Sports Notebook

Pearl City seen as
tops in OIA West

By Nick Abramo

Many Oahu Interscholastic Association girls basketball coaches point to Pearl City as the top team in the West Division this year.

Radford coach David Lane is one of them.

"I think Pearl City is by far the outstanding team in the division," he said. "Christie Ayers is a top guard and Marci Lobendahn is a top post. Then they've got Amy Fujihara, who hit a bunch of 3-pointers against Nanakuli. They're senior-laden and loaded."

Chargers coach Mike Morton, who is good friends with Lane, knows his team is talented, but said the girls "have got to want it."

Campbell and Radford may prove to be among the strong contenders, and Aiea could turn out to be a sleeper.

The Sabers are led by post Jamie Kua and point guard Jalen Garcia, while Lia Mickey and Tereva Moore are among the Rams' top guns.

Leilehua's Pikake Nutter-Gaudet, who scored 28 points in a loss to Mililani, is also one of the West's best players.

Looking across to the East, Lane sees Kahuku, McKinley and Farrington in the top tier, but rates Moanalua as the team to beat.

"Their zone is so tough," he said about the Menehunes. "Then there's sleeper teams like Kailua, and Roosevelt can play as well. They can all play over there in the East."

Morton agreed: "If you even make the playoffs in that division -- fifth or sixth place -- you can still make the states. If we were in the East, we'd probably be .500."

Tough job for Nitta: Mililani athletic director Glenn Nitta will soon be working on finding a replacement for departed girls soccer coach James Uson. It won't be an easy task. Uson led the Trojans to the state title a year ago and into the last three state finals.

"He brought our program to the highest level of state soccer," Nitta said. "We will miss his demeanor, his patience and his knowledge of the sport. He was easy to work with, mellow, and we're thankful he stayed this long.

"We have such a high-profile soccer program, so it's important to find someone to continue on with what James has done."

Ramie sees close race: Kamehameha baseball coach Vern Ramie doesn't think there's any clear front-runner in the ILH this year.

"It's anybody's league," he said. "It's like that every year, but that's the beauty of this league. You've got to be ready to play every day. A good example of that is Damien, a team that has struggled, beating a terrific Mid-Pacific team.

"That's what makes it fun."

Toyama gives: OIA executive secretary Dwight Toyama donated one of his kidneys to help save someone else's life.

He did it because he didn't like the math.

"In the state, 340 people are waiting for a kidney," he said. "Over 49,000 people across the nation are awaiting a kidney and only half will receive one. And anywhere from 12 to 16 people die each day waiting.

"Most transplants are done with a cadaver kidney, but there's a much better success rate with living donors."

Toyama isn't too worried about the possibility of needing to have his kidney replaced some day.

"If you've got two of something, you can function with one -- one eye, one ear, one kidney, whatever," he said. "The best match is a sibling. In case something happened to my kidney, I've got a big family and know someone would step forward to help me."

Nickles sets mark: Mililani's Chun Mei Nickles broke the OIA girls pole vault record at the George Yamamoto Invitational last weekend by clearing the bar at 11 feet.

Tigers need volleyball coach: McKinley is seeking applicants for a girls varsity volleyball coach. Resumes can be sent to Neal Takamori, c/o McKinley High School, 1039 S. King St., Honolulu, HI, 96814.

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