Newcomer Made Big Impact On Trojan Girls Basketball Team
Mililani head coach Patrick Basilio was quick to tap transfer Taylor Babbitt an “impact player,” when she joined the basketball program in the offseason. His faith was rewarded many times over this winter.
“She was everything we expected and more,” he said of Babbitt, who was recently named as a First Team selection after averaging 12.2 points through 18 games to lead the Trojans. “She did really well coming in as a senior and not knowing the girls or our system yet.”
Babbitt reached the 20point plateau three times and hit at least one 3pointer in 15 of 18 outings. An injury in the second quarter of Mililani’s state tournament game against Kaimuki ended her season, unfortunately for the Trojans.
Teammates Nayla Long and Kapili Amamalin were named to the Second Team. (All-Conference teams are chosen in a vote of league coaches at season’s end.) Both are juniors and figure to be key components next season.
Long, a 5-foot-8 forward, averaged 11.9 points per game. She reached double figures in scoring in 10 games, including posting a season-high of 21 in the state tournament win over Kaimuki. “We knew she would be one of our better players coming in,” Basilio said. “Through the years we’ve seen her grow in leaps and bounds. After watching her (solid play) at the state tournament, there’s no telling what she can accomplish next year.”
Amamalin was the team’s leading scorer, averaging 13.3 points per game. She reached double figures in all but three games, establishing herself as one of the Red West’s most consistent performers. “Coming in, we knew she would be our most improved player because she never stops working. Over half of her points probably came on hustle plays.”
Mililani also had Jerika Dacuycuy, Kaylee Torres and Kayla Wright named Honorable Mentions. Basilio had special praise for Torres, who was a defensive star in the post as a junior this year. “She always shuts down the other team’s best player.”
The Trojans went 14-4 overall (10-0 in the Red) and earned one of the league’s berths for the state tournament.
Leilehua also capped off a solid season recently, going 9-4 overall (8-2 in OIA games). Carissa McBride was a Second Team All-League selection, averaging 10.6 points per game and posting a season-high of 16 twice (versus Aiea and Waipahu).
The Mules also had seven players Mariah Ross, Jerri Maluyo, Tiffany Reyher, Elyshia Bowden, Krizzle Calip, Jazmyn Dangaran and Precious Loi-On earn Honorable Mentions.