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Basketball - Girls
By Will White '16
Keeping with a school-wide standard, the players and coaching staff of Hawai’i Preparatory Academy’s girls’ basketball program are driven by more than just winning.
Under the guidelines of the Positive Coaching Alliance, head coach Craig Kimura has been dedicated for eighteen seasons at HPA to “transform[ing] youth sports so sports can transform youth”. He is joined in this endeavor by assistant coaches Rich Matsuda, and Kevin Ho, both with twelve seasons of experience, and Adrienne White, who was welcomed to the coaching staff in 2015.
Throughout the team’s seven state tournament appearances, 2007 Big Island championship, and multiple Big Island players of the year since 1998, the program has been a positive part of players’ well-rounded and future-oriented lives. Over ninety percent of HPA girls’ basketball graduates have earned or are on track to earn college degrees, and thirty percent have gone on to earn advanced degrees.
All of the hard work of HPA players and coaches has made the Colson Courts a great environment for girls to grow into adults through a cooperative and supportive team setting. Hawai’i Prep’s outstanding array of extracurricular programs is proud to have the current girls’ basketball personnel among its ranks.
As the girls varsity assistant coach from 1998 to 1999 and head coach since 2000, Craig “Gig” Kimura has watched his players graduate and head out to college and careers. Of all the graduating players on the HPA girls basketball teams, 98 percent go on college and nearly a third continue onward to earn or work toward a master’s or doctoral degree.
“We are proud of our accomplishments on the court with a BIIF (league) championship, and having qualified for the HHSAA state tournament in seven of the last eight seasons,” coach Kimura says. “But we are most proud of the post-graduate accomplishments of our players.”
Lessons learned on the court translate well into the career world, Kimura says.
In 2010, the HPA girls team lost the BIIF title game in triple overtime to cross-island rival Kamehameha.
“After the awards ceremony, as Kamehameha was having their team pictures taken, HPA’s wahine (girls) quietly exited to their locker room at the other end of the court. As we somberly exited, the entire Hilo Civic Auditorium audience gave us a rousing ovation.”
The players raised their heads to thank the crowd for the applause. A week later, the Ka Makani wahine defeated the same team in the state tournament with a beyond-half court shot by Tyler Wang to take fifth in the state.
That shot is a hallmark of HPA’s girls basketball program, not because it was from 55 feet, but because it exhibited the discipline to remain focused and execute under difficult circumstances. Kimura deeply respects the ability of his players to be resilient and disciplined. The players are taught not to slave over results, but to master the process.
“As players, they play because they love the game. They are always willing to work out differences and could care less who gets the credit. They give back to their school and represent it well.”