Strong Defense Provides Offensive Opportunities For Sabers

At the midway point of its OIA West season, the Campbell girls basketball team’s best offense has been its defense. That’s all fine with first-year head coach Summer Aona, who has placed a special emphasis on the Sabers being able to defend.

“We’re trying to create a different atmosphere on the floor than they’ve had in the past,” Aona said. “We’re trying to instill man-to-man defense instead of sitting back in a zone. We still have a long way to go, but we’re making strides. We’re still learning, but I think our defense is coming along nicely.”

The Sabers’ attention to detail on the defensive end has fueled a lot of offensive opportunities, something Aona is counting on from her team again this Thursday when Campbell returns to action with a home date versus Waianae. “Our fast break,” Aona said of the key to Campbell beating Waianae. “Our goal is to run. It’s been our goal for all games. We want layups off of steals and after rebounds. Hopefully, we can continue (to generate offense by way of defense).”

The Sabers took a 2-4 record into last week, when they were idle, posting wins over Waipahu and Pearl City. The losses came to Aiea, Kapolei, Mililani and Leilehua. Thursday’s game with Waianae looms large for their playoff prospects. Games with Waialua (Jan. 10, away), Radford (Jan. 12, home) and Nanakuli (Jan. 15, away) also remain before the OIA tournament. As of last weekend, Waianae and Campbell were tied for the sixth and last playoff spot for the upcoming OIA tournament.

“We want to win the rest and have a winning season,” Aona said.

With last week off, the Sabers were able to use their time to fine-tune their schemes. “We’re always working on our fundamentals, and we’ll also have an intra-squad scrimmage on Friday. It’s a matter of us working on our execution and getting them to play smarter.

“We have great shooters,” she added. “They like to shoot. At the same time, we need to capitalize and get enough shots. Part of that is the execution of our offense.”

Aona is most buoyed by her team’s cohesiveness to date. “We have a team with really good chemistry,” she said. “They all get along really well, and that helps. And we have girls who play hard. We don’t have a team of stars. We’re trying to instill in them that our team is ‘a team.’ We need all of them. They all contribute in unique ways.”