Top Performers
Viloria, Tanuvasa led Trojans, Spartans to wins

Male Athlete of the Week: Vaisen Viloria, Mililani football
Vaisen Viloria did not wait long to make his presence known.

In his very first varsity football game, the 5-foot-9, 150-pound sophomore intercepted three passes and returned one for a touchdown to help No. 3 Mililani to a 24-2 win over No. 5 Campbell in the semifinals of the First Hawaiian Bank Open Division State Championships at Aloha Stadium Friday night.

"To get three picks and (to take) one to the house in a big game like that, that definitely surprised us, but the kid is an athlete and he has great instincts to the ball and that was the difference for, you know, the kid made three big plays that we needed," Trojans coach Rod York said of Viloria.

Viloria spent most of the season with the junior varsity team before being called up just a week ago.

"That was his first week of practice and his first (varsity) game," York said. "It just shows how valuable our Mill Vill (JPS) program is because he started on our Mill Vill team in eighth grade and then he was on our JV and now we just pulled him up, but we're doing the same system, same plays, same calls and same techniques, and again, on top of that, with that kid, I mean, he's an athlete."

York ran down the laundry list of positions that Viloria has seen time at.

"He plays quarterback, he plays slotback, he plays receiver, he plays running back, he plays corner, safety and linebacker," York said. "At Mill Vill he was a linebacker and on the JV he was a safety, linebacker and the backup quarterback and running back. He does it all."

Viloria was close to being promoted to the varsity squad earlier in the year, but York refrained. When the sophomore did join the team last week, it didn't take long for him to turn heads.

"We're always evaluating and we saw him on the JV and honestly, we wanted to bring him up, but we had other DBs that we were coaching up, but at the end of the year we still needed to fill that corner spot and we pulled him up and we evaluated him in practice — Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday — and by Wednesday, our (defensive coordinator, Vince Nihipali) told us that we're going to play him and start him and I was like, ‘OK, sounds good,' " York said.

In addition to Nihipali, York credited Viloria's position coach, Bruce Scanlan, for getting the young defensive back up to speed.

"Coach Bruce does a great job with him. He's close to him and he mentors him," York said of Scanlan, who also serves at head coach of both the JV and Mill Vill teams. "He spends a lot of time with him."

Against the Sabers Friday, Viloria was called into duty at cornerback.

"He hasn't really played corner, but like I said, with athletes you only gotta tell ‘em a couple things and let them play," York said.

Late in the second quarter, with Campbell driving at the Trojans' 28-yard line for a potential game-tying score, Viloria tracked down an errant third-down pass by Krenston Kaipo, who was hit on the throw, for his first interception of the game.

Just before the end of the third quarter, Viloria picked off a fourth-down pass by backup quarterback Blaine Hipa and returned it across midfield to the Sabers' 47-yard line. The Mililani offense eventually recycled the turnover into a 2-yard Dillon Gabriel touchdown run to stretch its lead to 17-2.

About midway through the fourth quarter, Viloria closed out the scoring with his 6-yard pick-6 off of Hipa one play after a Trojans' turnover on downs.

"Thank God, because we weren't doing well on offense," York said. "Who would have thought that a JV kid in his first game would get three picks against a hell of a good team in Campbell, in which we were struggling offensively? He helped our defense get five turnovers, but that's just a testament to good coaching."

York also noted that Viloria's father, Danilo, has had a big hand in his success.

"His dad is a defensive back coach, so a lot of that comes from him," York said. "His dad was a great college player and high school player at Campbell — he was an all-state DB — so he's got good genes and he's learned a lot from his dad."

Viloria also recorded 2 1/2 tackles in the win Friday. York said it was just the opening act of what he hopes will be a fruitful prep career.

"He's gonna be a two-way player. He's definitely a future star, so he's gonna be a two-way player. He just needs to get bigger, faster, stronger and he's definitely got the skill set, but we just gotta work on his mindset," York said. "Right now he's a JV kid, so he's quiet. I mean, he doesn't say much. Just soaks it all in. He's a quiet leader right now. He just does his job and he knows he's gotta fill big shoes coming up the varsity. The kid went out there and made plays and came up big and we're looking for him to come up big again this Saturday."

