New Castle Girls Coach Dives Into Summer Basketball Play

Castle High School has turned to a familiar face to run its girls basketball program, having recently hired former boys junior varsity head coach Joe Lilio.

Lilio had spent the last five years in the position, but will now have the opportunity to lead his own program. The Knights recently returned to practice with renewed enthusiasm in preparation for the Kalaheo Summer League, which began over the weekend.

“It’s my first go at having my own program, and I’m excited and can’t wait to get started in trying to turn this thing around,” said Lilio. “This is a good year. We have a lot of returnees. We had a lot of young girls playing the past two years, and now they’ve matured.”

Castle went just 1-10 last season, and will face its share of good competition this summer, as the Hawaii-Select All-Star team and the Eastsidaz Basketball Club will compete in the league along with Iolani and host Kalaheo.

“We’ll have only three days of practice in by the time of our first (league game), so I’ll be looking forward to seeing how we’ve progressed at mid-season. We hope to be hitting our stride by then. They are just getting their basketball feet back under them right now. We’re trying to get back to the basics and teach the fundamentals.”

Creating a family atmosphere within the program has been made easier for Lilio in that he currently has four nieces – Shaney and Sheastel Tiumalu, and Kaira and Saesha Tilton – on his summer roster.

Sheastel (“Ella”) was one of the team’s top scorers a year ago, averaging 8.4 points in the OIA regular season. She also posted a season-high 23 in a game with Farrington in December and had a double-double (16 points, 13 rebounds) in Castle’s first-round playoff loss to Kalani in February.

“(The Tiumalu sisters) will be the leaders of this team,” Lilio declared. “They’re both projected as captains right now. They’ve been here three and four years.”

Lilio is also excited about senior returnee Darrien Dacosin and sophomore-to-be Sierra Koki, who was a standout in JV last winter. “She’s going to be a real big help to the varsity with her ball-handling,” he said.

Among Lilio’s first priorities has been to provide a work-manlike mindset throughout the program. “From what I’ve seen, our work ethic (is what I like best so far),” he said. “We have a new coach and a new system, and the attitude is a lot different. They seem excited by our staff. We have high expectations. We’ve set our goals early.”

Ven Agullana has been hired as Castle’s new head JV coach.