OIA Teams In Iolani Classic
(Mon) January 4, 2010
Edward Jackson (OIA Contributing Writer)
Zach Pelzl of Radford and Marcus Monroe of Moanalua both share a special feeling of playing for the first time in the nationally-known Iolani Basketball Classic which was held on December 17 through December 22. This tournament features some of the best teams from around the country including Montrose Christian of Rockville, Maryland, Gonzaga of Washington D.C., Neumann-Goretti of Pittsburg, and tourney winner Yates of Houston.
Each expressed the excitement of competing against the best high school players and how playing against Mainland teams will help improved their individual team chances of doing well in the Oahu Interscholastic Association league.
Pelzl, a junior, commented, “It’s a great tournament. Lots of competition here. I’m very excited about playing in this tournament. I think playing here will help me out because most Hawaii teams are like scrappers. Here I will do able to dribble more because there are more players here that are my height.”
Pelzl added, “The completion here is a lot tougher than the regular season. Playing in a tournament like this is a whole different. Our team is going to have to buckle down on defense. But I think we can hang with them if we play tough and don’t let their inside game get going.”
To prepare for this tournament, Pelzl said, “Our team did a lot of drills dribbling the ball and practices our offensive sets. We are not the most talented team, but we could still do well here if we play good defense.”
Monroe offered similar views in assessing the talent level at the Iolani Classic. “This tournament brings better talent to Hawaii. We really don’t have that many quality big players here in the state so competing against Mainland teams gives me an opportunity to see where I’m at. And to see what areas I need to get better.”
Since last year Monroe has been looking forward to playing in the tournament. “I’ve been training every day and make sure I practice. I try my best to stay in shape and study hard to make sure I’m eligible. But mostly just prepare myself mentally for these tough battles I’m expecting from these Mainland players.”
Monroe, a senior, added that this tournament will surely help Moanalua advance far in the OIA. “When you can keep up with these nationally-ranked teams then you pretty much can beat any team in Hawaii.”