Silverswords holds off rival Sharks in thrilling finish, 71-68

Silverswords holds off rival Sharks in thrilling finish, 71-68

 

Silverswords holds off rival Sharks in thrilling finish, 71-68

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 19, 2024

HONOLULU — This one came down to the wire.

Ross Reeves scored 20 — including the final two points with under seven seconds to play — as the Chaminade men’s basketball team outlasted visiting Hawai’i Pacific, 71-68, before a crowd of 236 Thursday night at McCabe Gymnasium.

The Silverswords snapped a three-game losing streak with the victory as they improved to 7-13 overall and 3-9 in PacWest play.

The Sharks (9-6, 4-3) saw four players score in double figures with Maj Dusanic leading the way with 16 points.

Dominique Winbush was the last HPU player to reach the double-digit mark, which came on a triple to make it a 69-68 game with under 40 seconds to play in regulation. His potential game-tying 3-pointer was wide left off the mark as the fourth quarter buzzer sounded.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

Chaminade snaps 40-game losing streak to Hawai’i Pacific, 77-66

Chaminade snaps 40-game losing streak to Hawai’i Pacific, 77-66

Chaminade snaps 40-game losing streak to Hawai’i Pacific, 77-66

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 19, 2024

HONOLULU — Finally.

The Chaminade women’s basketball team snapped a 40-game losing streak to crosstown rival Hawai’i Pacific Thursday night with a 77-66 win at McCabe Gymnasium.

The Silverswords also snapped a 13-game losing streak in the process as they earned their first win in PacWest play.

Sameera Elmasri scored a game-high 18 points off the bench, Ashley Holen had 17 and Alyssa Schuetze poured in 12 in a reserve roll to lead Chaminade (3-13 overall, 1-10 league).

The victors got it done on defense, holding the Sharks (4-9, 2-5) to just 29 percent from the field on 18 of 62 shooting.

HPU, who trailed by 12 at the half, was able to trim the deficit to three just before the fourth quarter before the home team was able to pull away for the breakthrough victory.

Haley Jones had a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds with three blocks to lead the Sharks in the loss.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

Family ties foes together ahead of Thursday PacWest “Battle of the H-1”

Family ties foes together ahead of Thursday PacWest “Battle of the H-1”

Family ties foes together ahead of Thursday PacWest “Battle of the H-1

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED JAN 18, 2024

HONOLULU – When the ball is tipped Thursday evening inside McCabe Gymnasium for the first of two matchups between Hawai’i Pacific and Chaminade this season, both programs will be vying for a hand up on the other in the first bragging rights matchup of 2024. 

The Division II rivals have played 58 times since 2003 but Thursday’s matchup will be the first time pitting a pair of brothers from the Ng family against each other. 

In all, there are five Ng children. The oldest of all is KJ, followed by 23-year-old Kam, then 21-year-old Kordel. The youngest son, Karter, rounds out the boys and the lone daughter, Kalysa, brings up the caboose on the Ng train. 

Only two of the Ng kids currently suit up for Hawai’i colleges on the hardwood. 

Kameron Ng, Chaminade’s redshirt junior guard, transferred into the Silverswords’ program and redshirted last season after starting his career at the University of Hawai’i-Mānoa. He spent two years at his home island’s Division I school before a detour to the Big Island for a season with the Vulcans at UH-Hilo. He was one of the more decorated hoopers in the state of Hawai’i coming out of high school, winning multiple HHSAA Division II titles in his time at Saint Francis High School while being named the Gatorade State Player of the Year in back-to-back years to close out his prep career. 

In his third transfer, Kam finally feels most at home. 

“[Chaminade] lets me be myself [even more] than my prior stops, and that’s not to say anything bad about the other two schools. I just [feel like I] can be myself, my personality, how I play, I feel like they let me be myself and I really appreciate that for sure,” Ng said. 

Younger brother Kordel, a junior at HPU, has not had to make as many moves as his older brother and did not receive as much national attention but certainly is a certified hooper himself. After three years competing for St. Francis, Kordel made his only Hawai’i school move up into the hills of Kāpalama to play with a friend for Kamehameha for his senior season. He took a prep season in Arizona following his senior year and returned home to compete for Hawaii Pacific after a brief stay on the mainland. 

For both brothers, staying in Hawai’i to continue their basketball careers and academic journeys was important. 

