Division II notebook
Chaminade basketball is bigger than last year, better than last week
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
Sometimes a loss or three can boost a team. Especially when those losses come against top Division I teams.
Chaminade survived the Maui Invitational last week, and despite three straight losses, rebounded to beat North Park University, 88-73, in its home opener Monday.
"The benefit (of playing top teams) is that it helps prepare yourself for a high level of play, and if you can compete with those teams, you can compete with anyone at our level," said Chaminade head coach Aaron Griess.
"But (the downside is) losing games doesn't help anyone's confidence, no matter who you're playing."
The Silverswords didn't let that bother them. Against North Park, Chaminade (1-3) boasted five players in double-digits scoring and shot 64 percent from the field. The Silverswords held North Park to 40 percent shooting from the field and 21 percent from 3-point range.
"We got some good things out of the win," Griess said. "We needed a win coming out of the Maui Invitational. We played well enough to win, but we saw things that we need to work on."
Though Chaminade out-rebounded North Park, 43-26, they allowed the Vikings 17 offensive boards. Griess hopes his team performs better against San Francisco State Saturday at McCabe Gym.
"Our defense concentration wasn't very good, and we didn't rebound very well," said Griess, who wants his team to work on blocking out. "We really need to concentrate better on defense."
And it's not like they don't have the tools.
This year's squad is one of its biggest, with nine players over 6 feet 2. Junior center Willie Davis is 6 feet 9 and 260 pounds; junior forward Daniel Bales and senior center Igor Beljanski are both 6 feet 7, weighing in at a combined 435 pounds.
"We're much more athletic than last year and bigger," Griess said.
At 6 feet 5, junior forward Leon Ballard led the team against North Park with 19 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Beljanski scored 14 points with seven rebounds in just 20 minutes. Jaborri Thomas, a 6-4 junior guard, had15 points.
Coming off the bench, 6-6 junior forward Mike Donegan posted a double-double with 10 points and 12 boards.
"Leon is 6-foot-5 but he plays much bigger than that," Griess said. "We've got a good inside attack.
"I thought Mike did a good job off the bench and Leon scored well, but other than that, we played mediocre."
Mediocrity is not what Griess wants against San Francisco State (2-2), which hasn't won on the road yet this season.
Newcomer Chris Featherly, a 6-foot-5 junior forward from Palomar College, leads the Gators with 16 points per game, shooting .568. Senior forward Daymian Turner is the team leader in rebounds with 6.8 per game. He's also averaging 11 points per game.
"We gotta take better care of the ball," Griess said. "San Francisco will put pressure on the ball and speed up the pace of the game a little bit. We need to be better prepared to match their intensity."
Coming off a 103-83 loss to Humboldt State, San Francisco State will play Hawai'i-Hilo before facing the Silverswords.
Cold sweat: From 80 degrees to a sunny-but-very-cold 15, Brigham Young University-Hawai'i plays Alaska-Anchorage today in temperatures that keep vegetables frozen.
Now part of the Great Northwest Conference, the Seawolves (0-3) haven't won a game regular season or exhibition yet. The former PacWest foes, who lost to Oregon State for seventh place in the Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout that featured Marquette, Indiana and Gonzaga, play BYUH (3-2) at 6 p.m. Hawai'i time.
The last time these teams met was in February, when the Seawolves beat the Seasiders, 100-86.
Junior forward Alexus Foyle leads BYUH in scoring with an average of 17.4 points per game, shooting .578 from the field. Junior center Scott Salisbury tops the team in rebounds with 10.8 per game; he also averages 14.2 points per game and has 15 steals.
Tomorrow the Seasiders face Missouri-Rolla at 6 p.m. in Anchorage. They return to play the Seawolves at 6 p.m. Saturday.
For the second straight week, University of Hawai'i-Hilo's Scott Prather was named PacWest Player of the Week after leading the Vulcans (3-2) to their first victory in the Big Island Invitational tournament in seven years. In three tourney games, he amassed 65 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds and seven steals, earning him all-tournament honors. He was 25-of-35 from the field and 10-of-21 from beyond the arc.
The Vulcans welcome San Francisco State to the Big Island 7:15 p.m. today.
Hawai'i Pacific University (2-2) plays its first road game against St. Martin's College in Lacey, Wash. at 5 p.m. Hawai'i time today.
The Sea Warriors are coming off an 83-76 loss to Hampton Sunday in the consolation bracket championship game of the HPU Thanksgiving Tournament. The return of senior guard Nick Spajic, out with an ankle injury, gave HPU a boost, though not enough to seal a win. Spajic hit 10-of-14 shots, including 6-of-9 from beyond the arc, for a game-high 26 points.
They travel north to face Seattle Pacific 5 p.m. Hawai'i time Saturday.
BYUH at Alaska-Anchorage
UH-Hilo vs. San Francisco State
HPU at St. Martin's (Washington)
BYUH at Missouri-Rolla
BYUH at Alaska-Anchorage
HPU at Seattle Pacific
Chaminade vs. San Francisco State.
Tues., Dec. 11: BYUH vs. Montana State-Northern