Guam looks to extend hot start to hoops season

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From Stripes.com

Guam looks to extend hot start to hoops season

by: Dave Ornauer | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: January 24, 2014

Lordan Aguon stepped back behind the three-point arc and shot the ball. Again. And again. And once again. The senior guard kept firing away seemingly at will; it felt to some observers like he hit 15 of them.

Turns out, the Guam team co-captain went 8-for-12 from downtown, finishing with 36 points as the Panthers won their second game of the season 68-57 over Southern.

It was the second of three victories for the Panthers to open the season. And Guam coach Ben Leon Guerrero says the flying start could foreshadow good things to come for a program that hasn’t won a Far East Tournament banner since taking the Division II title in 1998 – the year the school opened.

“It’s always our goal to be successful and play at center court,” Leon Guerrero said. “They have the drive, the motivation and they’re hungry for it. I have confidence in my boys, but they’re the ones who have to do it on the court.”

And they’re doing it well, if the numbers are an indicator. Aguon is averaging just more than 24 points a game. Austy Hines is complementing that by averaging 15.3 rebounds per game. And the Panthers are getting solid contributions from Michael Stewart, Eddie Garza and Lewis Harris.

But Aguon, with his shooting, has attracted the most attention. In addition to that, he’s averaging five steals.

“He’s aggressive on defense,” Leon Guerrero said. “He really works hard. All the players work hard to perfect their play. L.J. has been exceptional at that. If he makes a mistake, he works hard to fix it.”

And he rarely comes off the court, Leon Guerrero said, averaging almost 32 minutes. “All the success he’s had, he’s worked for it. He deserves it,” he said.

The Panthers put that Guam-best 3-0 mark on the line Saturday at Father Duenas Memorial’s Phoenix Center in Mangilao.

Elsewhere, teams and players return to the court after a week of limited practices and no games due to the DODDS semester exams.

Robert D. Edgren makes its annual pilgrimage to Tokyo, the boys to play at St. Mary’s and St. Maur International and the girls against Seisen International and St. Maur. Zama and Matthew C. Perry travel to E.J. King for a DODDS Japan weekend series.

All four DODDS Korea schools will be in action this weekend in all sports, including Humphreys’ first time to host a wrestling meet Saturday. That same day, DODDS Japan’s schools visit Zama for a six-way individual freestyle wrestling tournament.

Okinawa’s basketball teams play their second tournament in as many weeks, the 8th Okinawa-American Shootout, also called the Okinawa-American Friendship Tournament.

ornauer.dave@stripes.com

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