House of Tumble: St. Louis new No. 1 (part 2)

Ryan Pardini and Kalaheo will be a tough out for any team in the OIA tournament. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser
Ryan Pardini and Kalaheo will be a tough out for any team in the OIA tournament. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser

See Part 1 here

Kalaheo made some headway this week, bumping up a notch to No. 8. After all these weeks of winning games and upsetting a good number of coaches and fans by running up 100-plus points on Anuenue (they did use reserves heavily that night), the Mustangs actually moved up after a 54-52 loss at Kailua.

That OIA East is almost as compelling to watch as the ILH. Kalaheo has the skill players, and with Kekai Smith back — he was TEARING IT UP in preseason before injuring a meniscus — they’re a matchup nightmare for many elite teams. But their version of four guards and a forward (that would be a very heady post scorer, Alex Layi), they don’t have the bulk to stop massive teams like Kailua, Saint Louis, Kamehameha, etc.

On the flip side, bigger teams tend to be less effective at closing out on 3-point shooters. If Kalaheo finds its long-range mojo in the postseason, it could lead to some unexpected chaos at states.

Mid-Pacific sustained the biggest hit, falling four spots to No. 9 after losing twice in league play. I don’t know which is more impressive, that voters recognized the Owls and placed them that high (No. 5) to begin with, or that they are still in the poll. The league is a series of evolutionary tics through the weeks. The teams that evolve most effectively survive and win. The league has adjusted to the Owls. Now it’s on them to take the next step.

If MPI finishes the season out of the running for a state berth (only two are alloted to the ILH) and stays in the Top 10, that’s reason to celebrate. It would be at most programs that have grown this fast. I doubt Coach Hirata and the Owls would be content with that scenario, though.


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