It’s Yonsei Basketball Time

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Top row from left: Tracie Hara, Kelli Tani and Leigh Kunitake. Second row from left: Kristi Sakai, Taylor Tanita and Lauren Ouye. Third row from left: Justyne Hill, Kylie Mizushima and Brianne Yasukochi. Fourth row from left: Kristi Sakamoto, Lindsay Misako Uyematsu and Mari Shigemasa.

Girls' team, top row from left: Tracie Hara, Kelli Tani and Leigh Kunitake. Second row from left: Kristi Sakai, Taylor Tanita and Lauren Ouye. Third row from left: Justyne Hill, Kylie Mizushima and Brianne Yasukochi. Fourth row from left: Kristi Sakamoto, Lindsay Misako Uyematsu and Mari Shigemasa.

Boyss team, top row from left: Grant Arakawa, Ryan Colwell and Evan Ishibashi. Second row from left: Zach Kimura, Kenta Kishimoto and Trenton Kohno. Third row from left: Kanan Sasaki, Jonathan Sawada and Ryan Togashi. Fourth row from left: Curtis Toyota, Grant Uba and Jared Wada.

Boys' team, top row from left: Grant Arakawa, Ryan Colwell and Evan Ishibashi. Second row from left: Zach Kimura, Kenta Kishimoto and Trenton Kohno. Third row from left: Kanan Sasaki, Jonathan Sawada and Ryan Togashi. Fourth row from left: Curtis Toyota, Grant Uba and Jared Wada.

Marking the 16th year of the Yonsei Basketball Association, this year’s girl’s and boy’s teams featuring 24 eighth-grade youths will be traveling to Kochi Japan this year to take part in this unique “cultural exchange through basketball” program. The Yonsei 16 Team will stay and play basketball with teams in Kochi and Sakawa cities.

The Yonsei 16 teams have been practicing since March and studying the Japanese language and its customs in preparation for the trip. Upon completion of the Goodwill games and home stays, the team, coaches and their families, 114 people in total, will tour Japan together.

Applicants for this program must have a minimum 3.0 GPA and be affiliated with a basketball team in the Asian basketball organizations. Selection is based upon academic achievement, basketball and interpersonal skills. This year’s boy’s team is coached by Ron Kato and assisted by Tim Park. The girl’s team is coached by Robin Ishibashi and assisted by Kimberly Hayashi.

Several upcoming events will showcase the Yonsei 16 Teams before they depart for Japan including the Yonsei Golf Tournament Fundraiser taking place this Monday, July 13 at Candlewood Country Club in Whittier as well as an exhibition game between the teams and last year’s Yonsei 15 teams on Sunday, Aug. 9 at Kennedy High School in Mission Hills.

Visit the Yonseiyouth.com for more information.

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