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H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Friday, December 1, 2000



Bragging rights
up for grabs

The season has just begun, the games are all nonconference affairs for now, but local bragging rights among the four local small college basketball teams are already up for grabs beginning tonight.

Though the games will not count in the Pacific West Conference standings, Hawaii Pacific travels to the Cannon Activities Center for a 7:30 game against Brigham Young-Hawaii. Chaminade faces the University of Hawaii-Hilo at Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium on the Big Island in a 7:15 p.m. game. Except for BYUH, the other three have faced primarily Division I teams so far this year.

The Seasiders are the preseason pick to repeat as PacWest Pacific Division champions, a title they took away from the Sea Warriors last year.

Yet the rivalry goes much deeper than that, as the two teams have battled each other competitively since their days in the NAIA (both joined PacWest and NCAA Division II in 1998).

"It's always a big game when we play them and you always like to have bragging rights early in the season," BYUH coach Ken Wagner said. "This game has no impact as far as qualifying for the national tournament and the important games are later on, but it's always good to win against your rivals."

Both the Seasiders and Sea Warriors have just one returning starter each on their teams (senior forwards Isaac Turley for BYUH and Kawika Smith for HPU), yet both have restocked heavily with talent and depth.

"They're much like us with a lot of new players, and the fact that they are picked to win the league provides motivation for us," HPU coach Tony Sellitto said. "It may be hard for the new guys to understand the history between the two teams, but I don't think rivalries are hard to understand.

"Having to play at their place this early will be good for us, too."

Chaminade at UH-Hilo

The two teams were preseason picks to finish near the bottom of the eight-team Pacific Division, yet each of their respective head coaches feels he has the players to contend.

Both Chaminade's Aaron Griess and Hawaii-Hilo's Jeff Law said they saw positive signs of improvement when their teams tangled with Division I competition a week ago.

"Every game is a big game for us, but this is a very big game," Griess said. "We want to set the tone early for this year."

Said Law: "It's huge for us, no doubt about it. This game will be a very good indicator of where we are right now, and we need to take advantage of home cooking right away."

Brandon Lee, Special to the Star-Bulletin

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