Hoopbook: Kings of the road and homecourt edges

Kelly Grant's Maryknoll boys basketball team has played just three of its 19 games at home this season. Photo by Steven Erler/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

With most boys basketball teams nearing the two-thirds mark of the schedule, there’s adequate data for observing homecourt success versus road results. The most obvious home king of late is Farrington, but this begins at the top with Punahou.

(All records as of Friday, Jan. 11.)
Punahou (18-1, 3-0 ILH)
> Home: 4-0
> Away: 4-1
> Neutral: 10-0
The Buffanblu played 12 games before finally getting one on the home logo Dec. 19. Even their ILH schedule has been all on the road, three wins, before coming back to Hemmeter Fieldhouse tonight. NO WAIT. Tonight’s game against Maryknoll is at Maryknoll.

Maryknoll (17-2, 3-1 ILH)
> Home: 2-1
> Away: 7-0
> Neutral: 8-1
After 18 games with just two at home, the Spartans’ first ILH game at Clarence T.C. Ching Gym was a stunning loss to Kamehameha on Thursday. They are the only team on this list with at least five away games to be unbeaten in opponents’ gyms.

‘Iolani (11-5, 2-1 ILH)
> Home: 1-4
> Away: 3-0
> Neutral: 7-1
After going 1-3 in the Classic and losing at home to Maryknoll in the ILH opener, the Raiders are due for a reversion to the mean, as in more homeport victories.

Damien (18-2, 5-0 ILH D-II)
> Home: 6-0
> Away: 5-2
> Neutral: 7-0
The home/away splits matter less for the Monarchs, who are lodged in D-II the rest of the season and are far and away the best team in ILH D-II. Home court will matter more when Damien moves up to D-I next season and has a chance to host playoff games.

The next layer of teams is part of the magnificent caldera in boys basketball this season. We have a depth that hasn’t occurred normally, with relatively evenly matched teams between No. 5 and No. 17 or so. In sumo terms, this would be below yokozuna, fringing just below ozeki into sekiwake to komusubi range. Teams capable of competing with any higher-ranked opponents on a given night, or in a given tournament.

Saint Louis (8-2, 1-2 ILH)
> Home: 3-2
> Away: 2-0
> Neutral: 3-0
Home court has been radically different this season with sometimes quieter crowds and lower student attendance than in previous seasons.

Kailua (12-9, 4-1 OIA)
> Home: 7-2
> Away: 2-1
> Neutral: 4-6
Few teams have played as many games in preseason as the Surfriders, and in straight road games on an opponent’s (away) court, they hadn’t lost until Friday night at Farrington.

St. Francis (14-12, 0-3 ILH)
> Home: 2-3
> Away: 3-2
> Neutral: 9-7
For a team that played practically non-stop — even twice in a day – during preseason, the Saints had just three home games in their first 24 games. They were 3-0 in away games, beating Kailua (2 OT), Moanalua and Kaiser, before losing in OT at Saint Louis and a one-pointer at Lahainaluna.

Kalaheo (12-11, 3-2 OIA)
> Home: 6-1
> Away: 2-3
> Neutral: 4-7
Until the OIA regular season began, the Mustangs were 1-1 on opponents’ courts. And one of those losses was a 77-71 game at No. 1 Punahou.

Farrington (10-6, 5-0 OIA East)
> Home: 5-2
> Away: 5-1
> Neutral: 0-3
Since losing four in a row at the ‘Iolani Classic, the Governors have won three home games and one away game against ranked foes.

Lahainaluna (9-5, 4-0 MIL)
> Home: 6-1 (includes Lahaina Civic)
> Away: 1-0
> Neutral: 2-4
Like Farrington, the Lunas’ neutral games were loaded with Top 10 opponents.

Kamehameha (12-6, 1-2 ILH)
> Home: 1-1
> Away: 5-2
> Neutral: 6-3
Young and previously ranked, the Warriors show all the signs of a team ready to make a run. They haven’t lost more than two games in a row all season, and they’ve been successful on neutral courts. There is likely no other team that has been at home less. Beating No. 2 Maryknoll at Kekuhaupio Gym on Thursday could be an omen of good things to come on the home court.

Moanalua (11-6, 4-1 OIA)
> Home: 4-0
> Away: 2-1
> Neutral: 5-5
Na Menehune are unbeaten at home, winning by an average margin of 25.8 points.

Kahuku (10-7, 1-3 OIA)
> Home: 2-3
> Away: 2-1
> Neutral: 6-3
The Red Raiders have endured a roller-coaster ride so far. The recent three-game losing streak was by a total point margin of -11 points.

Mid-Pacific (6-8, 1-2 ILH)
> Home: 1-2
> Away: 1-0
> Neutral: 4-6
Of the Owls’ four home games, three came in the past nine days with conference games.

Hawaii Prep (6-4, 4-0 BIIF)
> Home: 1-0
> Away: 3-0
> Neutral: 2-4
Ka Makani finally had a home game on Jan. 5, a month after its preseason opener.

Waiakea (8-2, 4-0 BIIF)
> Home: 3-0
> Away: 1-1
> Neutral: 4-1
Three of the Warriors’ neutral-court wins were in their hometown, but at the Afook-Chinen Hilo Civic Auditorium.

Kalani (11-4, 4-1 OIA)
> Home: 1-1
> Away: 3-0
> Neutral: 6-3
The tests haven’t been very frequent, but the Falcons have been consistent. The tier of teams like Kamehameha, Moanalua — ranked for many weeks earlier in the season — is followed by very competitive tams like Leilehua and Kapolei. Kalani has lost to those four teams and beaten everyone else.

Governor DNA
One of the most consistent elements of Farrington’s 5-0 start in Oahu Interscholastic Association East play is the effectiveness of its guards.

They run the break, look for open teammates and score in flurries at times. In a 72-57 win over No. 6 Kailua, as a team, the Governors took 16 3-pointers and made five. But their uniqueness includes a willingness by their guards to crash the offensive boards. Game after game, there are key baskets that result from putbacks on fastbreaks. Three of them — Modesto Bacaltos, Aaron Bagaoisan and Aemon Kurt Castro — combined for four of Farrington’s 11 offensive boards.

Four may not seem like an impressive number, but against a Top 10 foe like Kailua, that’s four extra possessions, and usually four shots at point-blank range in a scramble situation. It’s the little things that matter for Farrington.

“I told them, ‘We’re not the (Golden State) Warriors. We’re not going to launch 3-pointers like them,’ “ Govs coach Steven Leopoldo said.

The Governors aren’t perfect. They committed 16 turnovers, including six in the first quarter. But they make up for it with hustle on the offensive glass, and relentless defense. Two nights after shooting nearly 50 percent from the field against Kaiser, Kailua managed to hit 35 percent of its shots at Farrington.

In a week when big free-throw volume mattered for teams like Maryknoll, which had 77 attempts in consecutive games, Kailua took 31 shots at the charity stripe. The Surfriders made 22 (71 percent), was even on the boards with Farrington (30 each) and still lost for the first time in league play.

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