World Youth Basketball Tournament: Molina leads impressive Stingray effort
The World Youth Basketball Tournament has taken over Kekuaokalani Gym in Kailua-Kona, hosting local teams and some from across the U.S. Wednesday, the final action of the first of two consecutive tournaments wrapped up.
Teams played a round robin format, with the best record in each division taking home a trophy.
In the Girl’s High School division, the hometown Stingrays’ matchup with AGBU was the most anticipated game of the day. However, the Stingrays — fresh off a mainland tour of top-tier travel tournaments — were too much for the formerly undefeated AGBU squad to handle.
The Stingrays raced out to a large lead and pitched a shutout until two minutes remained in the first quarter. The Stingrays won 57-16, with Chanelle Molina leading the way with 16 points.
The Bay Area Renegades, a 13-14 team based out of San Francisco, concluded its tournament play with a convincing 75-37 victory over Shut D. With the win, the Renegades moved to 5-1 for the tournament. The team’s only loss came Sunday to division champions HI Thunder, 63-58.
“On the court, the competition was real good,” said Renegades coach Kenny Stone. “Off the court we enjoyed everything — the tours, the beaches and the food. This has been a wonderful trip for our entire team. Everyone has really enjoyed it.”
Stone said the Renegades organization has 14 teams that play in California, from second grade to high school levels.
“This trip was a little graduation present for them all,” said Stone. “A lot of them will be starting high school next year. It was nice for them to learn a little bit of the culture and to experience Hawaii.”
The tournament has had a storied history of hosting competitive international and mainland teams, many supplied with top prospects. Some notable WYBT alumni include Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard (2002, Atlanta Celtics), Miami Heat point guard Mario Chalmers (1999, Alaska Tarheels), and Golden State center Andrew Bogut (2000, Southern Sabers).
“When we started this, we wanted to give the local teams a chance to play against some of the best competition from the mainland and internationally,” said WYBT Tournament Director Christy Gladstone. “For the mainland teams, they get to come and enjoy some great basketball and have a cultural experience as well.”
While one tournament ends, organizers are preparing for another to begin. A new group of teams will come in Friday for the tournament that runs through Aug. 5.