HBA long-range bomber Emi Wada thriving in exhibition action

Emi Wada was a key part of the Eagles squad as a sophomore last year. Photo courtesy of Daryl Ching.

The last time a Wada splashed this many 3-point shots, it was Ally, the two-sport standout now playing volleyball at Portland State.

The youngest of the Wada sisters, Emi, doesn’t spike or serve. The junior guard poured in 19 points in a loss to Kamehameha on Saturday, pumping in three treys in the final quarter. That triggered a question that was on the territory of Ally Wada’s roundball skill set: why not shoot more?

Ally Wada was capable of scoring 20, 25, 30 points every night in ILH Division II play. She preferred to stay within the system, looking for teammates first, and score a modest 10 to 12 points most nights. Good decisions with an occasional scoring rampage spook an opponent.

Emi Wada? She may be reaching the surface of her potential. In the classroom, she has a 4.06 grade-point average. On the court, she could become a bigger scorer than Ally and oldest sister, Rylie.

“Emi is hard working, willing to put in the time,” Hawaii Baptist assistant coach Isaac Hayashi said. “She just continues to grow, find ways to get better year by year. We’ll just continue to see her grow in these next few months into next year and see what she’s able to do individually and as part of the whole team, as well.”

Wada’s smooth perimeter shooting is part of an arsenal that emphasizes attacking the rim. With the season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, she put more time into her skills.

“In the beginning when we first got locked down, it was actually nice to realize that I have life outside basketball,” Wada said. “But then, probably after a couple of months not doing any kind of competition, I was pretty tired of it. My dad (Darren) had us do one-on-one drills.”

She also spent time working out with her Hoops4Christ club teammates, Jacie Nava and Lishae Scanlan, who also play for ILH D-II rival Hanalani. At HBA, drills were practiced on the middle school outside court as part of the school’s safety protocols.

“We couldn’t even share balls for a long time,” Wada noted. “I’m still in the process. I work on moves a lot, but I have a hard time implementing them in my game, so I work on that slowly.”

The brief exhibition slate is a blessing, but as it ends nearly as quickly as it began, there are only more questions. How good would HBA have been this season? Scoring 19 on a D-I powerhouse like Kamehameha doesn’t happen often for any player, let alone one from a D-II program.

“Once I started making my 3s, I felt like I got a lot of momentum, like we were really in it and it was going to be a close game,” Wada said. “I try to always drive and create for other people. I try to be aggressive and, hopefully, get fouled or pass out. I feel like I’m trying not to be selfish and sometimes I don’t take the best drive.”

From left: Candi, Emi, Ally, Rylie and Darren Wada. Photo courtesy of Emi Wada.

The camaraderie of the Eagles’ squad, a team that has contended for the D-II state title, is deep, the kind of teammates that aren’t shy about cheering for one another.

“I think for the girls, throughout the past year, they stayed engaged and played together,” Hayashi said. “It’s probably the roughest year most of us had to face. The benefit to see where their hard work has gotten to.”

HBA will host a senior-night intrasquad game on Saturday.

Lockdown staples

Top movies/shows

1. “Grey’s Anatomy”

“My favorite character is Alex.”

2. “Friends”

“I can’t pick a favorite character from Friends. I like them all!”

3. Hallmark Channel Christmas movies

Top 3 food/snack/drink

1. Frozen blueberries

2. Roasted broccoli with salt and Costco no-salt seasoning

3. Dark chocolate

“Any brand of dark chocolate as long as it’s at least 70 percent dark.”

Top 3 songs

1. “Everyday” – Troy and Gabriella, High School Musical 2

2. “Humble and Kind” – Tim McGraw

3. “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” – CityAlight

New life skill: Healthy baking

“Anything that catches my interest, especially cookies and cakes.”

Major in college: Possibly dentistry.

“I’m not sure, but I’m looking a career in dentistry. Hoping to specialize in orthodontics. My orthodontists are Dr. Tammy Chang Motooka and Dr. Shellian Kawamoto.”

Shout outs

“Thank you, God, for watching over us and protecting us from sickness. Thank you, H4C team and coaches for coming out to practices to push me to get better. Shout out to my parents (Candi and Darren) and family for setting standards that help me to achieve more than I thought possible.”


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