The latest Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 poll is out, and though nothing has changed immensely, there’s enough about this season’s composition to make most fans go, “Hmm.”
Kaiser collected all 19 votes to remain perched atop the rankings. ‘Iolani, which was ranked No. 1 earlier in the season, moved up two spots to No. 2, while Saint Louis dropped a notch to No. 3 after a home loss to Kamehameha.
Some pupule thoughts:
>> ILH house of war
As expected, all six ILH Division I teams are in the Top 10. This time, five of them take up spots 2 through 6, and Maryknoll is at No. 8. It’s been some time since the ILH has clogged up the rankings like this, but with the ascension of Mid-Pacific and bounce-back win by Maryknoll over Punahou on Saturday, there’s a chance all six teams will still be in the poll when the regulars season ends.
>> Cougar stealth mode
Just about every team hits a collective fatigue point, and Kaiser appeared to do this in the second half of their loss to Punahou on Dec. 30. At the time, it seemed odd that they went cold in the second half against a team they had beaten 74-73 just 18 days earlier.
But walls are walls, even for arguably the most well conditioned team in the OIA, maybe the state. All those preseason games, all those workouts take a natural toll. Since that loss, the Cougars looked re-energized as a team, scoring between 62 to 81 points six of their seven OIA East games.
Chance Kalaugher has been resilient through the ups and downs and remains the state’s premier wing player because of his explosiveness and strength above and below rim level. But Keoua Mahiko’s production and play-creating prowess have become borderline phenomenal. Mahiko is the perfect complement when defenses collapse on Kalaugher. Mahiko’s decisions, often while operating near full speed, have been very good in transition and in the halfcourt game. His 3-point shot has been steady, making him a matchup problem — he’s 6-foot-1 — for all opposing defenses.
>> Raiding the ILH
Hugh Hogland is healthy — the two ankle tweaks in preseason are history — and near 100 percent now. The 6-foot-8 ‘Iolani center is getting help from teammates like Robby Mann, who has been sticking the mid-range jumper lately. The Raiders are now tied with Saint Louis for the lead in the ILH at 3-1.
>> Thwarting the Crusade
Saint Louis was on a roll, 3-0 in ILH play, before Kamehameha absolutely corralled center Tristan Nichols. The Warriors continually walled off the paint, using their rotation of strong post defenders. Nichols scored seven first-quarter points, then couldn’t get a shot off for the rest of the game. it was a frustrating night for eager Saint Louis fans, but as Coach Allan Silva said after the loss, the team will have to “evolve.”
“Koko Santos (the great, former Kailua and Hawaii Loa College coach) had this saying after a loss,” Silva said. “‘The sun will come up in the morning.’ ”
See Part 2 here