Kahuku Basketball Strategy: First, Stop The Other Teams

In mid-season of Windward prep basketball, a team’s statistics largely summarize its season to date.

The numbers that mean the most to Kahuku girls head basketball coach Scott De Silva are related to the defensive end. And six games into OIA Red East play, the numbers show his team to be a better-than-average defensive team.

“We have to improve on all aspects, but right now the focus is on the defense, and our offense will come,” said De Silva, now in his second year at Kahuku, following a previous stint at Mililani. “We have to be able to stop other teams. We’re not good enough to rely on just playing offense.”

Kahuku is yielding 46.6 points per game to date. Only league-leader Roosevelt, which handed Kahuku its only loss, has fared better, giving up 38.4 points per outing.

Besides its defensive play, team balance also has paid dividends to date. Even so, Kahuku’s depth will be tested in the coming weeks with an adjusted rotation. The team recently lost guard Talia Brown for the season to an ankle injury, and teammate and standout Pati Anae’s prep eligibility clock expired as of Sunday, so she won’t be a part of the rotation.

“Pati had been stepping up and having a good year,” De Silva said. “Because of the way it worked with her transferring, she was only eligible until Dec. 30. Talia was our second primary ball-handler, so we really have to look at our options now to see how we can match up (with other teams’ backcourts). It will be a challenge. Our main focus right now is to get through these next three games and see where we’re at.”

The Red Raiders will need all hands on deck to compete with Kaiser, which was off to a 5-1 start of its own in league play. “We haven’t seen them since preseason, so they’re a totally different team now,” De Silva said. “Like us, it looks like they have different girls stepping up (as the team’s leader). We’ll make adjustments as needed and go from there.”

De Silva’s starting lineup of late has included Fia TaileleLatu, Tara Tailele, Delycia SeuiMatagi, Hookela Schwenke and Sinamoni Tonga, but the play of the bench could have a huge impact on how far Kahuku goes in the post-season.

It was for that reason that De Silva used a lot of players during preseason. “Each game, someone else has stepped up,” he said. “Throughout preseason, the other girls played well.”

On the heels of the Kaiser game on Friday, the Red Raiders will have six days off. They return to action Jan. 10 versus Kalani. Kahuku closes out its season with games versus Kalaheo (Jan.12, home) and McKinley (Jan. 15, away). A first- or second-place finish in the East would guarantee Kahuku a favorable seed and first-round bye for the upcoming OIA tournament.

“Whether we’re playing a Division I or Division II team, every game is important,” De Silva said. “You never know. We’re getting better every day, and we’re optimistic.”