A Royal Debut: Damien Monarchs top boys Top 10

The Damien Monarchs have beaten a slew of Goliaths this season. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser

After all their early success, the Damien Monarchs still have their doubters.

Division II Damien, unbeaten at 7-0, victorious over seven D-I teams including defending D-I state champion Punahou (last Monday), defending D-II state champ St. Francis and OIA D-I title contender Kalaheo (Pete Smith Classic final), is the No. 1 team in the Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 today. It’s the first time Damien has been No. 1 in the boys hoops rankings since the first Star-Advertiser poll in 2010.

The Monarchs garnered six of 10 possible first-place votes, but had just a three-point edge over No. 2 Punahou. Damien will soon run out of D-I competition, much the same way St. Francis plowed through opponents last year. In 2017-18, then-D-II St. Francis upset several Top 10 foes and went on to capture the D-II state crown.

However, Damien is taking it one step further. Last year’s D-II state runner-up has yet to lose a game. There are four games left on the preseason schedule, including a visit to Kapolei on Tuesday. Next week, the Monarchs face Kailua in the opening round of the St. Francis Classic. Then, it’ll be ILH D-II season.

Punahou bounced back from the loss to Damien with a title run through the James Alegre Invitational, beating Leilehua (81-29), Kalaheo (63-48) and Mid-Pacific (64-43).

The flavor of the season’s first boys basketball poll is distinctly ILH. The first five teams are all private schools from that league. Maryknoll (5-0) and ‘Iolani (3-0) could make a case for No. 1. The Spartans have wins over Pearl City, McKinley, Kapolei, Kaimuki and Farrington. They will visit Kaiser on Saturday, then enter the Kaimuki Invitational next week.

‘Iolani opened the book on a new season with a sweep of competition at the Surfrider Holiday Hoops Classic. The Raiders overpowered Waipahu, Roosevelt and St. Francis.

The Saints of St. Francis played without leading scorer and standout playmaker Kameron Ng, who injured an ankle in the first half of a semifinal win over Kailua. St. Francis (4-2), at No. 5, is just two points ahead of Kahuku, which hasn’t played a game yet.

The Red Raiders host No. 8 Kamehameha tonight. The latest rumor floating in gyms around the island is that Kahuku has a 6-foot-10 player from Tonga on the roster. Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana dismissed the rumor.

Kalaheo (5-2) is at No. 7. The Mustangs’ losses are to Damien and Punahou, and they have won their each of the other five games by double-digit margins with one exception. Kalaheo outlasted Lahainaluna 46-38 in the Alegre Invitational opening round.

Mid-Pacific, which ousted Moanalua and Radford by an average margin of 14.5 points, lost to Punahou 54-43 in the Alegre final. The Owls open the season at No. 9 in the rankings.

Moanalua posted wins over Honokaa and Leilehua after its loss to MPI. Na Menehune are No. 10 in the poll, just two points ahead of Kailua.

Nine teams, including Kailua, also received votes.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10

Updated: 10/23
1.Kahuku (10)100
5.Saint Louis53


  1. J Rodgers December 4, 2018 7:15 am

    Well done.
    Never thought I would see this day 🙂
    Class of ’71

  2. Mark Shiroma December 4, 2018 8:51 am

    Right On! It’s About time. GO MONARCHS!

  3. !!! December 4, 2018 1:33 pm

    Damien is. Avery good team no doubt, but they should play D1. Their league schedule is not even fair.

  4. Bballer December 4, 2018 1:42 pm

    Disagree with the they should be D1 comment
    This a once in lifetime good team but year in and year out they not consistent D1 team.
    This year sure but I don’t think the coaches of Damien knew how good they were gonna be.

  5. JetWavy December 4, 2018 9:33 pm

    This is why I respect the hell out of Mid-Pacific for continuing to stay in ILH Division 1 year after year. They face the same disadvantages that Saint Francis (who finally moved up to Div 1 albeit much too late) and Damien claim they would have if they actually moved up but Mid-Pac keeps grinding. Mid-Pac would easily be a threat in the ILH Division 2 and would likely have enjoyed D2 titles in the past seasons but they continue to face the grind of the ILH D1 season missing out on the state tournament year after year.

    I personally miss the format where the “small” ILH D2 school had to play in the ILH D1 and earn a birth if they wanted to be in a state tournament.

  6. Oh Come On December 4, 2018 11:06 pm

    JetWavy – yes respect the hell of MidPac… but how do you explain how Midpac played DII Girl’s basketball and DII Girl’s volleyball ***smh***

  7. HATE SHADY COACHES December 5, 2018 4:44 am

    Good place to VENT.

    Far from 1st place; because they have SHADY coaches. 5 years later Coach Al is still the same. While all the D1 contenders play their 15 man bench deep; he plays only 7 leaving his 3-5 bench players out beating opponents by 30 points and still his starters are in and doesn’t give his bench a time of day to develop.

    75 percent of this team is recruited on Military discount, so called academic scholarship (no grades athletes in this category) and balances covered by athletic financial aide or alumni funds. (no different then what Crusaders do with their football team). 3-4 players pay their full tuition to make it look good on paper but these players will be lucky if they even have 1-5 minutes of playing time. This team did not fall into their hands they were scouted and recruited.

