BOYS TOP 10: Case of the Forgotten Owls

Mid-Pacific's Cameron Hersh, middle, is blocked by Findlay Prep's PJ Washington, right, and Reggie Chaney during the 'Iolani Classic. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Mid-Pacific’s Cameron Hersh, middle, is blocked by Findlay Prep’s PJ Washington, right, and Reggie Chaney during the ‘Iolani Classic. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The season is maturing and turning out to be one of the more interesting ones in recent seasons because of one reason: depth.

Depth as in the number of quality teams out there, especially compared to girls basketball. Some of that has to do with homegrown development. Some has to do with imported talent, whether it’s Kahuku with island players who have returned along with a transfer from New Zealand, or McKinley with former Chicago resident Kevin Kim.

The two teams are the lone unbeaten teams left in the OIA East and clash tonight at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium. Get your seats early.

Below is today’s Top 10, where panelists forgot about Mid-Pacific and included teams from the OIA who are on hot streaks. The Owls are unranked despite a win over Kamehameha and a very close loss to Punahou. I have them at No. 7 on my ballot.

Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017
Rank, School (first-place votes), Points [last week’s rank]
1. Kahuku (14) 140 [1]
2. ‘Iolani 126 [2]
3. Punahou 108 [3]
4. Maryknoll 87 [4]
5. Lahainaluna 85 [5]
6. St. Francis 65 [7]
7. Kalaheo 48 [8]
8. Leilehua 38 [9]
9. Kamehameha 23 [6]
10. Kapolei 22 [NR]
Also receiving votes: Mid-Pacific 21, Seabury Hall 5, Kailua 2, McKinley 1.

Here’s my Top 10 ballot, along with capsules under my ballot with sumo-style ranking.

Pupule ballot 1/16/17
1. Kahuku (16-3, 7-0 OIA East)

> Routed Moanalua (72-48), Kaiser (63-45).
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna. The Chiyonofuji of Hawaii prep hoops.

2. ‘Iolani (13-5, 4-0 ILH)
> Rallied past Saint Louis (49-45), beat Kamehameha (45-33).
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Sometimes Taiho-ish.

3. Punahou (16-3, 3-1 ILH)
> Beat Maryknoll (60-50), won at Mid-Pacific (49-44).
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

4. Maryknoll (16-3, 3-1 ILH)
> Lost at Punahou (60-50), beat Saint Louis (54-49). Record vs. Top 10 is 4-1: beat Kailua (68-37), beat Leilehua (47-30), beat Mid-Pacific (42-40), beat Kamehameha (55-53), lost at Punahou.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

5. Kalaheo (9-8, 5-2 OIA East)
> Routed Roosevelt (63-45), won at Moanalua (55-49). If the Mustangs stay healthy, championship quality.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

6. Lahainaluna (15-1, 7-0 MIL)
> Record vs. Top 10: 2-0. Beat Leilehua (45-38) and St. Francis (68-57). Closest margin of victory in MIL play: 19 points. We’ll have to wait awhile until the Lunas face a Top 5 team again.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

7. Mid-Pacific (6-6, 1-3 ILH)
> won at Kamehameha (47-45), lost to Punahou (49-44). Unranked by the Top 10 panel, very interesting in this level of the rankings since there are A) very good teams, B) they keep beating each other, C) the level of competition is consistently elite for the ILH teams like MPI.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

8. Kamehameha (13-9, 1-3 ILH)
> Three-game losing streak: lost at Maryknoll (55-53), lost to Mid-Pacific (47-45), lost at ‘Iolani 45-33. Warriors are a half-notch away from the top of the mountain.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

9. St. Francis (17-4, 4-0 ILH D-II)
> Won at Damien (64-55) and beat Hanalani (89-20) last week. On auto-pilot in a way with sporadic challenges in ILH D-II. The preseason win over Kahuku, which didn’t have Dan Fotu at the time, is a hefty feather in the Saints’ cap.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

10. Kapolei (13-5, 6-0 OIA West)
> Won at Waialua (79-54) and at Waianae (74-57). The time is right for the Hurricanes at the 10 spot. Though Kailua has an impressive resume, it is also dotted with losses to unranked teams, including Kaimuki last week. The ‘Canes have won six in a row in the West, and also have wins over Kalani (47-34), University (36-34), Mid-Pacific (57-52) and Waiakea (58-46). There are losses to Top 10 teams: ‘Iolani (66-47), Punahou (81-72) and Mid-Pacific (61-49). The key: @ Kapolei 52, Kailua 49.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kailua (12-8, 4-3 OIA East)
> Overpowered Kalani (47-23), lost at Kaimuki (60-53). C Christian Mejia on football visit to WSU during the weekend, but with him, the Surfriders lost at Kapolei 52-49 (Dec. 6). The injury to shooting guard Everett Torres-Kahapea along with the absence of Mejia gave other Surfriders a chance to step up. Even with the loss to Kaimuki, those extra minutes of playing time was valuable.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

