Trojans Counting On Youth As Girls Basketball Begins

Early season travel always has brought out the best in the Mililani girls basketball team in recent years, in head coach Patrick Basilio’s view.

With that in mind, the Trojans opened their 2014-15 pre-season with trips on back-to-back weekends to both Hawaii island and Maui for tournaments.

“(Travel) always proves to be a big benefit to us,” Basilio said. “We definitely have that family environment now, and that’s No. 1 for us in preseason.”

With perhaps the youngest team of his tenure as the Mililani coach, the search for cohesiveness is more urgent. The Trojans opened preseason camp by welcoming returnees Summer Bolibol, Shantel Appleby, Jamie Yuki and Kristin Miguel, but fresh faces figure to fill out their remaining rotation.

“It is tough to gauge right now because we have so many young up-and-comers playing,” Basilio said. “The competition has been fierce. We’ve played the best teams in the state.”

Indeed, the Trojans already have faced Kona, Hilo, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Honoka‘a and Lahainaluna twice.

“Playing those teams gave our girls a good perspective, as far as them seeing how much we still have to work to reach that level,” Basilio said.

For their part, Bolibol, Appleby, Yuki and Miguel all experienced success a year ago for the Trojans, who went 15-2 overall en route to a third-place finish at the Hawaiian Airlines Division I State Tournament. (Mililani finished second to OIA champion Roosevelt.)

The foursome will likely see their roles expand further this time around, as the Trojans regroup following the graduation of standouts Kayla Torres, Mikaela Limper (Puget Sound) and Sarah Liva (Portland State).

Appleby, who is a junior post player, made the all-tournament team recently on Maui and is poised to have a great season, according to Basilio.

“She can pretty much do it all now,” Basilio said of Appleby’s progress. “We’re trying to get her to be able to play the 3 (position) in college so she can play fronting the basket and with her back to the basket.”

Yuki will handle the point guard duties this season, while Bolibol will hold down a forward spot.

“Summer has been coming along nicely,” Basilio said of Bolibol. “She’s probably our biggest leader right now. She’s trying to put a lot on her shoulders because she knows this is a young team.

“Jamie has come a long way,” he added of Yuki. “She worked hard through the spring and summer, and now the other girls look at her as a leader.”

Miguel, who recently was voted OIA West’s Volleyball Player of the Year, will likely play the center spot.

“She’s so strong, she’ll be our 5,” Basilio said.

The Trojans begin their OIA Red West season Dec. 18 on the road versus Campbell. The rest of Mililani’s road slate includes games at Waianae (Dec. 30), Leilehua (Jan. 8), Nanakuli (Jan. 14) and Waialua (Jan. 22).

Mililani’s home schedule includes dates with Pearl City (Dec. 20), Radford (Dec. 23), Kapolei (Jan. 6), Aiea (Jan. 10) and Waipahu (Jan. 20).