Four Transfer Players Beef Up Kalani Boys Basketball Program

Wednesday - January 04, 2012
By Jack Danilewicz
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Should Kalani High School’s boys basketball team earn a state tournament bid in February, it will likely look back on its preseason schedule as a big contributing factor, after loading up the game slate with Division I schools.

“We tried to play the best teams that we could,” said head coach Nathan Davis, whose team battled Iolani and Saint Louis among other challengers in December.

The Falcons, who are in Division II, will nevertheless see their share of DI schools this winter under the new OIA guidelines. They will play every East school once instead of playing a pair of games against only DII East programs.

“It (the OIA format) makes it more high-stakes when you only get to play a team once,” explained Davis, whose Falcons beat all three of their OIA opponents (Kaiser, Kaimuki and Waipahu High) during preseason.

Kalani won’t have to wait long to make an impact. On the heels of Monday’s opener against defending DII state champion Farrington, it hosts Roosevelt Wednesday and plays a road game against the defending DI OIA champion Moanalua Menehunes Friday.

“We are happy to have a few days of practice,”

Davis said, after a schedule in December that was stocked with preseason games.

The Falcons are led by veterans Tatsuya Ono and Kory Kashiwabara. Ono was the OIA’s leading scorer as a junior last year and is poised for another stellar season. Davis, meanwhile, calls Kashiwabara “our glue guy.”

“Kory has been one of our top scorers and, defensively, he always draws (the assignment of guarding) the other team’s best player. He does a lot for us.

“Tatsuyo has been playing well,” he added. “He’s really competitive. He has a tremendous will to win. That has to be his best trait.”

The pair’s supporting cast was bolstered in the off-season when four new players David KakaliaRasmussen (Roosevelt), Keano Kuia (Aiea), Jourdan Johnson (Assets) and Sione Sekona (Kahuku) transferred to Kalani. Johnson and Sekona are 6-foot-5 and 6-foot-3, respectively.

“They’ve made us a much more balanced team and have given us a different look than in past years. We have more size and athleticism.”

Takezo Iguchi, Brock Haraga, Remy Omori, Jalen Pasion, Percy Harris, Sam Kahalewai, Kalia Kaawa, Michael Pimentel and Colby Aoki round out the team.

The Falcons’ consistency has been among their strengths to date, according to Davis.

“Lately, I’ve really been happy with our commitment to executing, offensively,” he said. “We have some talent, but to win big games, we have to execute and get good shots. We also have a nice defense-first mentality that should take us pretty far.”

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