Just five practices into the new season, the Kamehameha Warriors had some things to figure out, just like any other girls basketball team.
Three games later, they’re finding their footing. Fast pace. Just a blur. Bombs away in transition and bombs away in patient, precise halfcourt offense. Kalina Obrey hasn’t posted up quite as often as she did as a junior and sophomore, but her ability to knock down the 3 makes her essentially a stretch 5 now, and that opens the lanes for her slasher teammates.
“This is the first week of basketball, so things were sloppy. Things will come together as they play together more. It’s a whole new system,” Warriors coach Pua Straight said.
Kamehameha went 2-1 in the Matsumoto Law Group McKinley Black and Gold Classic. One of the aspects the Warriors do well is get in people’s personal space. When Coach Straight has her team in fullcourt annihilation mode, there is no better team in the state — though Maryknoll might be their equal — at constantly harassing ball handlers across all 94 feet (or 84 in certain locales).
“We have a lot of girls that can play, so we’re trying to see if we can get to that depth,” Straight said. “Whatever we need for that game, it would go accordingly, but we want to run. We’re trying to push when we get the ball, and it’s different from the way they played before. Although we’re a big team, we’re also fast and we want to see if we can get some of those post-ups in transition.”
Among the active posts is Noelle Sua-Godinet, who played through a sore ankle. Brooke Manuel and Kalisha Kanoekapu also showed a lot of potential on the low post.
The hoopsters of Kapalama Heights were in brisk form throughout the Matsumoto Law Group McKinley Black and Gold Classic. Obrey was clutch in the late going against Kalani, turning a 58-all game into a 69-65 win. Obrey, who recently finished volleyball season as one of the top middle blockers in the ILH, scored 16 points. Haley Masaki also added 16.
On Saturday, Kamehameha lost to Lahainaluna, the dynastic program from the MIL. The Lady Lunas prevailed 46-39 and avoided an 0-3 showing at the Classic. Lahainaluna’s halfcourt man defense was at its best after looking sluggish in the first two days. Obrey finished with 13 points, but wasn’t a huge factor down the stretch as Susie Namoa covered her in the paint and out to the arc.
“It’s hard because she’s very talented in all aspects, so we want to utilize all of that. If I was coaching against her, I don’t want her on the block where she can dominate,” Straight said. “We’re working on getting her more touches there. We’ve got to trust that if she’s been caught bringing up the ball a lot, that our younger girls can bring the ball up.”
The Warriors closed out the tournament with a 64-42 runaway over OIA title contender Mililani. Obrey scored 14, mostly in the paint, while Malie Marfil hit five 3-pointers and finished with a team-high 16 points. Esther Naum added 13.
“They’re anxious to step up, and it’s that fine line between going and getting it, but also letting the game come to you,” Straight said. “We had a lot of open shots today and Malie was the one hitting. The shots that we did miss, the outside shots, were all short. That’s coming from the fact that we’re not in condition at the speed we want to play at.”
Next on the menu, Kamehameha meets Kauai on Thursday, 6:30 p.m., at Kalaheo’s Lee Cashman Invitational.