“I wanted to be home and play in front of my family,” Kordel Ng said during a phone interview. “The mainland is a lot different from Hawai’i and I just really like the island vibes so that was big for me.” 

After finishing his high school stay with a bang, older brother Kam had a few options to go to the mainland for college but chose to forgo those opportunities to stay home and play for the state’s school. 

“I took a couple visits [to mainland schools] but nothing really felt comfortable, felt like home like Hawai’i does,” the second-oldest of the five Ng children shared. “When it came down to it, I felt like playing in front of friends and family and being able to go home whenever I want to? [Those were] big reasons for staying home.” 

Both quickly saw the benefits of playing in their home state, allowing friends and family to watch as their stories continued to be written. For Kam, he made the move after two seasons with UH to head to the Big Island, suiting up for the Vulcans of UH-Hilo for the 2021-22 season and remaining within the Hawaiian Islands as he worked with a fresh start. 

At that same time, Kordel had just committed to HPU and would be on the basketball team for the upcoming season – his first at the college level. The two brothers, both growing up playing together and for the same teams, would become enemies between the lines for the first time with both colleges holding membership in the PacWest Conference and promising a pair of matchups between the programs. 

Both of those rounds went to Hilo. The first game saw the Ng brothers both come off the bench, neither playing more than 16 minutes as the Vulcans cruised to a double-digit win. The second meeting, however, had a bit more on the line with both brothers being inserted into the starting lineup. 

“Going into the game we both knew we were going to start so there was a little talking before the game,” Kameron chuckled as he reminisced. 

“There was a lot of friendly competition… plus [when we both started] it was at the old Saint Francis gym, so it was good fun,” Kordel recalled. 

The former St. Francis standouts, returning to the old stomping grounds, both wanted that win a bit extra. 

“It was kind of joking, talking back-and-forth. When it got to the game, I dapped him up, I hugged him and right after that it was that he was my enemy,” Kameron said of the games. 

Two years later, the time has come for a new entry into that friendly family feud. 

After a year and change away from the court dealing with transfer rules and injury, Kameron made his return for Chaminade on December 12 and has played in nine straight games since to give him the needed warmup to knock off the rust ahead of the Silverswords’ matchup against HPU on Thursday. 

He was forced to watch from the bench last season as the programs split the annual pair of matchups and brother Kordel was forced to wait another year before potentially getting a chance at revenge and to pick up his first win in the Ng Series that favors Kam. 

While there’s excitement in the two different players matching up for the third time in their college careers, it’s hard not to see the connections that remain between the brothers. 

Each has kept a social media handle of @Kamfromross or @Kordelfromross for almost as long as either can remember. For them, it serves as a childhood joke with friends about where a lot of their wardrobe was from but also a reminder of how they started as they continue their journey. 

The similarities don’t stop there. Each of the guards dons the number 50, honoring the state of Hawai’i wherever they go. While Kordel has never switched his number, Kam was the one that came up with the idea. 

“When I was at UH-Mānoa, I wore #50, so I started it,” Kam laughed telling HSRN. “Before I went into college, I told myself I was going to wear #50 wherever I went just to represent Hawai’i. I’m Hawaiian, Hawaiian-blood, so I like to represent Hawai’i as much as possible… I think Kordel being a good little brother, he understood that.” 

Kordel admitted as much, allowing that the inspiration to wear #50 in college came from his brother after his high school number (#3) was taken when he got to HPU. To him, pride in representing both his home and his family was everything – from college choice to jersey number. 

On the court, the actual skills of the sport between brothers can be divided amongst the pair. Surprisingly enough, each agrees that while Kam has a slight edge in shooting, passing, and ball-handling, it is little brother Kordel that is the lockdown defender and better athlete among the two. 

“He’s not far off in most of the categories from me,” said Kam during a full analysis. “Every summer we’re working out together so I would be a bad older brother if I was saying I was way better than him… I’ll give him athleticism and defense; I’ll give him those two… He’s actually an elite playmaker.” 

When asked on his end, Kordel, with a big grin, agrees only to add: “Athletically-wise, my worst day is way better than his best day.” 

Both will get the chance to show the other how right they are on Thursday as Chaminade hosts Hawai’i Pacific in a crucial PacWest mid-season matchup. While both want to show a little extra in a matchup that is sure to have family in the building, both are certainly more focused on securing a win for their squad. 

