Marissa Hing, Gaabi Bade, Monique McDevitt, Nia Craig, Danica Seto. Five players on the varsity girls basketball team graduated last year: who will fill in their spots? Five freshmen girls will be joining the Pinewood girls varsity basketball team this year, and one of them is Mele Kailahi. Similar to her sister Stella Kailahi, Mele has been playing basketball since she can remember, and it’s something she absolutely loves. She has played several positions including post and guard, but she prefers playing as a guard.
There are high hopes for Mele and the other four freshmen Hannah Jump, Klara Astrom, Izzy Chung, and Kaitlyn Leung, and Pinewood should be prepared for another amazing season by the varsity girls basketball team.
“[The season] will be very interesting… Hopefully I’ll be able to play good defense and learn all the plays,” Mele said.
Although Mele showed some concern as to how she will do during the season, Stella seems to be more confident.
“Mele is young, and may be a little inexperienced about the pace of the game and small things like that, but she will get it down,” Stella said.
Having played basketball with each other for years, the Kailahi sisters were excited to play on the varsity team together; however, an unfortunate accident during one of their intense practices left Stella with a torn ACL and meniscus. After her surgery, she was told the disappointing news that she will not be able to play during the season.
“[Mele and I] can both read each other on and off the court, and I would say we are just unstoppable, so it sucks that I can’t be right with her on the court,” Stella said. “But I will still be there as her coach.”
Stella is not the only one who is excited about seeing Mele play. With Mele being an excellent ball handler and quick on the feet, others on the varsity girls basketball team believe she will be a great asset to the team. The diverse set of talents she has allows her to play different positions; for example, her ball handling skills can come in handy as a point guard, and her quickness will be useful when she is at the post playing against big, slow posts. Her aggressiveness on the court is noteworthy as well.
“[Mele] is always fighting for the rebounds and working hard in the post,” senior Chloe Eackles said.
These talented freshmen have even impressed the leading figure in Pinewood basketball: Doc Scheppler.
“The five freshmen coming in, Mele included, have a good feel about how to play basketball and are extremely self-motivated and passionate about it,” coach Scheppler said. “I don’t have to coach them to try their best; they are mature beyond their years, and I think that would make a