Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, February 17, 2002


Billings tries to wrap
up conference

By Jerry Campany

As conference races heat up, usually so do tempers.

But not in the Pacific West Conference, where coaches use their many years of experience and perspective to see each game for what it is -- a game.

"I've been at this for 28 years, and the only thing I know is that I enjoy kids," Montana State-Billings head coach Craig Carse said before last night's game at Hawaii Pacific. "Let's not kid ourselves, small-college basketball is an extension of high school -- it is about education more than basketball. None of the kids playing Division II needs basketball, they are genuinely in school for an education."

Montana State-Billings came to Hawaii with an opportunity to wrap up the conference title, but lost its first game of the road trip Friday to allow the Sea Warriors to come within a game and a half of them.

Still, the Yellowjackets did not come to Hawaii to lose, which they had done every year since 1998 before beating Chaminade by a point in McCabe Gym earlier this season.

Despite his team's recent troubles in the islands, Carse doesn't think that it is a reflection on his team as much as it is a reflection on the strength of the Hawaii programs.

After all, Carse is 26-20 in his long career of bringing teams to paradise.

He came to town this time knowing that his team had not had an easy time in Hawaii recently, but makes no excuses for it other than that Hawaii's four NCAA Division II schools are pretty good -- and a lot of that is by design.

"They play a lot of home games, good for them. I try to do the same thing," Carse said. "Everything that makes it hard for Hawaii teams to come to Billings is the same for us coming here."

Carse's Yellowjackets wrap up their swing at Laie against Brigham Young-Hawaii tomorrow.

Koolau Classic winding down: The annual Koolau Classic softball tournament will wrap up tomorrow at Laie.

Pool play ends today on Hawaii Pacific's windward campus, with Hilo taking on Chaminade at 9 a.m., then taking on the Sea Warriors at 11 a.m.

Hawaii Pacific then follows up with a game at 1 p.m. against Concordia, which wraps up the day against Hilo at 3 p.m.

The championship will be played at 3:30 p.m. in Laie between the survivors of the seeded tournament that begins at 8:30 a.m.

Division II page on Sunday: Next week the Division II Report will again run on Sunday, due to our Olympic coverage. The page will run on Fridays again beginning March 1.

HPU Sports

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