New Head Coach Leads Chargers Through Re-group Period

Kara Taniyama

Kara Taniyama

The Konawaena girls basketball program always has been able to create offense from their defense, and former Wildcat stand-out Kara Taniyama hopes her Pearl City teams will be cut from similar cloth.

“That is all we worked on this summer — our defense and our conditioning,” said Taniyama, who was hired as Pearl City head coach in the spring. “We have to be able to run, and I’d like to be able to run all game. That’s a work in progress now.”

The Chargers have been in re-group mode the past couple of seasons following heavy losses to graduation after their 2012 OIA championship team departed.

Miles Okamura, who was head coach in the late 1980s, returned to the program and was head coach again the past two seasons. When the job opened up in the off-season, Taniyama entered the picture.

A history and AVID (college prep program) instructor at the school, Taniyama had been head coach the past two seasons for Mid-Pacific’s junior varsity in the ILH.

As a player, she spent her last two high school years learning from Bobbie Awa, whose was then in her first two years as Konawaena coach. Awa has since transformed that program into one of the most consistent winners in the state.

“Her philosophy back then was a lot of old-school conditioning,” Taniyama said. “We didn’t touch a basketball for the first two weeks (of practice). I’m glad she was the way she was, because I wouldn’t be able to implement it here now if I hadn’t been through it myself.”

She also played two years at City College in San Francisco before returning to the Islands and earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees locally. Her assistant coaches at Pearl City include (JV head coach) Nikki Takai, Ben Cardoza and Jerry Gapol.

Pearl City was just 2-9 last winter, but several returnees were back in the fold during the recent summer league.

“I’m extremely excited,” Taniyama said of her appointment. “In fact, I was just talking to my assistants, and our senior class has a lot of talent. I’m not sure what happened here in the past, but just looking at the raw talent on the team, we’re excited. We didn’t win as many games as we would have liked in summer league, but we made progress.”