Defense is no cliche in 2019.
The Maryknoll Spartans proved it, capturing the boys basketball state championship and closing the season at No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.
Only four times in 32 games was an opponent able to reach the 50-point mark, and only one of those teams still managed to beat Maryknoll. The Spartans limited Punahou to a season-low 34 points in the state final on Saturday.
Maryknoll (30-2) held the pole position in the rankings for the final seven weeks of the season.
Punahou (29-6) finished at No. 2. Only three teams beat the Buffanblu this season. One of them was Maryknoll, which defeated the Spartans in all four meetings.
Division II state champion Damien (28-2) closed at No. 3. The Monarchs received one first-place vote and were the only team in the Top 10 to beat Maryknoll — during a preseason game at the Punahou Invitational. They were 9-2 against Top 10 foes, splitting games with Punahou and St. Francis. Damien overwhelmed OIA D-II champion Farrington in the state final 73-50.
‘Iolani (23-12), the third place team out of the ILH, is at No. 4. The Raiders stunned OIA champion Moanalua on Moanalua’s home court in the state quarterfinal round before losing to Punahou in a nail-biter, 48-42.
OIA champion Moanalua and runner-up Kailua finished in a tie at No. 5. In the state quarterfinals, Moanalua (21-8) led ‘Iolani by seven points in the fourth quarter before succumbing in OT. It was the only homecourt loss of the season for Na Menehune, who were 10-0 there prior to the state tourney.
Kailua (20-14) moved up after reaching the semifinal round of the big dance. The Surfriders lost in overtime to Moanalua in the OIA final, then ousted Kalaheo and Waiakea at the state tournament before losing to top seed Maryknoll. The Surfriders went 2-7 against ILH teams.
St. Francis (22-17) slipped a spot to No. 7 despite not playing a game since the ILH playoffs. The Saints went 10-2 against OIA teams, including 4-2 against D-I state qualifiers from the OIA.
Kapolei (20-9), the OIA’s third-place team, won at Baldwin in the opening round of the state tourney, then lost to top seed Maryknoll. The Hurricanes defeated Waiakea and Moanalua in consolation play, but it wasn’t enough to sway voters. Kapolei remained at No. 8.
Farrington (17-10), the second seed in the D-II state tourney, eliminated Kauai and Hawaii Prep before losing to Damien in the final. The Governors escalated a notch to No. 9 in the final poll.
MIL champion Lahainaluna (18-7) lost to Punahou and Moanalua at the state tourney and slipped a spot to No. 10.
At one point, 19 teams received at least one vote in the Top 10. Just three weeks ago, 18 teams drew at least one point. In this final Top 10, BIIF champion Waiakea received 12 votes and BIIF runner-up Hawaii Prep and Kamehameha, one of only two teams to beat Maryknoll, also received a vote.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Aug. 9|