Viloria and the second-seeded Trojans (10-2) will try for their first Open state title and third overall when they take on two-time defending champion, No. 1 seed and top-ranked Saint Louis at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Aloha Stadium.

Female Athlete of the week: Jalen Tanuvasa, Maryknoll basketball
Jalen Tanuvasa bided much of her time from the bench as a freshman last season, but finds herself in a much different role in 2018.

As a first-year player on a roster laden with seniors last year, Tanuvasa rarely saw meaningful minutes behind the likes of All-Hawaii players Rhianne Omori, Kamalu Kamakawiwoole and Bella Cravens.

That has all changed this season.

Tanuvasa, a 5-foot-7 point guard, has been amongst her team's leading scorers through the first eight games of the preseason. She opened the year with a 20-point effort against Moanalua on Nov. 3 and went for a season-high 27 points in a 75-32 win over Kaimuki Thursday night.

"I think she had her best offensive going, obviously, point-production wise, but she's an offensively talent," Furtado said. "I think she had 13 (points) or 15 at the half, and then the rest of that came in the third because (the starters) didn't play whole lot in the fourth quarter because of how the game was. We used a lot of subs in the third quarter. Jalen left some (points) off the board — she was 0 for 4 from the free-throw line — and she's very capable there because she had one game where she was 8 for 9, so it's just a matter of concentrating. She probably should have had 33 or 34 (points) in the game and if I kept her in, she probably would have got to 40, but we gotta develop some of our freshmen and get ready for ILH play, but definitely we will be relying on her for point production."

Furtado said he was most impressed with the balance with his Tanuvasa was able to score against the Bulldogs Thursday night.

"Sometimes our guards can get 3-point happy, but we gotta rely on the 3 because we're not big and we can't rely on the back-to-the-basket kind of stuff, so we're gonna have to hit shots and she can do that, but she really got into the teeth of the Kaimuki defense and did a good job of not forcing everything to the basket," Furtado said. "She pulled up 12, 13 feet away and sometimes with kids who have the ability to get to the rim, sometimes they always try to get it to the rim and that can be a double-edged sword, so getting her to understand that because she has the ability to score from multiple places on the court, she has to take what is given to her and not always force it to the rim."

Tanuvasa has been working on her mid-range game early on this preseason, which showed Thursday.

"She was struggling with her mid-range jumper. She had the tendency to lean back and come up short, so we told her to go straight up and those pull-up jumpers she made (against Kaimuki) was because she made that adjustment," Furtado said. "That game everything kind of came together, and the other thing was she had like one turnover all game and when the ball is in her hands the majority of the time, you'd expect some turnovers, but 27 points and one turnover, that's her best game offensively so far."

Tanuvasa attended University Laboratory School up until the eighth grade before transferring to Maryknoll. She did not play basketball in her final season as a Junior ‘Bow, in order to be eligible right away last season.

"We're trying to get her to be a complete point guard. I think the teams she played on in the past and the times I've seen her play, she was required to be a scoring point guard — which is good (because) we need production from her going forward — but we want to make sure she understand that the point guard position is more than just scoring, it involves getting other people involved but at the same time keeping her aggressive, so it's a work in progress. She definitely has the tools to score in a lot of different ways."

Furtado noted that 12 of Tanuvasa's 13 made field goals Thursday came from inside the 3-point line.

"She can get to the rim, but she can also hit the 3. In fact, there was one JV game last year where she hit seven 3-pointers and then defensively, because she's big and strong, she has the tendency to try and muscle people around, so we gotta make sure she doesn't get into foul trouble — she's picked up some fouls because she's being too physical on the perimeter with opposing guards — but she needs to understand that she needs to be on the flor and she needs to play heavy minutes for us to be successful."

With a deep and veteran roster last season that reached the state title game, Furtado wasn't able to get Tanuvasa or fellow freshmen Serenity Moananu and twin sisters Mahalo and Aloha Akaka much court time.

"That whole freshmen group, as much as I wanted to utilize them a little bit more, it was very difficult putting four freshmen in in front of three or four senior subs," Furtado said.

