Swords get key contributions from newcomers to start 2-0


Frankie Eteuati, one of the Silverswords’ newest forwards, takes a shot in the win over Saint Martin’s.

Jerry Viz

The Chaminade men’s basketball team kicked off the season by winning the PacWest/GNAC for the third year in a row. The Silverswords triumphed against the Western Oregon Wolves with an 82-73 victory and the Saint Martin’s Saints with an 82-63 win on Nov. 8-9.

In both games, new players on the Chaminade team stepped up and led the Swords to the perfect weekend and a 2-0 start.

Christophe Varidel, a senior transfer who played three seasons at Florida Gulf Coast University, scored 30 points in 28 minutes in his debut against Western Oregon. The 6-foot-3 guard made 5 of 12 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds. Varidel didn’t play against the Saints the next night due to an injury to his knee.

Off the bench, Kiran Shastri stepped in for Varidel and scored 21 points against Saint Martin’s. The freshman made 6 of 10 3-pointers and grabbed four rebounds. The California native was thrilled with his debut.

“We needed some other guys to step up for sure, and a few guys did,” Chaminade head coach Eric Bovaird said. “Kiran Shastri shot the lights out, but overall we look better in our offense and defense.”

“It was really an exciting game. We had a lot of opportunities,” Shastri said. “As a freshman, it was a great experience and I thought we played really well as a team.”

AJ Mathew, another newcomer, played hard in both games. The junior transfer from the University of Toledo scored 13 against the Wolves and 10 against the Saints. Mathew explained that he is thankful of his veteran players showing an example of leadership through practice and game time.

“Our vets had experience, so we came back at the game and brought it back,” Mathew said. “Trying to getting better at every practice and at every game, that’s all that matters.”

Veteran player and senior Rhys Murphy scored 10 points against the Wolves and 13 points against the Saints. The forward dunked several of the shots.

“They came out pretty tough at the start,” Murphy said of Saint Martin’s, which led for much of the first eight minutes of the game. “We were a little slow, but we came back pretty hard and really blew them out at the end.”

Another veteran, junior Lee Bailey, scored 5 points against the Wolves and 11 points from the Saints. Despite fighting a sore ankle that had sidelined him for much of the preseason, the point guard had 10 assists combined in the two games.

Throughout the game against the Saints, the Swords made only five turnovers while the Saints finished with 14. And Chaminade managed to outrebound Saint Martin’s 46-44 despite the visiting team’s interior strength.

“They were a big, strong, physical team,” Bovaird said. “We usually don’t play with that many big, strong and husky guys. That means there was some constant battle for positioning on the inside.”

Leadership is a major role for the Swords. Bovaird explained that whether leadership comes from him, the assistant coaches and the players, everyone is accountable when it comes to leadership.

“Our older guys are very supportive,” Shastri said. “They tell me to keep shooting, so I keep doing what I do. They help me out.”

After the weekend of games, Chaminade has two weeks off before its next opponent, which will be 20th-ranked Baylor in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 25 at 4:30 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPNU and ESPN3.com.