It’s hard to argue with success.
Especially when it looks like this on paper: 21 points, 18 rebounds, two blocks. Sure, 8-for-21 shooting isn’t prime, but on the other hand, Chance Kalaugher re-established himself as the dominant low-post scorer in the OIA on Tuesday. Kaiser improved to 9-1 in the OIA East and a remarkable 23-4 overall with a 59-55 win over powerhouse Kalaheo.
With first place in the division on balance, the Kaiser senior scored 15 points in the fourth quarter. That’s 15 points on 6-for-11 shooting in the fourth, dominating the offensive glass. He was 2-for-10 in the first three quarters, almost exclusively shooting from the perimeter. He had a smooth alley-oop dunk courtesy of PG Nic Tom, but also hit two 3-pointers. One of those treys was a mini-dagger during a crucial fourth-quarter run.
Still, all this begs this question: how dominating would Kalaugher be if he played in the post exclusively?
And this: would that really be in his best interest, looking ahead to the next level? These are questions that coaches have asked themselves, and Chico Furtado was the first one I thought about. The current Maryknoll girls basketball coach was an assistant to legendary Pete Smith more than a decade ago when Julian Sensley was a force at Kalaheo. The 6-foot-7 (or 6-8, depending on who you ask) junior would rule in the low post.
One game I recall followed a simple pattern: Sensley, who later starred at the University of Hawaii, would wander on the 3-point line and the game was close. When the coaching staff put him in the low post, Sensley was unstoppable and the Mustangs opened a 15-point lead. Then they’d let him roam the perimeter, and the lead disappeared to nothing. Back in the post, Sensley powered his team back to a 15-point lead.
Are we seeing Julian Sensley 2.0 in Chance Kalaugher? Yes and no. The pattern is similar, but Kalaugher, at 6-4 and 225 pounds, is shorter and very explosive, a dunking machine if defenses allow it. He can also catch fire from the 3-point arc.
Furtado recalls the Sensley years vividly.
“I remember several games where Julian started floating. I’ve only seen Kalaugher play one time, not a lot. Sounds like he has some versatility. You look at how Sensley played, at the same time Ryan Hogue played. We would never let Ryan do what Julian did,” Furtado said.
Hogue, who went on to play at UH-Hilo, is now the athletic director and head coach at Sacred Hearts. He sparked the program in his short stint so far; the Lancers were ranked in the Top 10 during preseason. He’s also got a post, Jessica Hanashiro, who has perimeter skills.
“We always want her to take the smart shot and be smart on defense,” Hogue said after a recent Sacred Hearts game, a close loss to ‘Iolani.
Hanashiro, though, is 5-8, a full foot shorter than Sensley.
“Julian possessed a kind of versatility that allowed us to let him venture out to the 16-, 17-foot range, eventually to the 3-point range,” Furtado recalled. “Sounds like Kalaugher has a similar type of skill set. As a high school team, selfishly we wanted (Sensley) to stay inside and dominate high school players, but as high school coaches, we have to help him develop what he needs for the next level.”
See part 2 of Chance Kalaugher: Sensley 2.0? on Friday.