It was a father and daughter dynamic from the start with Dominic and Nique Pacheco. The Kamehameha senior point guard grew up learning the game from her dad. Their last season together turned into something special.
The daughter’s determination hurdled her past all obstacles, an ankle injury and the disappointment from a year ago and the responsibility to shoulder the weight of the youthful Warriors.
Nique controlled the tempo, scored 15 points and played every minute to spark Kamehameha to the BIIF Division II championship over Hawaii Prep, winning the school’s third title in the last four years.
Dominant and healthy, she was selected as the BIIF Player of the Year, in a vote by the league’s coaches.
Her father, Dominic Pacheco, was named the BIIF Coach of the Year.
It was an accomplishment fulfilled, taking the league’s top award with her father.
“It’s a great feeling. I played basketball all my life, where I worked hard for each practice. Everything that I worked for paid off,” she said. “It feels amazing because after all our hard work since day one, we were able to earn these goals together. We started together and got to finish my last year of high school together.”
Her freshman teammate Sarah Schubert joins her on the first team. Others on the first team are Hawaii Prep’s Maya Burdova and Mariah Borce, Honokaa’s Kaena Tagabi, Saige Tabac and Kohala’s Laila Caravalho.
Dominic Pacheco pointed out that Nique’s determination separated her from others, and she benefited from the low-post presence of Schubert, who scored 13 points and grabbed 15 rebounds against HPA in the BIIF championship.
“It was her drive, not getting it (POY) last year, and ending her season with an injury, knowing how hard she worked,” he said. “We still made states but it made her drive much more this year, and she made it her mission there wouldn’t be much in her way in BIIF Division II.
“It really helped to have Sarah this year. It made it easier for Nique. They’ve played on the travel team the past two years. She could grab rebounds and made things easier. Nique became a better leader verbally. She was a much better leader this year.”
The Warriors fell to Mid-Pac in the state semifinals and lost to Hawaii Baptist Academy in the third-place game. After the game, the Pacheco knew it was time to say goodbye.
“After our last state tournament game, we had a long talk as a team where the seniors got to give their last words and appreciation,” she said. “After we finished talking, I hugged each coach and when it came to my dad, we both just got emotional knowing that we accomplished so many things together.”
The journey will go on for Nique, who’s looking at colleges in the Northwest. She plans to major in Nursing.
“I’m looking further into each college to figure out what I feel will be best for me,” she said.
All-BIIF girls basketball
Dominque Pacheco, 12, Kamehameha
Sarah Schubert, 9, Kamehameha
Maya Burdova, 12, Hawaii Prep
Mariah Borce, 12, Hawaii Prep
Kaena Tagabi, 11, Honokaa
Saige Tabac, 11, Honokaa
Laila Caravalho, 11, Kohala
Player of the year: Dominque Pacheco, Kamehameha
Coach of the year: Dominic Pacheco, Kamehameha
Kamehameha: Megan Baldado, Sierra Scanlan
HPA: Hijiri Kanasugi, Makena Hurney, Kassadie Hurney, Ali Wawner
Honokaa: Kristen Ragasa
Kohala: Tiana Perez, Danyka Cazimero-Roxburg, Jasmine Hook
Christian Liberty: Kassey Hanoa, Brooke Perreira, Kamille Febo-Santiago
Ka’u: Kaohinani Grace, Grace Smith Shania Lee Silva