Pearl City Girls Clinch Berth In State Basketball Tourney
By Jack Danilewicz
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The girls basketball postseason hasn’t been just a “farewell tour” for Pearl City High’s seniors, but for outgoing head coach Mike Morton as well.
No one is ready to say their goodbyes just yet. If anything, the Chargers have saved some of their best performances for the biggest games. With wins over East powers Kahuku (50-45) and Kaimuki (3229) to begin the doubleelimination OIA Red tournament last week, they’ve already clinched a berth for the upcoming Division I state tournament. (The Chargers were to play Roosevelt over the weekend in a winners-bracket game. The tournament continues this week.)
East teams have dominated the OIA tournament historically, but Pearl City was more than up to the task, especially in its win over Kaimuki, which saw the Chargers hold the Bulldogs to 22 points under their season average of 51.0 points per outing.
“It was unbelievable,” Morton said of the defensive effort. “They’ve bought into our defense, and they know the main stat is a ‘W.’ Offensively and defensively, we’re playing our best. The Mililani game (Pearl City’s only loss on Jan. 7) was a wake-up call for the girls. They were disappointed, but I was really impressed with how they came out to practice the next day and look at them now. It just made them work harder, and they understand that their hard work is paying off.”
Morton called the success “a total team effort, right down to the kids who are sitting on the bench.”
Senior guards Adrienne Jean Sylva and sisters Sabrina and Shawna Angle have been huge, meanwhile. All three played the entire 32 minutes versus an athletic Kaimuki team and have helped negate the height disadvantage Pearl City usually endures night in and night out.
“Size doesn’t matter if you’re disciplined on defense and you block out,” Morton explained. “Along with Kaimuki, we’re probably one of the smallest teams. Kahuku is huge, but we gave them problems with our speed, and Kaimuki was definitely out of their comfort zone when they had to play man-to-man against us.”
Sylva and the Angle sisters highlight a senior class of 10. The group represents the first from Pearl City to play in three girls state basketball tournaments.
“They’re a real closeknit group, and that helps.”
Morton is in his 11th season as head coach, and will have taken Pearl City to five state tournaments when the season wraps. He led them to four OIA Red West titles in girls basketball as well and has coached at Pearl City 22 years overall, including years spent coaching the boys.
“My kids are getting older, so I want to spend more time with them, but I’ll still be helping out in the community somewhere,” he said. “My last year has been a great year.”
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