After two rounds of the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships, we have learned a thing or two.
We have learned that there is an unstoppable force in the D-II tourney. Kaye Serapio is tearing it up. The Waimea guard has scored like a Curry, but does much more than just shoot.
vs. Waipahu: 23 points — 8-for-13 FG, 7-16 FT, 14 rebounds (including four offensive). Also two assists, two steals, one block. She played all 32 minutes in a 59-48 opening-round win.
vs. Hawaii Prep; 21 points — 10-for-17 FG including a 3, 16 rebounds (seven offensive), four assists and EIGHT STEALS. Unlike the opening round, Serapio was clearly slacking off, playing only 30 minutes out of a possible 32. (I’m kidding.) WOWOWOW. Best of all for the Menehunes, they beat Ka Makani 53-14 to advance to the Division II state semifinal round.
If Waimea can run the table, it would be the school’s first state title. Heck, this is already Waimea’s first appearance in the semifinal round. In fact, private schools have dominated D-II in the past seven years, winning five times: Kamehameha-Hawaii (three), Hawaii Baptist and Mid-Pacific. Only Honokaa, in ’14 and ’15, broke up the spell.
Waimea’s opponent in tonight’s 7:30 p.m. semifinal at Damien’s gym is top seed HBA, which won its only state crown in ’16. In the other semi, which tips off at 5:30 p.m., second-seeded Seabury Hall meets ILH runner-up Hanalani.
Seabury Hall ousted ILH 3 University on Thursday 62-53, making this the Spartans’ first visit to the semifinals since ’05. It’s a similar story for Hanalani, which is in the final four for the first time since ’13. Neither team has won a state title, let alone made an appearance in the final.
An ILH team has played in the D-II state final every year since ’15. Two ILH teams in the D-II state final? It has never happened.
One is one
‘Iolani made simple work of MIL runner-up Maui on Thursday night in a 67-32 quarterfinal win. The season-long No. 1 team in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 is now in the semifinal round for the first time since 2013, when the Raiders finished fourth.
In ’12, the Raiders reached the final and lost to Konawaena 56-45. During a seven-year span from ’07 to ’13, ‘Iolani reached the final twice and made it to the Final Four six times. Much of that is overlooked because Konawaena, Punahou, Lahainaluna and Kamehameha took state titles in that stretch.
The last time ‘Iolani took home the biggest koa trophy was in ’96 when the late Bernie Ching led the Raiders to back-to-back championships, both times beating Kamehameha in the final.
This season, ILH runner-up Kamehameha is peaking during the big dance. The chances of a Raiders-Warriors state final are rising. If these two teams reach the final, it would be the fourth meeting of this season. Kamehameha won the first matchup in ILH play, 49-45. ‘Iolani won the next two, 58-45 and 60-48.
Big difference between 5 and 6
In the OIA boys basketball playoffs, they are down to the final four. But it’s the workings of the consolation bracket where teams will be in desperation mode on Monday and Wednesday.
It’s all because of St. Francis. The former D-II program moved up to D-I in the ILH this season, and that changed the math. With seven teams in D-I, the ILH’s ratio increased and that meant a third state-tournament berth for the league.
But for the OIA, that meant one less state berth, from six to five. That means of the four remaining teams in the OIA D-I consolation bracket, only one will earn that fifth and final berth. Two wins are necessary at this point, not just one. Pressure? Now the OIA can feel what the ILH goes through every year.
The OIA consolation matchups on Monday:
>> Kalaheo at Kalani
>> Roosevelt at Mililani
The winners will meet on Wednesday at the higher seed’s court. Kalaheo (14-16), ranked for much of the preseason and regular season, is a tall, lanky team with just one senior. This is the same team that nearly beat Punahou. Twice.
Kalani (15-8) is a highly disciplined outfit that has already beaten Kalaheo during the regular season. Again, the Falcons will get to play at home, where they are 6-0 this season.
Roosevelt (15-10) has been a bit under the radar all season, an unranked team that beat Farrington twice and Kalaheo once. Leading scorer Micah Visoria went down early in preseason with an ankle injury caused by a reckless ‘Iolani player, then reinjured it late in preseason. A couple of weeks ago, a Kaiser player took a cheap shot at Visoria, and again, of course, Coach Steve Hathaway was irate. The video footage of both plays is still tough for the longtime coach and his team to watch.
The Rough Riders are relatively healthy now, and so is a rugged Mililani team that embraces defense. The Trojans limited Kapolei’s top scorer, Ja’Shon Carter, to seven points in the Hurricanes’ narrow win last week.
Fifth place has never looked so good in the OIA.
Last and not ever least
The three teams in the ILH that were eliminated from the boys basketball playoffs have all been ranked in the Top 10.
Saint Louis, Mid-Pacific and Kamehameha are in that gray area that no coach really craves. Good enough to compete and win at the state-tourney level. But they are in the same league with behemoths Maryknoll, Punahou, ‘Iolani and, the team in its one and only season of ILH D-I hoops, St. Francis.
The parity and extreme competitive level of the ILH is and always has been real in the classroom and on the playing venues. There is no question it would make an alluring content network in itself whether on TV, streaming media or both. The ILH Network. The drama this season in boys basketball was immense from top to bottom. And now, it boils down to Maryknoll, which has already earned an automatic state-tournament berth, and the other playoff semifinalists.
>> Punahou. The regular-season runner-up can clinch a state berth with a win over ‘Iolani, unless St. Francis upsets Maryknoll in the other semi.
>> ‘Iolani. The Raiders need a win over Punahou and a Maryknoll win over St. Francis to guarantee a second-place finish in the playoffs, which would then convert into one of the three ILH state berths.
>> St. Francis. The Saints need two wins for the ILH playoff tourney title to claim a state berth outright. If they get past Maryknoll and reach the playoff final, that opens a door for at least a tiebreaker game for one of the state berths.
Drama. All on court, too.