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Kubasaki senior center Serafina Smith, left, wrestles the ball away from Kitanakagusuku defender Yuka Higa during Tuesday's Okinawa-American League girls basketball game. Kubasaki won, 86-63.
Kubasaki senior center Serafina Smith, left, wrestles the ball away from Kitanakagusuku defender Yuka Higa during Tuesday's Okinawa-American League girls basketball game. Kubasaki won, 86-63. (Dave Ornauer / S&S)

CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Ka’leen Mathieu of Kubasaki seems bound and determined to become her own high-scoring girls basketball act, modeled after the success of Kadena boys star Z’aire Jackson.

“They’re both athletes,” Kubasaki coach Robert Driggs said after Mathieu, a senior center, scored a Pacific season-high 34 points and grabbed 19 rebounds in Tuesday’s 86-63 romp over Kitanakagusuku, a Japanese team, in Okinawa-American League girls basketball.

Kubasaki improved to 4-6 in its final game before the holiday break and snapped a mini-tailspin; the Dragons had lost two straight, 70-65 to Kitanaka on Dec. 4 and 61-41 to Okinawa Activities Council archrival Kadena last Friday.

But those losses also featured an offensive explosion by Mathieu. She’s piled up 80 points and 49 rebounds, 25 offensive, in the last three games, almost mirroring Jackson’s totals of 87 points and 54 rebounds in his past two outings.

Mathieu wasted little time asserting herself Tuesday, scoring 12 points in the first quarter and 18 in the second.

“Ka’leen’s been working hard, dominating the paint a little,” Driggs said.

Kristi McNair contributed seven assists, all passes down low to Mathieu, while guard Erin Foote helped spread the floor with 23 points, including four three-pointers.

“We can’t become one-dimensional,” Driggs said. “Ka’leen’s a good inside and outside player. Kristi picks her up a lot, feeds her inside and we get it in there.”

Seeing Foote rack up the points was good, too, he said.

The Dragons never trailed and substituted liberally in the second half after going ahead by 31. Kitanaka, behind the perimeter shooting of Ryoko Tokashiki (22 points, six three-pointers), got within 14 a couple of times but no closer.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He served 10½ years in the Air Force, the last 4½ assigned to Stripes in Tokyo, and was then hired by Stripes on Oct. 25, 1985. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages Pacific Storm Tracker.
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