The road to a boys doubles championship in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has often and almost always been paved through ‘Iolani or Punahou.
This year, it went through the winding path of Kapalama Heights. Marcel Chan and Roman Kop brought Kamehameha its first boys doubles tennis title in about a decade, according to coach Jacob Lono. Cole Millare and Tyler Black won the ILH title in 2000.
Lono believes more than a half-century has passed since a Kamehameha duo has won the state boys title.
“I’m pretty sure it’s going back to 1950 or ’40,” said Lono, a science teacher on campus.
Chan and Kop defeated Marco Kobayashi and Darin Poei of ‘Iolani 7-5, 6-2 in the final on Monday at Patsy Mink Central Oahu Regional Park.
Chan plays in the back while Kop, battles at the net. The two played some singles matches during the regular season.
“Our strength was in our doubles,” Chan said. “We’re both talented players from the baseline, but (Kop) has really good volleys. He takes over the net. I work the back and we get a lot of points like that.”
Kop, a junior, also noted their combination of skills.
“Marcel can pull off some crazy shots. Backhand, crazy, hard-as-heck kind that can go through your strings,” Kop said of the sophomore.
Kop and Chan have played together for two years and hadn’t faced Kobayashi and Poei until Monday’s match.
“We knew that they were both really good at singles, but we had confidence going into the match that we would take it. We know our game really well and we know how to work with each other,” Chan said. “We both started attacking the net more and they got tight.”
Lono, who has been at Kamehameha for 21 years, especially appreciated the accomplishment of his boys doubles team.
“You’re looking at Punahou, such a dynasty, for us to beat them for any of these titles, it’s amazing. It’s a huge thing,” Lono said. “That’s what we’re kind of looking for, for our kids to get the recognition that they so deserve because we don’t have a program that feeds in like a lot of the schools. We do get some players who get into Kamehameha Schools, (but) we need players. We pick up a lot of our players passing during classes in school. I pull them from the halls.”
Kop and Chan will team up again at the Carlsmith Ball/HHSAA Tennis Championships at Lahaina next week.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser