Playing Good Defense Keeps Pearl City Boys In The Game

Playing time on the Pearl City boys basketball team is earned on the defensive end of the court. That has been the message from head coach Lionel Villarmia since the preseason began back in November.

Three months later as the Chargers look to make a post-season run that theme hasn’t changed.

“We strive to play good defense, we work hard on it,” Villarmia said. “Our three senior leaders have really bought into our defense, and the rest of the guys have jumped in with them. We tell the kids that playing good defense will keep us in games and help us get the points we need.”

The Chargers entered their OIA playoff game with Kahuku (a 45-40 loss) last Wednesday leading the Red in team defense, holding opponents to just under 36 points per game.

Pearl City had opened the playoffs with a 41-38 win over Castle last Tuesday to advance to the matchup with top-seeded Kahuku.

The OIA’s double-elimination tournament continues this week. The top five finishers will earn the league’s berths for next week’s Division I state tournament.

A state tournament appearance would be the ideal finish to what has already been a stellar season for Pearl City. (It was to play Kalani over the weekend as the tournament continued).

The Chargers’ only three losses during the season came on the road to Kapolei and Mililani and at home to Leilehua. Their resume also includes signature wins over Campbell and Castle.

Veterans Marc Suniga, Kailon Sabate and Paul Perry III have been the leaders to date.

“Paul plays bigger than he is,” Villarmia said of Perry III, who is 5-11. “He’s a leader on defense, and he rebounds well. Marc always guards the other team’s best player. He can guard a One (guard) to a Four (post player). He’s quick with long arms and long legs.

“Kailon has a good knack for the ball, and he’s super quick,” he added of Sabate, the Chargers’ starting point guard. “He leads our offense, too. We like to try to control the tempo of the game, and he’s also good at attacking the basket.”

The Chargers received an added boost to their back court with the return of Lawrence Glisson, who joined the team late but has seen his playing time increase the last three games. He has a teamhigh 11 points in last week’s playoff loss at Kahuku. “He gives us another ball handler so we can play Kailon at the Two (shooting guard) spot,” Villarmia said. “Kailon, Paul and Mark all probably play at least 28 minutes a game.”

Villarmia also praised the play off the bench by junior forward Tysen Hilcox, who has complemented the Chargers’ inside attack of late.

“He brings a lot of offense to the team. He plays big for his size, and he’s a good rebounder.”