Okinawa hoop squads get valuable experience in Hong Kong tourney
They didn’t finish quite where they had hoped in Hong Kong this weekend. Kadena’s girls lost a heartbreaker in the championship and the boys placed fifth, while Kubasaki’s girls took a bronze medal and the boys finished out of the running.
But the wealth of experience the four squads took away from the 37th Hong Kong International School Holiday Basketball Tournament made the five-day trip to the three-day tournament worthwhile, said the four teams’ coaches.
“We enjoy playing these good teams, these solid teams,” said Robert Bliss, whose Kadena boys went 0-3 during pool play before coming alive to take fifth place. “We got to play six games against five really good teams. Great preparation for the season.”
Even though Kadena’s girls fell 47-45 on a buzzer-beating shot as Heep Yunn, a Chinese school, repeated its girls title, Kadena coach Ken Hudson called it “a good experience for the kids — to get in there, see what it’s like, play in a championship game and lose a game like that. There’s no substitute for that.”
Hong Kong International School welcomed Kadena and Kubasaki as part of the eight-team boys and eight-team girls fields. They played 1½ days of round-robin games, with the fields split into two four-team pools, followed by a 1½ days of single elimination with consolation bracket play.
While Kadena’s and Kubasaki’s girls fared well in pool-play games, going 3-0 and 2-1 respectively, the boys struggled early, each going 0-3 Thursday and Friday.
“Turnovers really plagued us,” Bliss said. “The first two days, we didn’t play well at all. It was very disappointing. Our execution wasn’t there. Kubasaki struggled, too. They’re not very tall but they’ll get better as the season goes on.”
Following their winless pool-play round, Kadena fell 67-46 to 2005 champion and host Hong Kong International on Friday in the knockout round before regrouping to finish strong on Saturday.
Behind the play of all-tournament selection Jamil Barney, Kadena topped International School Bangkok 63-44, then St. Mary’s International of Tokyo 52-46 for fifth.
Kubasaki’s boys exited the elimination round quietly, falling 67-36 on Friday to eventual champion Faith Academy of the Philippines, then bowing 55-53 to St. Mary’s in a Saturday heartbreaker.
Junior Mike Bennett was selected all-tournament.
On the girls’ side, all-tournament picks Brittany Gilliam and Zori Drew paced Kadena to a perfect pool record, then the Panthers romped 56-41 over Singapore American on Friday and 47-38 over Kubasaki in Saturday’s semifinal, setting up the title clash with Heep Yunn.
All-tournament freshman Jemitria Fletcher helped Kubasaki take third by topping Faith 45-39.
Both championship games went to the wire. Besides Heep Yunn outlasting Kadena, Faith won the boys title 66-59 in overtime, avenging last year’s 56-55 title game loss to Hong Kong.
37th Hong Kong International School Holiday Basketball TournamentAt Hong Kong International SchoolDay 3 resultsPlayoffs
Friday’s scoresChampionship bracketQuarterfinals Faith Academy 67, Kubasaki 36Hong Kong International 67, Kadena 46Seoul Foreign 40, St. Mary's International 35Saturday’s scoresChampionship bracketSemifinals Faith Academy 45, Seoul Foreign 39Hong Kong International 74, Singapore American 49Championship Faith Academy 66, Hong Kong International 59Consolation bracketSemifinals St. Mary’s International 55, Kubasaki 53Kadena 63, International School Bangkok 44Third-place game Singapore American 66, Seol Foreign 59Fifth-place game Kadena 52, St. Mary’s International 45
Friday’s scoresChampionship bracketQuarterfinals Heep Yunn 52, Hong Kong International 32Kadena 56, Singapore American 41Kubasaki 40, Seoul Foreign 22Faith Academy 54, International School Bangkok 34Saturday’s scoresChampionship bracketSemifinals Heep Yunn 62, Faith Academy 29Kadena 47, Kubasaki 38Championship Heep Yunn 47, Kadena 45Consolation bracketSemifinals Hong Kong International 44, International School Bangkok 29Singapore American 31, Seoul Foreign 26Third-place game Kubasaki 45, Faith Academy 39Fifth-place game Singapore American 41, Hong Kong International 31