Chargers Making Most Of Offense, Maintain Strong Defense

Lionel Villarmia built his current Pearl City boys basketball team with the post-season in mind. That meant making the most of every possession on the offensive end and becoming difficult to play against on the defensive end.

As the Chargers begin OIA post-season tournament play this weekend, those two objectives will be front and center again, according to Villarmia.

“We’re old school — we start practice with defensive drills,” said Villarmia, whose team took an 8-1 record into their season finale Monday versus Waianae. “It’s our strength. We’re small, but we’re active and we have a lot of team speed, which makes up for our lack of height. These guys play hard. They’ve bought into playing defense.”

Pearl City is giving up only 32.5 points per game on average. Indeed, the team yielded 40 points or more in just two games — a 12-point win over Waipahu last week, and versus Kapolei in a 47- 44 loss Jan. 26.

The defensive play has been complemented by being deliberant and efficient on offense. “We try to be patient and not take the first three-pointer that’s available to us,” Villarmia said. “We want to make the defense work.”

Pearl City already had wrapped up the second seed from the West for the OIA tournament by the time of the Waianae game, and will host a quarterfinal game at 7 p.m. Saturday against the winner of a game between the East’s No. 3 seed and the West’s No. 6 seed. The Chargers also are seeking a second straight appearance in the Division I state tournament, which is Feb. 20-23. The top six finishers at the OIA tournament receive the league’s bids.

Pearl City will be among the more seasoned teams in this year’s OIA tourney, as four starters returned from last season.

“Our seniors had a taste of it last year — getting to the state tournament,” Villarmia said.

Pearl City’s starting lineup currently features Sonny Glisson, Tyson Hickcox, Reymart Rosario, Isaac Amorin and Daicorri Briscoe.

“Sonny is our driver — he’s driving the bus,” Villarmia said, “and the power is Tyson, our 5-11 forward. Reymart is a good all-around player. He knows the offense, and he shoots the ball well.

“Isaac is our top defend- er or specialist,” he added of Amorin. “He always defends the other team’s top offensive player.

Daicorri gives us a energy.”

The OIA tournament field also will be highlighted by Kapolei out of the West, and East teams Kalaheo, Farrington, Moanalua and Kahuku. Kapolei was the tourna- ment runner-up last year to Kahuku. This year, Kalaheo was still unbeaten entering the weekend. The defending DII state cham- pion Mustangs moved up to DI this season.

“The top three in each league (East and West) separated themselves early. All of them could be right there (in contention). Kapolei looks good. Coach Gary (Ellison) has done a good job with them. They have the size to play with anybody. Kalaheo, Moanalua, Farrington … any one of them could win it.”