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By Marc Peraino. January 28, 2016 - 9:44 pm
The air was warm and electric in the gym at Moanalua High School on Tuesday night. The HPU men’s basketball team was up against their biggest rival, Chaminade. The HPU women’s basketball team had just beaten Chaminade with a final score of 82-55. It was now the men’s turn and the heat was on.
From the get go, the Chaminade Silverswords showed lightning speed and finesse as players like David Ware shot a series of impressively smooth three-pointers. The Silverswords gave the Sharks a run for their money in the first half, gaining a 19-point lead. The tension in the air by halftime was high and, despite Chaminade’s lead, it was still anyone’s game.
During the second half, the Sharks stepped up their game and played ever more aggressively, quickly diminishing the gap between them and their arch-rivals. As the scores became tied, fans on both sides upped the ante with cheers and chants. On the Silverswords’ side was a cheerleader who had taken his shirt off and painted “I [heart] CU” on his chest in white and red paint. He held a small blue megaphone and led the Chaminade fans in cheering for their team.
The second half of the game saw a long line of fouls and free throws. Every time an HPU player threw a free throw, the Chaminade cheerleader would rattle annoyingly against the bleachers. To counter, HPU’s Sharks Pep Band offered some entertaining distraction whenever a Chaminade player threw a free throw.
The Sharks soon gained a lead and the intensity spiked during the last ten minutes of the game. Dawson Vorderbruegge, son of Head Coach Darren, provided Sharks fans the necessary motivation to cheer on our players. We did our infamous Shark “chomp,” which bugged the Chaminade fans. I personally got a great laugh from watching and participating in the fervor.
And like a sneak attack by a great white shark, the HPU men quickly gained a lead over Chaminade, pushing hard against their opponents with the help of Luke Hager, who played aggressively in the first half and scored a total of 20 points, along with Chauncey Orr with a total of 24 points, Jordan Martin scoring 14 points, Joel Feigler with 10 points, and Colfax Nordquist with 8 points. The game ended satisfactorily with an HPU win of 82-77.
After the game, I interviewed Jordan Martin and Luke Hager to ask about the game, the rivalry with Chaminade, and any upcoming challenges they might face.
In describing his role during the game, Jordan Martin of Goodyear, Arizona, said, “I would say just as an energy provider, come out there and do all the dirty plays, kind of like a Draymond Green-type of role. Come out there, do what the coach wants you to do, get the guys involved, and get us back into it anyway you can.”
I asked about the season so far and any future challenges, to which Jordan replied, “I would say we had a slow start. We’re a brand new team, lot of new guys, so I think it was just slow for us getting the chemistry and building it within each other. Some challenges I would say are ahead would just be adversity, and that comes with every game. We have a trip coming up this weekend. We’re playing four games with four of the top six teams in the league.”
I asked what the team needs to work on.
“Our rebounding and defensive intensity. We lack defensive intensity when we’re not scoring, and that’s not how it’s supposed to be and coach preaches that all the time. When you’re not scoring is when you need to have the best intensity.”
I also interviewed Luke Hager of Chicago, Illinois.
“I started out pretty good. I felt good, we had a good game plan. We walked through some stuff yesterday, kind of how they were gonna play in the post. We kind of cooled off a little bit and Chaminade went on that run and we all stayed together and it was similar to what happened against us with Cal Baptist,” said Luke, explaining how the game went.
I asked Luke about HPU’s rivalry with Chaminade. He said, “You know, off the court we see some of these guys just around town and we all talk and hang out, but when we get between the lines it’s strictly business. They don’t like us and we don’t like them when it comes to basketball, but other than that I think it’s fun when you know who you’re playing against and everyone’s a familiar face.”
Luke says that the team played with more energy during the second half in spite of the 19-point lead Chaminade had on them and it was that extra energy which allowed them to gain the upper hand. Luke says he helped the other players feel better with the shots he made.
Lastly, I asked Luke what makes Chaminade such a tough rival.
“Probably because they’re ten miles down the road, you know, I think that’s what it is. We’re really close to each other, we’re in the same conference, and they’re battling for a spot in the conference tournament and we’re doing the same thing, so it just makes it that much more interesting.”
Photo courtesy of www.hpusharks.com.