Lady Surfrider Fills Her Summer With Basketball, Track
By JACK DANILEWICZ
The by-product of being a three-sport athlete is that you seldom have a day off. That is not a problem for Kailua High’s Patria Vaimaona. Her work ethic is her forte, whether throwing the discus in the spring, playing basketball in the winter, or playing volleyball in the fall.
When it comes to the basketball court, Vaimaona will take on the added role of “coach on the floor” this year, if all goes according to plan.
“She’s starting to develop some leadership skills, which is something we’ll be having a talk about with her before we start next season,” head coach Mandy Llamedo said. “It’s going to be fun to see her in that role.”
“I try my best to bring all the girls together and teach them more,” Vaimaona said. “I learned a lot from freshman year, my sophomore year and my junior year. I think that what’s most important is that everyone is working together. Our bond with each other will determine everything.”
Vaimaona is looking for the right finish to what already has been a stellar prep career. Last month, she finished second in both the discus and shot put at the state track and field championships. She also has been one of the catalysts on the basketball floor of late, leading the Surfriders to back-to-back state tournament appearances.
Vaimaona’s long-range plan is to compete in both track and field and basketball beyond high school. “I’d like to do both in college,” she said, “so I’m working on both this summer.” She will play on two basketball teams this summer while also getting in her track and field workouts. In addition to playing for Kailua’s summer league team, she’s also competing with Hawaii Express Hoops. Coached by former Aiea head coach Fran Villarmia, Vaimaona and Hawaii Express will travel to Oregon for a tournament over the July 4 holiday.
Hopes also are high for Kailua, following last year’s 9-5 mark. The team also finished fourth in the OIA Red.
Back in the fold along with Vaimaona is guard Taufau Williams, who will be a junior next season. Both girls were named to the Second Team All-Stars. Williams averaged 17.5 points per game to finish third in the OIA Red in scoring. Vaimaona averaged 12.4 points per game.
“She’s a great shooter, and she’s getting better,” Vaimaona said of Williams. For her part, Vaimaona is logging a lot of game experience this summer between Kailua and Hawaii Express. “I’m trying to work on my all-around game — my post moves, my shooting and my defense.”
With a lot of fresh faces joining the varsity team for 2014-15, Kailua is in the re-group mode this summer as it melds the newcomers with the veterans. “Every summer is important so we can work together and get to know everyone’s skills and play as one during a game,” Vaimaona said. “Right now, we’ve been playing pretty good defense with the new girls. If we can keep it up, we’ll be good. It’s going to be a good year. I’m excited for next season.”