“Whether it’s me and him going at it or if our teams are going at it, I just want it to be a competitive game,” Kameron said about the upcoming matchup against HPU. “When we’re out there at the same time, I’m going to go at him. I’m not going to go easy on him and I don’t expect him to take it easy on me.” 

“Oh, and I hope to come out with the win, that’s the main thing,” he added to close. 

One question remains then: who the heck do mom and dad root for? 

Of course, the middle child had the answer. 

“For my parents, it’s pretty easy,” Kordel joked leading up to the game. “I’m their favorite so easily they’re going to pick HPU. They’re big Sharks fans.” 

You can listen to Hawai’i Pacific @ Chaminade men’s basketball matchup that tips off around 7:30 p.m. HT on Thursday, January 18 on Hawaii Sports Radio Network, 95.1 FM / AM 760 or streaming on hawaiisportsradio.com – also available in podcast form following the conclusion of the game where most podcasts can be found.  

Silverswords come up short to the Urban Knights, 67-58

Silverswords come up short to the Urban Knights, 67-58

 

SILVERSWORDS COME UP SHORT TO THE URBAN KNIGHTS, 67-58

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 14, 2024

HONOLULU — The first home game of 2024 was not a winning one for the Chaminade men’s basketball team.

The Silverswords could not overcome a tough first-half stretch as they fell to visiting Academy of Art, 67-58, at McCabe Gymnasium Saturday afternoon.

Chaminade held a 10-6 lead in the first half before giving up a 10-0 run that it didn’t recover from as it trailed 30-20 at the break. The Silverswords made the second half competitive and won the frame, 38-37, but came up short as they fell to 6-12 overall and 2-8 in the PacWest standings.

Four players scored in double figures for the Urban Knights (10-5, 6-2) as they were led by Rodney Munson’s 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting (5 of 8 from beyond the arc).

Ross Reeves scored 20 points with six assists and Isaac Amaral-Artharee chipped in 12 points to lead Chaminade in the loss.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

Chaminade drops heartbreaker to Academy of Art, 74-68

Chaminade drops heartbreaker to Academy of Art, 74-68

 

Chaminade drops heartbreaker to academy of art, 74-68

BY MICHAEL LASQUERO | HSRN
PUBLISHED JAN 14, 2024

HONOLULU — They almost had it.

After taking an eight-point lead at the half, the Chaminade women’s basketball team lost a tough one Saturday afternoon to Academy of Art, 74-68 at McCabe Gymnasium.

The Silverswords were seeking their first win in almost two months as they dropped to 2-11 overall and 0-6 in PacWest play.

Paint presence played a big factor in the second half as the Urban Knights outrebounded Chaminade, 51 to 37. They also had six blocks to the Silverswords’ one.

Four players scored in double figures for Academy of Art (4-10, 3-5), with two players notching double-doubles. Alba Rovira Ayuso led all scorers with 24 points on 9 of 18 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds and four steals.

Leading Chaminade in the loss was Sameera Elmasri and Ashley Holen, who scored 13 and 11 points respectively.

The Silverswords will try to snap an 11-game losing streak when they host Dominican on Monday.

PHOTOS BY MICHAEL LASQUERO

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

Local Pro, College coaches give back with USA Baseball Community Clinic at Farrington

BY PAUL BRECHT | HONOLULU
PUBLISHED DEC 18, 2023

KALIHI — Ten coaches, many with local Hawai’i ties that are sprinkled across the collegiate and professional baseball and softball landscape, came together this past Saturday evening for a five-hour clinic at Farrington HS in conjunction with USA Baseball — open to the public with a donation of $10 or more to the Maui Food Bank.  

In all, 15,000 meals were raised for the Maui Food Bank with San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Sean Manaea matching donations — wanting to help the cause. 

The event was split into five 45-minute presentations covering culture building, infield mechanics, pitching, bunting & baserunning along with a hitting Q&A panel with current and former professionals, all led by Hilo-native, Waiakea alum and current Cleveland Guardians Major League field coordinator Kai Correa. 

It was the third straight year that Correa has been able to put on the local clinic but the first time partnering with USA Baseball, who was referred to as a perfect partner for local Hawai’i baseball programs due to the amount of free resources USA Baseball provides — helping combat the lack of resources many programs face in Hawai’i. 

