DODDS teams gain experience in Hong Kong hoop tournament
HONG KONG — For five DODDS-Pacific high school basketball teams, Thanksgiving weekend became a learning experience in the 36th Hong Kong International School Holiday Tournament.
Seoul American’s boys placed highest among their Department of Defense Dependents Schools brethren, taking third place, while Kubasaki outlasted Kadena 55-47 in an all-Okinawa battle for fifth. Defending girls champion Kadena earned the bronze medal, while rebuilding Kubasaki finished eighth.
But valuable experience, for five teams that each had barely 10 days of preparation, was far more important than where each of them placed, coaches said.
“We got a chance to play six teams in three days. It gave us a chance to see all the things we need to work on. Hopefully, we’ll be able to improve as the season wears on,” said coach Bob Bliss of defending Far East Boys Class AA champion Kadena.
“It kind of sets the bar for us. It sets the stage for our season. We know we have a lot of things to get done,” said coach Bob Driggs, whose Kubasaki girls team features many freshmen and sophomores. “It was an eye-opening experience for them.”
The three-day tournament featured eight girls and eight boys teams from a wide range of international schools including Singapore American, Jakarta International of Indonesia, International School Kuala Lumpur of Malaysia, Faith Academy of Manila, St. Mary’s International of Tokyo and host Hong Kong.
Hong Kong’s boys won the tournament for the first time in 10 years, while Heep Yunn, a Chinese team, took the girls crown.
Even with the presence of five senior returnees plus junior all-tournament transfer Zori Drew, Kadena girls coach Ken Hudson still felt he was just getting to know his team.
“If nothing else, you can conduct player evaluation under fire,” he said. “After only two or three practices, you’re only going to be able to do so many things out there. We need to practice and work on understanding offenses and defenses. That takes awhile to learn. We were only able to do that with the returning players.”
Some schools, such as Faith, St. Mary’s and Hong Kong, send teams to DODDS-Pacific-sponsored Far East tournaments. Bliss feels Hong Kong’s boys are likely to make a good showing in the Class AA tournament, which Kadena hosts in mid-February.
“Hong Kong is the team to beat right now,” he said. “I can’t believe how much they’ve improved. We’ll see when they come to Far East.”
Hong Kong International School Basketball Tournament
Saturday at Hong Kong International School
Hong Kong Int’l 56, Faith Academy 55
Seoul American 56, Singapore American 54
Kubasaki 55, Kadena 47
Hong Kong Int’l 63, Singapore American 60
Kubasaki 73, Jakarta Int’l 22
Faith Acad. 57, Seoul American 51
Kadena 49, St. Mary’s Int’l 46
All-Tournament selectees from DODDS-Pacific schools: Jamaal Mohn, Sr., G, Andrew Luna, So., F, Seoul American; Tony Watkins, Jr., F, Kadena; Steven Ellis, Sr., G, Kubasaki.
Heep Yunn 41, Faith Academy 39
Kadena 41, Jakarta International 27
Singapore American 38, Hong Kong Int’l 24
Heep Yunn 35, Kadena 28
Hong Kong International 29, Kubasaki 28
Faith Academy 40, Jakarta International 35
Singapore Am. 40, Int’l School Kuala Lumpur 24
All-Tournament selectees from DODDS-Pacific schools: Zori Drew, Jr., G, Kadena; Kristi McNair, Sr., G., Kubasaki.