POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 11, 2011
LAST UPDATED: 01:37 a.m. HST, Jan 11, 2011
» Jamie Higa
» Sophomore guard
» Chaminade basketball
Ten minutes from home and yet it's a whole new world.
That's Jamie Higa's experience as she continues her transition from high school to college, and from shooting guard to point guard for the Chaminade women's basketball team.
And to think it was a last-minute decision for Higa to continue playing the sport she loved. The Kalani High graduate had no plans to play in college, but the day before tryouts in 2009, Higa spoke with former coach Christina Apisa about walking on.
"I'm playing for the love of it," Chaminade's leading scorer said.
And for her grandfather, Robert Sakai, who died right before this season started. Higa said she has dedicated the season to him and is trying to live up to some of his final words.
"He said, 'Be somebody,' " the elementary education major said. "It hasn't been the happiest season ... yet ... but we have definitely improved, come a long way from last year.
"As a team, we've come together, working on having a higher basketball IQ. Coach (Bobby Keanini) puts a lot of pressure -- good pressure -- on us to make us better players. He expects nothing but the best."
Keanini, the longtime Roosevelt High girls coach, is expecting a lot out of Higa.
"She came to my clinics when she was very young," the first-year Silverswords coach said. "She was always hungry, always wanting to learn.
"She's young (19), but she's turned into a leader. I know I'm putting a lot on her shoulders. We don't have a natural point guard and we need her to be that this season. Hopefully, we can bring someone in next year and she can go back to being a shooter. But I want the ball in her hands, want her making those decisions on the court for us, be a coach on the floor."
Higa made her fifth start in 10 games last night, finishing with 13 points, four rebounds and four steals as Chaminade won for the first time this year. The 63-51 victory over Dominican was the Silverswords' first conference win since the last game of 2007, a losing streak of 48.
Classes started yesterday and Higa is taking world geography. She enjoys traveling, has been to Europe and Japan but has another destination in mind.
"I'd like to see Chaminade turn it around and be a program that's not looked down on," she said.
A new year. A new sport. Another honor.
Hawaii-Hilo junior Hillary Hurley, the PacWest player of the year in volleyball, picked up her first conference weekly honor in basketball.
The forward helped the Vulcans open conference play 2-1, averaging 18 points and 10.3 rebounds. Hurley was the only UHH player in double figures, with 17 points in a 67-52 loss to Notre Dame de Namur. She dominated in a 76-65 victory over Academy of Art (24 points, 14 rebounds) and had 13 points and 12 rebounds in a 70-56 win over Dominican.
Because Hurley has not played in 75 percent of UHH's games due to her volleyball commitment, she is not yet eligible to be listed in the conference statistical leaders. She is averaging 16.4 points and 10.0 rebounds in seven games.
» Richelle Rieben, BYUH: The senior guard scored 18 points, including 12 on 3-pointers, as the Seasiders lost to Notre Dame de Namur 70-61.
» Hotia Vaaimamao, UHH: The junior forward out of Maui High, helped the Vulcans to a 2-1 start in conference play, averaging 11.3 points. She hit 20 of 23 free-throw attempts.
Hawaii-Hilo junior forward Zach Wilde earned his first weekly honor from the conference after helping the Vulcans open PacWest play 3-0.
Wilde averaged a double-double (14.3 points, 11.7 rebounds) as UHH beat Notre Dame de Namur, Academy of Art and Dominican.
» Tsung-Hsein "Jet" Chang, BYUH: The junior guard averaged 20.5 points in a 1-1 week for the Seasiders.
» Mamadou Diarra, CU: The junior center helped the Silverswords open conference play 2-0 by averaging 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds. He led the PacWest in blocks for the week with five.
» Justin Smith, UHH: The junior guard averaged 20 points and 6.7 rebounds for the Vulcans, 3-0 in the PacWest.
» Marques Whippy, BYUH: The senior averaged 18 points and a conference-high 12 rebounds. He also had six steals as the Seasiders went 1-1.
Theodora Papadopous, a 6-foot middle blocker from Pierce College (Calif.), has signed to play volleyball for Hawaii-Hilo next season.
Papadopolous helped the Brahmas to their first California Community College Athletic Association state title last month, finishing with a combined nine kills and 11 blocks in three tournament sweeps.
Hiram Akina's first recruiting class for Brigham Young-Hawaii women's basketball will include a junior college transfer and three freshmen from Utah.
Signing with the Seasiders were:
» Shayla Washington, a 5-foot-9 junior guard who was an all-region player at Scottsdale (Ariz.) Community College. She averaged 15.9 points and 10.7 rebounds last season.
» Taylor Mann, a 6-2 forward at Emery (Utah) High, who is ranked No. 70 at her position by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
» Brianna "Bri" Jessop, a 6-foot forward from Mountain Crest (Utah) High. She was all-state as a junior and ranked No. 82 by ESPN Hoopgurlz.
» Danyele "Dee" Hoffman, a 5-7 point guard from Pleasant Grove (Utah) High.
|Hawaii Pacific||0||0||.000||1 1/2||5-7|
|Acad. of Art||0||2||.000||2 1/2||3-9|
|Acad. of Art||1||1||.500||1 1/2||3-8|
|Hawaii Pacific||0||0||.000||1 1/2||6-3|
|K. Zasly, NDNU||61||10||43||175||14.6|
41: Murphy, GCU; Nelson, GCU. 31: Hill, DSC. 29: K. Zasly, NDNU. 27: Vaifanua, DSC. 25: Rieben, BYUH. 22: Gravely, HPU; Imai, UHH. 21: Savini, HPU; Tompkison, BYUH.
42: Carlson, DSC. 12: Buster, HPU. 9: Brown, DSC. 8: Hill, DSC. 6: Hopkins, HPU.
PacWest Magazine: 10 a.m., pacificwestsports.tv
PacWest Magazine: 8 p.m., OC 16/oc16.tv
Women: Dominican at BYU-Hawaii, 5 p.m., Cannon Activities Center; Academy of Art at Hawaii Pacific, 5:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena.
Men: Dominican at BYU-Hawaii, 7:30 p.m., Cannon Activities Center; Academy of Art at Hawaii Pacific, 7:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena.
Women: Dominican at Hawaii Pacific, 5:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena
Men: Dominican at Hawaii Pacific, 7:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena
Women: Hawaii-Hilo at Hawaii Pacific, 5:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena
Men: Hawaii-Hilo at Hawaii Pacific, 7:30 p.m., Blaisdell Arena