RMI boys and girls national basketball teams are breaking sweat and working out their game plans as they prep for the Under-17 FIBA Oceania Championship in Guam in July.
Girls basketball coaches Lani Ackley and his mother Leilani Ackley have confidence in their team as they work through two-a-day practices. Leilani explained there are more girls playing basketball locally nowadays and it is good timing with the upcoming FIBA tournament. Most of the girls on the team are 15 and 16 years old.
Lani, a regular participant in RMI national basketball tournaments, is keen to bring the girls to the next level. They conduct shooting drills early in the morning and head to Wellness right after for the Insanity (non-stop, intense) workout. In the evening they meet on the court again at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Delap for other drills and full-court play.
Meanwhile, the boys are pushing their limits with Coaches Melu Wase and Jason Boki Hiram. Both coaches are players of Team Lae, the defending champions of the RMI national Constitution Day and Ralik Ratak Shootout tournaments, and have played in regional tournaments.
They conduct practices in the morning and evening at the College of the Marshall Islands’ SSG Solomon Sam Sports Center in Uliga everyday except for Sunday. “The challenge is to get everyone ready in this short time,” said Melu.
Participating in the FIBA tournament are Australia, Guam, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Palau, RMI, Samoa, and Tahiti. Boys’ and girls’ teams are divided into two groups each. The preliminary round goes from July 10 to 12. The final phase of the tournament goes from July 13 to 15. Marshall Islands Basketball Federation’s Facebook page has more details.
Read more about this in the June 30, 2017 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.