    My older son played for Al a few years back when they went to the states with Koby, Rocky and Kapi but was 1st round out because their best player couldn’t play because of grades. My son and a lot on the bench almost had no playtime because he only relied on his 7 man rotation and don’t give his bench players a chance to play to help in crucial times like when Kapi couldn’t play. My 2nd son a senior now played since he was 6 years old and still plays club ball would not tryout because he said last year and this year is all recruited players and he wouldn’t have a chance and would only sit on the bench with humiliation. (sad) sadly I chose Damien thinking my sons who’s not that tall will have a better chance to play in D2 since we love basketball but didn’t happen for them.

    The new president took away all financial discounts for the student body; no alumni discount, no sibling discounts, no academic scholarship discount and hardly any financial aide is given anymore so people like me who has to pay full tuition will fund these recruited athletes to make the school look good. The AD’s are a joke and so unqualified they allow these things to happen. Damien will soon be another St Francis their athletic department will run their school dry trying to compete with D1 schools with empty pockets.

    I hope the shady coaches big heads blow up and blow out everyone in D2 and make it to states only to lose to the other DEFEND HOUGHTAILING school. Farrington who was 80 percent of Lanakila’s team that slaughtered the Lions at the convention center this past summer. Go Monarchs!

  8. JetWavy December 5, 2018 6:32 am


    Since division II was given its own state tournament in 2004/2005 for girls vball & bball, Mid-Pacific girls have won one state tourney for bball in 2017. That’s not exactly a team sandbagging their talent in dII if you ask me. If they went on a run and won 2 or 3 in a row, then it would be rather apparent they don’t belong down in D2. Unlike some of the boys’ teams, Mid-Pac girls are not the big fish in the small pond for the division their in.

  9. phILHarmonic December 5, 2018 9:18 am


    He’s shady because he didnt play your son was pretty much all I got.

    Maybe, unfair? yes, shady, not as much.

    Its distressing to hear that this was your sons experience, and its unfortunate kids can carry these types of memories with them into adulthood. After reading your post I know that he has a caring parent that framed it in a way that made him stronger and focused on using this experience as a life lesson.

    I hope the best for your younger son and he has learned to leave no doubt in the coaches mind that he belongs on the floor.

  10. Monarchs Mom December 5, 2018 10:33 am

    My son plays on the varsity team and comes off the bench with limited playtime but as parents we encourage him to train hard; and when your name comes up; play hard and give it all you got with the minutes you earned. We know he’s capable of playing he played on last years JV team who won the the ILH JV D2 championship and he played almost the entire games but we also tell him Varsity is a whole new level that he has to work even harder for the coaches to give him a chance at play time. We are happy that my son is able to be a part of this ride and his time will come. He still have another year to develop and keep working hard and most importantly creating memories for himself. Keep working hard Monarchs! Mahalo Coaches!

  11. HSC December 5, 2018 12:15 pm


    Yes indeed it was a life lesson for him to build him stronger to get over shady people in his adult life and when shady people treat you like you are not good enough try harder and prove them wrong. My son went on to play JC Ball for 2 years and had REAL coaches who developed him and gave him minutes to prove himself and develop him to get better worked with him on his mistakes and made him tougher. He transferred to a university and is well on his way to become a Radiologist in the future. I’m glad he made the choice to play JC Ball to overcome the confidence that was taken away from him atleast he could say he tried college ball and enjoyed it. As for my 2nd son he made the right choice by choosing education over shady coaches. I am a proud alumni of Damien just disappointed in their athletic program right now. I still continue to give my alumni donations that fund some of the kids and still pay my full tuition.

  12. Disgruntled Parent..... BOOOOHOOOO!!! December 5, 2018 1:18 pm

    #7 You sound like one very disgruntled parent trying to spread rumors and put down a great school and basketball program that has been built not by recruiting but by being successful. Yes they haven’t won a state title yet, but it will come soon enough for them. It’s too bad that youd rather put down a program and school that you were a part of rather than enjoy their success. Your son was probably one of those who helped to build the program to where it is today and for you to bash the admin, coaches, alumni, president is a shame. But hey that if it makes you feel better to do that then do what you gotta do. Damien, its players, alumni, admin, parents and supporters will continue to appreciate what Coach Alvin has done with this program and what he is accomplishing this year. Have a nice day!!!

  13. phILHarmonic December 5, 2018 3:26 pm


    Glad to hear that your both of your sons are doing well.

    Question: What’s going on in the athletic department that has you feeling disappointed? From what Ive seen they have been doing rather well in several of the sports there.

    What gives??

  14. Bobby Command December 6, 2018 9:29 am

    Simple solution: If Damien is No. 1 at the end of the season, then let the winners of both D1 and D2 tournaments play a single game for all the manapuas.

  15. Loca1boiAnonymous December 6, 2018 4:38 pm


    What’s the point of that game? To further prove that the D2 team should’ve been playing in D1? If I was a D1 coach in this state, I would play only D1 teams in pre season. You have nothing to gain playing a D2 and everything to lose.

    You really want to be considered the best team in the state, then show out at the Iolani Classic and beat teams from other states. That’ll really tell us how legit you are.

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