Hogland embraces ‘Iolani’s underdog status

Punahou’s David Beau Whittaker battled Iolani’s Hugh Hogland to secure a rebound. Both teams are in the semifinals of the state tournament. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.
Punahou’s David Beau Whittaker battled Iolani’s Hugh Hogland to secure a rebound. Both teams are in the semifinals of the state tournament. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

He is the returning all-state Fab 15 player of the year.

Hugh Hogland has no reason to be in awe of any other hoopster on the hardwood. ‘Iolani’s 6-foot-9 senior — they announce him as a forward, not a center, at home games — has earned his place among the finest players in state history. He is a force on both ends of the floor, a shot blocker with impeccable timing and body control, and a low-post scorer with excellent passing skills.

But when he thinks about Kahuku, the top seed in this season’s Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships, he knows the task is daunting.

“They have so much size and athleticism. They’re on par with some of the best mainland teams,” Hogland said during Wednesday’s quarterfinal round after the Raiders’ 70-37 win over Waiakea. “Our guards have got to keep (Jessiya) Villa from driving. He’s so fast! (Samuta) Avea is so athletic and (Dan) Fotu is so skillful. I’ve never seen anybody as skilled with that height in my four years.”

It’s not that the Raiders need to butter up any opponent. Hogland seems to embrace his team’s unseeded, underdog role, even after winning two of the previous three state titles. They try to always play as one team, as the school motto goes, and they do keep things real, from the top down.

Coach Dean Shimamoto has already guided ‘Iolani to state championships in 2010, ’14 and ’16. Coming out of the ILH as the runner-up isn’t a deterrent. Since ’08, an ILH team has won the state crown seven times. Twice, it was an unseeded team: Punahou in ’08 and Kamehameha in ’11.

In addition, this is the first time in recent memory that the state tourney has gone to a staggered schedule. Instead of games on four consecutive days, the tourney began on Monday, then resumed on Wednesday. That extra 24 hours is invaluable for a team like ‘Iolani, which had a stretch of seven games in 10 days including Monday’s opening-round win over Moanalua.

“My body’s really feeling it,” Hogland said.

Shimamoto continues to platoon five in and five out, and the big lead on Waiakea helped. None of ‘Iolani’s starters played more than 15 minutes, which is less than half a game.


  1. 88 February 16, 2017 11:33 am

    Under dog or not, the entire State knows that the road to the State Basketball Championship always runs through Iolani. Good luck tonight. Kahuku is going to have to play a perfect game if they want to beat these guys.

  2. Loca1boi February 16, 2017 12:22 pm

    What makes Kahuku even more dangerous is THEY PLAY LIKE THE UNDERDOGS. Been doing it all season. Kahuku needs to play THEIR GAME to make it to the finals and win states.

  3. Education First February 16, 2017 12:45 pm

    Kahuku by 12. Villa is too good.

  4. L February 17, 2017 10:16 am

    One D1 prospect player against three D1 prospect players.
    9th game in 13 days (plus tons of homework to do after each game) against 4th game in 13 days.
    Iolani did great!

  5. 88 February 17, 2017 11:15 am

    If the one D1 prospect beat the team of zero D1 prospects and won the ILH they wouldn’t have had to play 9 games in 13 days. Anymore excuses?

  6. L February 17, 2017 11:48 am

    I didn’t make any excuse.
    After playing 9 games and still performing a game like last night against Kahuku was really great to watch.
    If they won ILH, no extra games for them but I’m not talking about IF story.
    I just praise Iolani players’ hard work.

  7. Education First February 17, 2017 12:09 pm

    @L, who is the D1 prospect may I ask?

    I am assuming the 3 D1 prospects are Villa, Fotu, and Avea. Please correct me if I am wrong.

  8. 88 February 17, 2017 12:10 pm

    “One D1 prospect player against three D1 prospect players.” This is not an excuse?
    “9th game in 13 days (plus tons of homework to do after each game) against 4th game in 13 days.” This is not another excuse? You sound like the two announcers last night.

  9. Education First February 17, 2017 12:12 pm

    Sorry @ L, I thought you was talking about tonight’s game. I like your comment about tons of homework. A strong argument can be made that Iolani has the most rigorous academic program in the state. That is a huge variable to factor in. I can imagine what time many of the Iolani kids finish their homework on a daily basis.

  10. 88 February 17, 2017 12:22 pm

    Tons huh? That is a lot of homework. I think they need to manage their time better.

  11. The Watcher February 17, 2017 8:54 pm

    88, the kids get their work done. If they didn’t manage their time better, the work wouldn’t be done. The fact that these young men can handle the heavy curriculum and still participate in an extra curricular activity shows how outstanding they are. I am just curious. Given that the workload is a lot and they still have time to play basketball, what makes you think they do not manage their time well.

    For example, if Student A has 1 page of math (10 problems) in Pre-Alg or Trig during their senior year at a low performing academic school and Student B has 1 page of math (25 problems) in Calc 2 during their senior year at a high performing academic school, do you really think both of those course work will take the same time? Or should Student B manage their time better?

  12. Redlentless Fan February 17, 2017 10:19 pm

    WOW. Okay. First of all Iolani drew the worse card out of the 3-way tie for ILH regular season. That added on additional games for them. By the time they faced Kahuku they played twice the amount of games that Kahuku did. Good thing for us. If they could take us to OT playing on fumes WTH would’ve happened if they were fresh. 88 come on now, I love Kahuku but you can’t compare the curriculum at Kahuku with Iolani. Not even close. Iolani has a successful basketball PROGRAM. We have a successful TEAM this year. Stoked for the boys. And gonna love every minute of being state champs! But let’s see if they can keep it up. Losing 12 seniors. I hope they can. Would suck if we gotta wait another 40 years!

  13. The Watcher February 17, 2017 11:05 pm

    @ Redlentless Fan, I applaud you. It’s so unfortunate that many of your community members can’t display the same tact and humility. But then again, these people who act the way they do on these blogs might now even be from the Kahuku or Laie area.

  14. 88 February 17, 2017 11:47 pm

    The kids from Kahuku just made history tonight. For now you can take your comments and shove them up your @$$! We celebrating BIATCHEZ…..

  15. Redlentless Fan February 18, 2017 12:07 am

    88 totally applaud the kids and coaches. And they gotta enjoy every minute of it. Big win for the community! The Watcher 100% Kahuku all the way, BUT I also know what’s what. Gotta be real. And you’re right. A lot of my friends and family members do not share the same views as I do. But ah. That’s the way it goes.

  16. The Watcher February 18, 2017 7:35 am

    @ Redlentless Fan, you are truly a great representative of Kahuku unlike many other posters. I mean look at the junk some of these “so called” adults write. It’s so unfortunate that the great kids of Kahuku and Laie have role models like this. I applaud the kids for acting the way they do with so many juvenile adults acting the way they do.

    I mean shove it up your ass? Who comes on a blog site, behind a fake name, and talks tough? He’s probably a 5’3 single man living in his mom’s basement and angry at the world.


  17. Lowe's February 18, 2017 1:24 pm

    Yes, considering that a lot of the players on Punahou’s teams are poly and/or come from the North Shore. We know its the only way we can compete. Don’t insult the people and the area.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.