Saint Louis (9-10, 0-4 ILH)
> Had ‘Iolani on the ropes in a road loss.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Leilehua (10-6, 7-0 OIA West)
> Routed Mililani (46-31) and outlasted Campbell (52-45). Mules had a notable win over Kamehameha on Dec. 9, but had a number of losses as their young talent developed. The West schedule has been favorable, but the Mules have also gotten more balance and strength from everyone. Next up are Nanakuli, @ Waipahu and Kapolei.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kamehameha-Hawaii (9-10, 4-2 BIIF)
> Beat Hilo (60-49), but the Vikings aren’t close to their heyday as a dynasty program. Lost at Konawaena (54-48).
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Damien (8-5, 3-1 ILH D-II)
> Notable wins at Le Jardin (51-32) and at Hawaii Baptist (57-49. Lost to St. Francis (64-55).
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Waianae (7-7, 4-3 OIA West)
> Lost close games to Campbell and Leilehua before winning three in a row. Then lost to Kapolei (74-57) last week.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Konawaena (4-0 BIIF)
> Wins over Kamehameha-Hawaii (54-48) and at Honokaa (72-64) are big.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Hawaii Baptist (11-7, 3-1 ILH D-II)
> Edged Le Jardin 47-43. Lost at home to Damien (57-49).
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Le Jardin (9-6, 0-4 ILH D-II)
> The Bulldogs have transformed in the past two seasons, but the recent losses push the rank down from sekiwake. ILH D-II is tough as nails. Losses to Damien (51-32), St. Francis (79-35), at HBA (47-43) and University (60-56).
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kalani (9-8, 3-4 OIA East)
> Four-game skid for the Falcons after starting 3-0 in East play.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kaiser (13-7, 5-2 OIA East)
> Young team with plenty of versatility and skill. Tough preseason prepared them nicely for league play. Since losing to McKinley (55-52), the Cougars have beaten Roosevelt (53-45), at Kaimuki (61-35) and Anuenue. Lost at Kahuku (63-45) last week.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kaimuki (3-10, 2-5 OIA East)
> Big win over Kailua last week. Still in the playoff chase.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Assets (8-2, 5-0 ILH D-III)
> The Admirals rule ILH D-III competition. Their progress in recent years is astounding. The accomplishments by programs that have tiny enrollments and have no facilities are always evidence that the power of hope and unity are real.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Keaau (1-2 BIIF)
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Waiakea (2-0 BIIF)
> Warriors lost to St. Francis (60-48), Dr. Phillips (Fla.) (59-38), Kapolei (58-46) and Punahou (69-51), and beat Kaiser (62-51) at the ‘Iolani Classic.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Baldwin (1-10, 0-6 MIL)
> Incredible and nearly impossible to believe, but the Bears are having one of their worst seasons in school history. The losses: Waipahu (47-38), Waianae (56-35), Seabury Hall (59-26), Kaiser (37-27), Kamehameha-Maui (50-37), Maui (61-30), Lahainaluna (53-11), Maui again (58-47), King Kekaulike (52-47), Kamehameha-Maui again (56-45).
> Sumo rank: Juryo.

Seabury Hall (12-3, 2-0 MIL D-II)
> Spartans are on a roll against MIL foes, winning by more than 20 points each night. They were also tough in preseason, beating University (42-40), Baldwin (59-26), Kapaa (51-32) and Maui (51-34). At this point, they seem to be the second best team in the MIL behind Lahainaluna.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

University (11-6, 2-2 ILH D-II)
> The Junior Rainbows lost a ton of talent to graduation, but still have enough this year to make a run back to the state tourney. Wins include Mililani, Campbell, Molokai, Maui, Castle, Saint Louis II, Radford, Tafuna (American Samoa), Hilo. Last week, the ‘Bows beat Hanalani and edged Le Jardin. Their two league losses: at St. Francis, at Hanalani.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Mililani (5-8, 4-2 OIA West)
> Home win over Nanakuli (60-49) and road loss (46-31) at Leilehua last week.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Moanalua (5-12, 4-3 OIA East)
> Much like Mililani, Moanalua struggled through preseason, though Na Menehune had a tougher schedule, and has played much better basketball during the league slate. A four-game win streak ended with a loss to Kahuku (72-48), followed by a close loss to Kalaheo (55-49). Despite an 0-9 start in preseason, most of the losses were close and to Top 10 teams: Mid-Pacific (75-70), ‘Iolani (57-48), Kamehameha (43-41), Kamehameha (46-44). Also two losses to Saint Louis (63-54 and 57-44), another team on the cusp of the Top 10. Almost always, close margins in losses, especially to quality teams, project to success at some point. Reversion to the mean. Three tough games left before the playoffs, but Moanalua could be 7-3 entering the postseason.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Farrington (5-10, 3-4 OIA East)
> After a long, arduous trek across scorched earth, the Governors have won three in a row: at Kalani (61-58), Kaimuki (65-55) and Anuenue. Their D-II hopes are brighter now. With a fairly young team, the Govs have enough talent and balance to become a force in D-II.
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Roosevelt (7-10, 1-6 OIA East)
> The Rough Riders have some solid pieces across the board, but injuries have been unkind. Five-game losing streak puts them in a tough spot with the D-II playoffs ahead. Only two from the OIA qualify for the D-II state tournament

Kahuku, ‘Iolani, Punahou, Maryknoll
Kalaheo, Kamehameha, Kailua, Lahainaluna, St. Francis, Mid-Pacific
Leilehua, Saint Louis, Kapolei, Damien, Kalani, Kaiser
Kamehameha-Hawaii, Keaau, McKinley, Waianae, Konawaena, Hawaii Baptist
Seabury Hall, Le Jardin, Kaimuki, Assets, Keaau, Waiakea, University, Mililani


  1. Loca1boi January 17, 2017 9:47 pm

    Great to see a school like Assets, as mentioned, small enrollment no facilities, get to a point like that in any sport.

    As important as Fotu’s absence was in Kahuku’s pre season loss to SFS, its of note to mention the Red Raiders were also without Cody Sauvao. If you’ve seen them play, you are aware how big of a difference Sauvao’s defense plays in their wins. A defensive hurricane.

  2. Education First January 18, 2017 10:10 am

    Kalaheo had a bad loss last night. Even playing without the Captain, they have more than enough assets to beat Kalani.

  3. SOLE January 21, 2017 5:47 am

    You keep stating that St. Francis beat Kahuku without Dan Fotu. Kahuku didn’t have Codie Sauvao and Kaniho either in that loss, not just Dan Fotu.

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