This season, however, the foursome is expected to make big-time contributions.

"It's a whole different role. They went from watching and learning from a distance to now being thrust into the lead roles. Our production will have to come from that group, so they gotta grow up fast and it's not going to come without some mistakes and adversity, but you gotta battle through that," Furtado said.

While the group may be inexperienced at the varsity level, they have logged their share of games together over the years, but Furtado said it is Tanuvasa who will have to lead the way.

"They're talented, they play together in club and they play a lot of basketball, but I think Jaylen is the person who is gonna have to carry us with the ball in her hands the majority of the time and I think she's up to the challenge," Furtado said.

Tanuvasa and the Spartans (8-0) will continue preseason play by hosting Castle Friday before taking on Kahuku next Wednesday. The three-time defending Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I champions open league play against Iolani on Dec. 5.

Keirstyn Agonias, Hilo — Scored 23 points in a win over Waiakea

Jazelle Dorser, Waiakea — Scored 22 points in a loss to Hilo

Kaelyn Espinda, Kaimuki — Scored 16 points in a loss to Maryknoll

Kalena Halunajan, Kalani — Scored 16 points in a win over Mid-Pacific

Sisilia Kaufusi, Kahuku — Scored 26 points with 10 rebounds and two steals in a loss to Sacred Hearts

Malie Marfil, Kamehameha — Scored 16 points, including five 3-pointers, in a win over Mililani

Dallas Martinez, Sacred Hearts — Scored 12 points with seven rebounds and three assists in a win over Kahuku

Cerina Noh, McKinley — Scored 15 points in a win over Pearl City

Jordan Botelho, Saint Louis — Scored on a 25-yard interception return, made five tackles, including two for losses and two sacks in a win over Kahuku

Kaihulali Casco, Lahainaluna — Caught three passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Roosevelt

Jayden de Laura, Saint Louis — Threw for 232 yards and a touchdown on 17-of-24 passing with an interception and ran for two other scores in a win over Kahuku

Tevita Faleta, Kahuku — Scored on a 91-yard kickoff return in a loss to Saint Louis

Apakasi Felemi, Lahainaluna — Made five tackles, including one for a loss, one sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a win over Roosevelt

Caine Fitiausi-Fung, Roosevelt — Made four tackles, including two for losses and one forced fumble in a loss to Lahainaluna

Sheldon Frias, Lahainaluna — Made seven tackles in a win over Roosevelt

Taelase Gaoteote, Campbell — Made eight tackles, including two for losses, in a loss to Mililani

Shane Kady, Mililani — Made four tackles, including two sacks, in a win over Campbell

Kaulana Kaluna, Jr., Kaimuki — Made seven tackles and forced a fumble in a loss to Kapaa

Kamoi Latu, Saint Louis — Intercepted two passes and made one tackle in a win over Kahuku

Evangelista Paama, Kaimuki — Made five tackles, including three for losses, in a loss to Kapaa

Raffy Pereno, Kapaa — Made seven tackles, including two for losses, and one sack in a win over Kaimuki

Asher Pilanca, Mililani — Made 7 1/2 tackles, intercepted a pass and broke up another in a win over Campbell

Tre Rickard, Lahainaluna — Scored on punt returns of 48 and 54 yards in a win over Roosevelt

Heath Rosa, Kapaa — Made seven tackles, intercepted a pass and forced a fumble in a win over Kaimuki

Devon Sa-Chisolm, Lahainaluna — Made seven tackles, including one for a loss, in a win over Roosevelt

Ezra Save, Mililani — Made 4 1/2 tackles, including two sacks, in a win over Campbell

Jeremiah Tauai, Campbell — Made nine tackles, including 2 1/2 for losses, with one sack and a pass break-up in a loss to Mililani

Stetson Telles-Kelekoma, Kapaa — Made 6 1/2 tackles and intercepted a pass in a win over Kaimuki

Kamalei Watson, Lahainaluna — Scored on an 86-yard kickoff return in a win over Roosevelt

Harvey Welch, Saint Louis — Scored on a 52-yard interception return and made 1 1/2 tackles in win over Kahuku

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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