Kapolei’s Toe Motu Named OIA West Player Of The Year
When teams prepared to play the Kapolei girls’ basketball team this winter, defending the Hurricanes’ center Toe Motu was always a high priority.
That only makes her recent selection as the Oahu Interscholastic Association West Player of the Year all the more impressive, given that defenses were especially geared to stop her. They met with mixed results.
“Our main thing was to always know where she was,” said Kahuku coach Scott DeSilva, whose team edged Kapolei and Motu in the OIA Tournament. “She’s like a center playing guard. She’s a slasher. Her versatility is her strength. She’s tall and she can shoot, and when she elevates, who’s going to block her shot?”
Kahuku did perhaps better than most to contain Motu, holding her to 7 points, but it came at a price, as the Hurricanes’ Paige Kaea lit up the gym for 24 points that night in a losing effort.
Motu averaged a teambest 13.2 points per game and was a consistent scoring threat, reaching double figures in 11 straight games and all but one game overall.
She posted season-highs of 18 points on two occasions versus Nanakuli and Mililani helping Kapolei to an 8-5 overall record. (The Hurricanes went 7-3 against OIA competition.)
All-Conference lists are selected in a vote of league coaches at season’s end.
In addition to Motu’s selection as Player of the Year, Kapolei also placed Kaitlynn Lanier, Anna Jean Souza, Chermayne Yago and Kaea on the Honorable Mention Team.
As expected, Pearl City was well-represented on the West’s All-Star lists, as seniors A.J. Sylva and Sabrina and Shawna Angle all were named to the First Team. The trio helped lead the Chargers to their firstever OIA title in girls’ basketball.
Pearl City finished 14-1 overall (they were 10-1 against OIA competition) making the Hawaiian Airlines State Tournament for the third straight year.
“From playing together so long, those three really developed a niche with each other as far as how each plays,” De Silva said of Sylva and the Angle sisters. “They’re also so disciplined; if they are ahead or down in a game, you wouldn’t know. Nothing fazes them. The game is easy for them in a positive way.
“They can all shoot,” he added, “and they provide quiet leadership. I don’t think any of them ever says a word (on the court).”
Pearl City coach Mike Morton was chosen as the West’s Coach of the Year, providing the perfect ending to a highly successful run at the school. Morton retired at season’s end to spend more time with his young family.
The Chargers also placed Danielle Magana, Krystlynn Naputi and Tiari Walker on the Honorable Mention Team.
Campbell’s Cassie Ernst, who was the West Player of the Year as a junior in 2010-11, was named to the Second Team after averaging 12.0 points per game. The Sabers also had Kealohi Akiyama, Mariah Kelly and Antonette Labausa chosen to the Honorable Mention Team.
Kaala Leopoldo was chosen to the Second Team from Aiea. Na Ali’i teammates Pumehana Beltran, Alysha Cooper-Tabisola, Taryn Hannemann and Mich’Lae Higa were selected Honorable Mention.
Abasial Kaiulani was named Honorable Mention from Waipahu.