After a brief welcome from Andrew Bartman, the Director of Coaching Development for USA Baseball, Hawai’i Pacific University baseball head coach Dane Fujinaka began the informational portion of the clinic with a presentation about culture building and realistic player development plans. Among the main points touched on by Fujinaka and HPU strength & conditioning coach Skylar Yamamoto were making sure the team and individuals set goals before the season and to make sure those goals are attainable. 

CLE Guardians Major League fielding coordinator and Hilo native Kai Correa introduces HPU's Dane Fujinaka.

Yamamoto and Fujinaka often referred to the “lowest hanging fruit” that provides the most impact in players. To show this, the two coaches presented four case studies of players on the Sharks’ roster that increased pitch velocity, command, hitting for power and hitting for contact between spring and fall league games. The key often was that improvements were made in minimal ways but in impactful categories, looking to average exit velocity and maximum exit velocity for hitters and looking at strike percentage and fastball velocity averages for pitchers. 

As for culture building, creating healthy internal competition amongst the team with training groups and keep results posted for accountability. Fujinaka referenced the HPU baseball social media with graphics showing the team’s hardest throwers being posted as a list for everyone to see. That small piece of external proof of progress creates more intense competition while not gnawing at team camaraderie. 

Chaminade baseball’s head skipper Chad Konishi took the stage next, sharing the fundamentals of pitching for those in attendance with a focus on five specific keys to look at during the delivery of a pitcher — Balance, separation, direction, extension and anchor. 

Konishi believes that good pitching is built upon repeatable mechanics that are efficient. With a focus on those five keys, coaches can look to main categories to create a throwing motion for pitchers that is consistent and allows for instruction that is simple and connects with the player. 

The Silverswords head coach also discussed strategies for keeping runners close, the desire of what a pitcher wants to accomplish in controlling the run game and the body balance of pitchers. 

The clinic shifted to offense as University of Hawai’i-Hilo coach Jensen Sato got a chance to share the Vulcans’ secrets on developing strong running games on the base paths and proper bunting techniques and why each can be used in games. During the segment, Sato talked about the amount of preparation that goes into being a quality bunter and base runner before the game and moment that each skill is executed. 

Like many things in baseball, Sato shared that base running is built off of feel — the Vulcans coach runners to take the same lead each time by keeping the same routine for certain bases. Similarly for bunting, excellence in the technique comes from preparation by getting a player’s feet ready and balanced before trying to “catch” the ball with the bat to deaden it in the dirt. 

Those in attendance were treated to a special attendee as University of Washington softball head coach Heather Tarr spoke about the Huskies’ successful ways and how they’ve been able to build an elite program — presenting the blueprint of championship seasons. The near-lifetime Husky coach dropped multiple tidbits of knowledge and tools for young coaches to use but made sure to drive home that coaches and teams knew their “why” of a season, understanding that the “why” was the foundation and the “how” and “what” of seasons would help carry only as far as the foundation. 

Next was the Q&A panel that featured Kansas City Royals’ hitting coach Keoni DeRenne, Tampa Bay Rays’ prospect Shane Sasaki, former Chicago Cubs’ prospect Christian Donahue and former Milwaukee Brewers’ draft pick KJ Harrison to talk about various hitting topics, sharing their personal views on hitting and some of the best drills they found for working on specific movements in swings. Correa led the panel as the question mediator, keeping the conversation moving at a quick pace but allowing time for informational responses from the guests on stage. 

Correa closed the evening with an informative infield presentation of his own with the assistance of Fujinaka and former Washington softball superstar and current USA Softball player Sis Bates. The former San Francisco Giants interim manager talked about the five outs that are unaccounted for from regular ground ball outs, fly outs to the outfield and strikeouts. In that group, Correa showed, are rundowns, “stretch & picks”, pop flies, relays, re-directs and tags. In each of those instances there are little mechanical keys that great ball players in baseball and softball are able to do naturally without thinking to increase effectiveness. Some of those keys included preparation of the body before the ball arrives on a throw, efficient transitions from glove to hand and mental preparation of where the ball needs to go depending on placement of throw, among many other things. 

Overall, Correa and coaches were pleased with the outcome of the local clinic, hoping to continue the partnership with USA Baseball for years to come with the love of the sport in Hawai’i.