's nice to have two of them," said junior guard Rachal Lacar, also an all-league pitcher in softball. "They play hard, always show good sportsmanship and are fun to be around."
The twins enjoy being twins and friends. They have their differences - Momi likes English and hates math; Mili likes math and hates English.
In volleyball, Mili plays middle, Momi outside. In softball, Momi is in left field and bats left; Mili is in right and bats right.
Both want to do well this week. They'd like another shot at Kalaheo, which handed the Chargers their only loss of the regular season.
But it's still one game at a time.
"I just want to do my best for the team," said Momi, the younger twin by six minutes.
"We're just keep working hard like we have all year," said Mili.