’Tis The Season For Hooping It Up

As January turns into February this week, much of our attention focuses on the local basketball court.

As I write this, we are having one of the closest races ever in PacWest men’s and women’s basketball. Four of the conference’s men’s teams Chaminade, BYU-Hawaii, Dixie State, and California Baptist are in a virtual deadlock for first place. And five of the women’s teams Cal Baptist, Dixie State, Grand Canyon, HPU and Academy of Art are within a game and half of the top of the standings.

This is definitely a great week to attend an important game. Dixie, Grand Canyon and Cal Baptist are all in the Islands this week. There are key encounters at Chaminade and HPU on Monday and Wednesday, at BYU-Hawaii Thursday and Saturday and then again at Chaminade on Saturday and HPU next Monday. Check out www.thepacwest.com for specific dates and times.

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Mana Hopkins leads the PacWest in scoring. Photo courtesy HPU

BYU-Hawaii’s Jet Chang who was the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Most Outstanding Player last year once again leads the PacWest in scoring. Chaminade’s Matt Cousins is currently second in points per game.

On the women’s side, HPU’s Mana Hopkins is tops in the PacWest in scoring with BYUHawaii’s Shayla Washington second.

Meanwhile, both the University of Hawaii Wahine and Rainbow Warrior teams have key home contests coming up. Kamilah Johnson leads the Wahine in both scoring and rebounding as they host Idaho Thursday and Utah on Saturday at Stan Sheriff Center. The men’s team, led by tri-captains Zane Johnson, Miah Ostrowski and Vander Joaquim, has two huge WAC home games next week, against Nevada Feb. 9 and Fresno State Feb. 11. These are very crucial contests for each of these UH teams, as they fight for the best position in next month’s WAC Tournament.

Speaking of tournaments, the HHSAA girls basketball state tourney is set for next week, Feb. 7 to 10 at Blaisdell Arena. The big question is whether anyone can dethrone the juggernaut Konawaena, this year’s unanimous No. 1 team and the defending champs from last year.

The boy’s basketball state tournament isn’t until the end of the month, Feb. 22-25 at the Blaisdell, and it’s anybody’s guess who will win it all.

Punahou, AOP, defending state champion Kamehameha, Kahuku, Kalaheo, Iolani and others all look strong as the regular season winds down.

Finally, for those youngsters who aspire to be top high school or future collegiate hoopsters one day, there’s a new showcase basketball camp on Oahu this month and next. The inaugural Hawaii Regional of the popular nationwide Phenom basketball camps is set to tip off at Kaiser High Feb. 11 and 12 for boys and girls currently in grades 5 through 8. A camp for high school players (grades 9 to 12) will be held March 10-12 at Manoa Valley District Park. Cost for the three-day Phenom Hawaii camps is $195 and includes coaching tips, skill development, and great competition. For more information, contact regional camp director Kalani Silva at 557-9001 or email kalani@phenomhawaii.com.

Hoop it up, Hawaii!