Merry Roundball, Part 2: ‘Iolani Classic


Had some time off today, got some work done, then went to the ‘Iolani Classic.

Opening-day scores:
Yates (Texas) 76, Kalaheo 73
La Lumiere (Ind.) 75, Tsinghua (China) 39
Oak Hill (Va.) 78, Kamehameha 37
‘Iolani 46, McKinley 27

• I asked tourney founder (and ‘Iolani girls assistant coach) Glenn Young if this is the best field ever, expecting him to say no.

Instead, Coach said it is the best. Nearly 30 years after starting this awesomeness, and this is the BEST EVER field. Imagine that. So many great teams and players of the past … and every roundball fan on the island can experience it for a few bucks. Four games tomorrow, then all-day/all-night the rest of the week. Not to mention the slam dunk contest.

• Yates (Texas) trailed Kalaheo 48-32 in the third quarter before rallying for a two-point win. It was a matchup in contrasts. Kalaheo took care of the ball for three quarters. Yates was, as usual, a tall, long and athletic team. Kalaheo relied on kick-outs for corner threes (mostly by Zuttermeister) while Yates ravaged the paint and dominated the boards.

Kalaheo is tall by island standards, but against Yates it was foul city. Yates had the bonus in the second half with more 5:12 left in the third quarter. Bizarre. But Kalaheo still hung in to the end, a fine night spoiled by three turnovers in the final minute or so. It was a great second half to watch. The ‘Stangs stand to learn from this game and improve — even as one veteran fan watching the game told me they’re probably the best team in the state. How can they improve?

Learn how to take a charge. It might not be necessary in local games because of their height advantage, but a few defensive stops via charging would’ve been huge.

• La Lumiere (Ind.) was tough, physical, defensive-minded. Total blowout of Tsinghua (China). The Lakers are the first team from the Hoosier State to play in the Classic. That’s because the state association forbids playing out of state. But La Lumiere is not in the association; it’s an independent school, one of the few in Indiana. Amazing, huh?

More on the Lakers later.

• Oak Hill (Va.) has brought better teams to the Classic, but this team is still athletically without peer, at least after the first night. They don’t have a wealth of perimeter sharpshooters or a go-to slasher scorer, but they have, as always, good ball movement and that relentless work ethic on defense. And the pre-game dunk show always gets its share of oohs and aaahs.

Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser


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