Arceneaux, Punahou starting to flow

Sophomore Cole Arceneaux is playing a big role for Punahou, which will play in the upcoming state tournament. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
Sophomore Cole Arceneaux is playing a big role for Punahou, which will play in the upcoming state tournament. Bruce Asato / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

If you haven’t noticed, Punahou is really coming around, and despite a slow start to the boys basketball season, the Buffanblu are now in the states.

There are a lot of reasons for that, including teamwork, unselfishness and — in the case of Friday’s night’s ILH tournament victory over Kamehameha — deadly 3-point shooting.

Another reason is the emergence of sophomore point guard Cole Arceneaux. He has played all season, but his role has increased steadily. In Punahou’s platoon system, he really changes the pace to a faster game when he comes in.

Changing the pace is one thing, but Arceneaux has the ability to totally take over the rhythm of a game with his speed, quickness and deft ballhandling skills. He pushes hard and usually kicks out to the deadly 3-point shooters.

“It’s going to take me a while to actually process that we got the state berth,” said Arceneaux, whose father, Darnell Arceneaux, was a star quarterback at Saint Louis and the University of Utah and is an assistant coach with the Buffanblu. “Going 1-4 to start the season, like that’s crazy.”

The boys wearing the Buff and Blue uniforms have won eight of their last nine games and face a major test today against league regular-season champion ‘Iolani. The winner will get the spoils, bragging rights for the unbelievably hotly contested 2016 ILH season and a seeded berth into the state tournament.

“We have to have a short-term memory (about the tourney win),” Arceneaux added. “We gotta go get it and get that top state berth for the ILH. ‘Iolani’s a great team, defensively and offensively. Everyone says they stall, but really, they look to get a great shot. If it’s gonna take ’em four minutes to get a great shot, then it’s going to take ’em four minutes to get a great shot. That’s the way they play and it’s not stalling. We’re still rising, so whatever team peaks at the right time will get that berth.”

We’ll find out today, starting at 6 p.m. at the ‘Iolani gym. Four other solid ILH teams fell away from the field, one by one — Mid-Pacific, Maryknoll, Saint Louis and now Kamehameha.

“We play these games to figure out who those best two teams are and those two teams have been established,” said Kamehameha head coach Greg Tacon, who also said his team was devastated after Friday’s loss.

Punahou coach Darren Matsuda thought both teams played top-notch on Friday.

“It was a very mature game by both teams,” he said. “Both teams took really good shots. We were pretty hot (shooting) today.”

Matsuda added another thing about his Buffanblu’s late-season surge that is a bit reminiscent of ‘Iolani and Arceneaux’s observation.

“Our boys are always looking for the best shot,” he said. “If they don’t feel like they’ve got a good shot, they don’t take it.”

Case in point, one time on Friday, Arceneaux drove the lane and could have hit an easy layup, but kicked it all the way to the corner.

Well, maybe his was the best shot at the time. Ah, he’s only a sophomore. Give it to the pure shooters. More points will come from Arceneaux as he gets older — and only if those points are needed. You figure the more he passes the more defenses will lay off him and then the basket starts looking just a little bit wider.


  1. Bball Fan February 13, 2016 7:14 pm

    To allow the OIA to have 6 berths and the ILH only 2 is ridiculous. Who awards berths based on participation and amount of school. If that was the case, the Old WAC, then they had 16 teams should have had more berths in the NCAA tourney than the SEC, ACC, Big East, Big 10, and Pac 10. If that happened the tourney would have been the laughing stock of all tourneys.

    Instead we have the HHSAA tournament that awards berths based on number of teams. So hypothetically, the OIA should get rid of their D2 teams and they might get 7 teams and another league (ILH, BIIF, MIL) can lose another berth, thus leaving them with only 1.

    This is ridiculous. A 6th place team DOES not belong in a 12 team tourney. Hell, a 4th place team doesn’t really belong.

    It should look as follows:

    ILH – 4 Teams
    BIIF – 2 Teams
    MIL – 2 Teams
    OIA – 4 Teams

  2. FUKI February 13, 2016 10:41 pm

    I agree 1,000%. Only in Hawaii do we allow a 6th place team to compete at winning a championship. ILH used to get 3 teams in…they should fight hard to get that 3rd spot back. Hard to argue though when ILH only has a few teams compared to OIAs 15 or however many they have. But then again, ILH recruits and spends money so they have a clear advantage over everyone else. ILH championship you can argue is the true state championship. But then again, OIA been winning their share of state championships. It’s either or with this topic. If you say ILH has the toughest teams, well then they should win states every year and yet they don’t. At the very least, they should allow a 3rd team to play into the states like before.

  3. Ldub Twenty February 14, 2016 1:50 am

    I can guarantee that Paul will come here and try to discredit anyone that calls for the ILH to have more than two teams in the state tourney. He’ll say that the ILH has sided with the OIA to let the OIA have a ridiculously high representation. Fact is, the ILH only does so to appease the OIA since the OIA always threatens to quit playing the ILH and hold an all-public school state tournament. Bottom line: whoever supports the OIA’s greed (like Paul seems to do) has got no business claiming objectivity.

  4. Rams33 February 14, 2016 7:05 am

    There would be no basis for allowing both the OIA and ILH to have 4 teams while giving MIL and BIIF only 2. Only options are giving all leagues an equal number of entrants or keep it the way they have it.

  5. Piriemango February 14, 2016 8:57 am

    I disagree with all of you. Every league should have one automatic berth and the rest of the field should be made up, by the highest rated teams, in advertiser top ten poll. Just so happens, this year, all ILH teams will be in the tournament.
    Same with the football playoffs.

  6. Rams33 February 14, 2016 10:17 am

    Letting a newspaper poll determine who makes a state tourney is probably the worst idea ever.

  7. Bball Fan February 14, 2016 6:35 pm

    No basis? You can look at track record for winning both state titles in basketball and winning elimination games by leagues over the history of the tourney.

    The ILH has the highest winning percentage in elimination games within the championship side of the bracket. They also have more overall state titles. That is why they should get more berths than the BIIF or the MIL. They are a better league.

    As for recruiting and other stuff, that’s like the Big West telling the BCS that every conference should get 1 team in the finals. And it’s not fair since teams like Alabama has more money to spend on recruiting than Hawaii. That’s absurd.

    The moment you choose to compete with those teams, all that goes out the window.

  8. Rams33 February 15, 2016 5:53 am

    Thinking high school sports work like the BCS is absurd.

  9. NoCry February 15, 2016 11:47 am

    Maybe the ILH can play among themselves if they are the supreme league. Must be the Kamehameha or ST Louis folks complaining…Just win then you have nothing to complain about!!

  10. Action Jackson February 18, 2016 4:22 pm

    Is the ILH really the superior league? I doubt it. Anytime you gotta pay 20 grand a year for a wacky education says you’re probably wasting your time. Education, athletics etc. is what you make of it.

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