Well, well, it’s playoff season, which in some minds is an entirely different deal from the regular season. That’s understandable.
Playoffs. Even when scores aren’t lower, it still comes down to percentages. Getting good shots. Minimizing turnovers. Making free throws.
FREE THROWS! That was clearly a factor on Tuesday night when Waianae visited Kailua. The home team hit 24 of its 38 attempts (63 percent), which isn’t too bad. Waianae? The visitors were 8-for-24 from the line (33 percent) and lost 66-56.
The math reveals this: miss 16 free throws and the season might be over. Another factor was Kailua’s zone defense. Waianae had trouble early on against Kailua’s 1-3-1 zone.
“Our girls like it. It’s one of our go-to zones,” Kailua coach Mandy Llamedo said. “The pressing (by Kailua), we were trying to dribble too much through it instead of passing through.”
After trailing for the entire second quarter, Waianae took a 27-25 lead moments into the third on a layup by Chong off a steal by Cayshia Alapai. Kailua seized control with a 14-2 run, fueled by 3-pointers from Williams and Keala Kaio-Perez.
>> Lunas stay at No. 1
They’re 22-1 and having lots of fun.
The Lahainaluna Lunas are atop the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 again, and it was almost unanimous. The Lady Lunas collected 16 of 17 first-place votes from panelists.
It’s only fitting, perhaps, that Punahou is No. 2. Lahainaluna edged Punahou 51-50 back on Nov. 14 at the Kaiser Invitational. After that, it’s a big roundup of talented teams capable of winning the state title in what is turning out to be a season of major parity.
Mililani is 10-0 in OIA play (18-2 overall), but has losses to Hilo (43-42) and Lahainaluna (52-33). Those losses were on the road. The Trojans also have a 59-51 win over Konawaena. They have yet to be serious challenged in the downtrodden OIA West, winning by an average of 40.9 points per game. Their closest battle was a 67-46 win over Waianae.
The only other unbeaten OIA team is Roosevelt (12-2 overall), which lost to Punahou (69-57) and Konawaena (57-54) at Kaiser’s tournament. The Rough Riders have won their OIA games by an average of 24.6 points. A recent 59-51 win at Moanalua was the first time any league opponent lost by less than 17 points.
>> Punahou boys still at top
For now, the Punahou Buffanblu boys basketball team has rectified what had been a disturbance in the force.
A stunning 46-34 loss to ‘Iolani on Wednesday — with 6-foot-7 Daniel Andrews sidelined by injury — didn’t affect Star-Advertiser Top 10 voters. By Friday night, Andrews had returned from a strained patella tendon injury and led the Buffanblu (19-1 overall) to a 63-52 win at Maryknoll.
That was enough to convince the panel of coaches and media. Twenty-two of the 28 gave Punahou first-place votes. ‘Iolani received the other six.
Farrington’s yo-yo adventure through the Top 10 continued. With three key players on a football trip, the Governors lost at Kalaheo 58-54 and dropped one spot. But voters were gracious to Gov nation again, pegging their team at No. 5 — one notch above Kalaheo.
Lahainaluna, which upset Baldwin last week, entered the poll for the first time this season at No. 9.
>> Wednesday clashes
Tonight’s quarterfinal round in the OIA Red playoffs means one thing more than anything else: The winners qualify for state-tournament berths. The OIA has six berths, as usual, which means all four semifinalists are in the big dance. The losers get their second chance in the consolation bracket, where the remaining two berths will be available.
And, of course, with a state berth comes the possibility of traveling off island in the girls hoops state tourney for the first time — for OIA (and ILH) teams.
Tonight? Kailua faces West 2 Leilehua in a 5:30 p.m. matchup at Mililani. Then host Mililani, 10-0 in OIA West play, will meet Radford. The Rams ousted Kaiser on Tuesday night, 40-36.
Nanakuli beat McKinley on Tuesday and will visit Moanalua tonight in a 6 p.m. battle. Roosevelt, the top team in the East, will host Kahuku, which ousted Kapolei on Tuesday. That game is also at 6 p.m.