(Stars and Stripes)

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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa – One of the things coach Robert Barrett said before the start of the season was that this would be a growing year for Kubasaki’s girls basketball team.

They took a huge step forward on Friday when the Dragons got their first regular-season win over Kadena in 10 years, beating the Panthers 33-22 at the Dragons’ Den behind freshman Peyton Wilcox’s team-leading 11 points.

“I had no idea,” Barrett said of how long it had been since the Dragons beat Kadena. It was Dec. 20, 2013, when the Kubasaki beat the Panthers 48-42, also on the Dragons’ home court.

The final buzzer triggered an excitement on the Dragons’ bench similar to three months earlier, when Kadena’s girls volleyball team beat the Dragons, also for the first time in 10 years during the regular season.

“They were super excited,” said Barrett, the team’s first-year coach, of the Dragons girls following Friday’s game.

Thus far, the Dragons have followed Barrett’s blueprint for transitioning into their defense and steadily working on transitioning into offense.

“I’m looking to have a team that plays fast,” Barrett said. “I want them to be quick on transition into offense. They’re transitioning well into the defense, but we’re working on the offensive end.”

The teams’ next regular-season meeting is Dec. 15 at Kadena, though they could also play each other during this coming weekend’s Okinawa-American Friendship Tournament at the Camp Foster Field House.

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Dave Ornauer has been employed by or assigned to Stars and Stripes Pacific almost continuously since March 5, 1981. He covers interservice and high school sports at DODEA-Pacific schools and manages the Pacific Storm Tracker.

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