Kahuku captures 1st boys hoops state title

The Kahuku Red Raiders celebrated their 70-55 win over Punahou. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser
The Kahuku Red Raiders celebrated their 70-55 win over Punahou. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

The fourth time is the charm for Kahuku boys basketball.

After three previous trips to the state championship game in Division I and its predecessor, top-seeded Kahuku finally broke through on Saturday with a 70-55 win over second-seeded Punahou.

In a basketball symphony of roles and explosions, the Red Raiders got perhaps their most balanced and consistent performance in a year of near perfection. Jessiya Villa led all scorers with 23 points and added seven rebounds and three assists. He hit seven of his eight free throws in the final 1:36 to put the game on ice. Samuta Avea was a force in every phase with 20 points, including 6-for-6 shooting at the foul line, 11 rebounds and four blocks. Dan Fotu had 14 points and eight boards with three assists, attacking from the block all night. The title is the first for Brandyn Akana, who completed his second season as head coach.

More on Kahuku’s title-game victory and the road from preseason to the throne later on Hawaii Prep World.


  1. 88 February 18, 2017 9:18 pm

    @watcher your comparing a 23 yr old College point guard to a 17 yr old High Schooler. Your a special kind of STOOPID.

  2. The Watcher February 18, 2017 9:54 pm

    88, I guarantee in 4-5 years from now Villa will not be doing what Keene is, hence the comparison. It’s called having the ability to look towards the future and foreshadow.

    You can’t even make the connection and you are calling me stupid? Well you are FUCKING stupid. HAHA. LOSER.

  3. thnk1st February 18, 2017 10:04 pm

    Gotta agree 100% with @The Watcher. watched keene play as a high school freshman, and you could see that special talent in every phase of the game. Villa has good skills, but
    @watcher is correct. although villa is talented,he will not be at keene’s level 4-5 yrs from now. Keene has NBA special. as good as Villa played this season, I saw a talented kid but at times, he plays out of control. Keene as a freshman had court maturity and you can still see that in college game

  4. ASmith February 18, 2017 10:24 pm

    Aloha gang just wanna put my $0.02 in!!! Just absolutely love Hawaii basketball!!! First off I just wanna say that we have some very good basketball players in these islands. The problem is that they don’t get their chance to perform on the biggest of stages in college. No University here is willing to take a chance on some of these kids. Samuta is special, and will be at UH, Villa will be a very good college player as well as Fotu and Kobayashi!!! (Young ones coming up are good as well… Makaula, Chong etc….. I just wanna say congrats to the north shore, well deserved. I also wanna make a point that, I really truly feel that it should be the kids decision to play for the coach and school of their choice and not have to sit a year due to transferring. Recruiting no not at all. Public schools don’t have luxury to get kids in early and groom them for years. Do I apose to that no, and in a state tournament you play the best and beat the best. But at the end of the day all I want is these Island ballers to have a fair shake on getting to the next level!!

  5. The Watcher February 18, 2017 11:09 pm

    Watch out @thnk1st. Don’t say anything or else 88 will insult you. I tried to be nice but it’s embarrassing that this guy lives through high school kids and on this blog. I wonder if his mom still charges him rent to live in her basement.

  6. Loca1boi February 18, 2017 11:20 pm

    People who didn’t go to watch Kahuku play regularly don’t realize how ridiculous their team was this year. Countless times, I saw alley-oops off backboards/inbounds/on fast breaks, blocks sent into bleachers, Villa caught so many defenders sleeping he would bounce it off their butt for an ASSist to himself for an inbound layup, Fotu/Avea putback dunks, Cody/Ah Hoy smothering opponents, and the list goes on. People don’t realize most games, the starters had 2-3 quarters of play at most. Villa showed the entire state that there was a higher gear to hs basketball. For someone who pushed his team’s tempo at 5th gear all season long, he was not nearly as “out of control” as some are saying.

    @88, I agree. That was kind of a pointless comparison.

  7. Islandstyl February 18, 2017 11:20 pm

    @the watcher. I’m done debating with people that are so out of tuned. Villa scored the most at the Classic so that makes him best of all time?! Hahahahaha. Laughable.

  8. Joeseph Smith February 18, 2017 11:30 pm

    St. Francis is the best Hawaii high school basketball team this year.

    Kameron Ng is way better than Villa. He won the head to head matchup.

  9. thnk1st February 18, 2017 11:53 pm

    hahaha no problem @watcher! thanks for the heads up but I’m a old boy so seen a lot. eh brah, villa and many of the players are all very talented, but i guess many did not have a chance to watch keene when he was here. You just knew watching keene back then that he would be playing D1 ball somewhere. as good as derek low was, keene was different. hard to describe unless you saw him in action. guess many on here has thin skin and gets all bent out of shape when confronted with the truth.

  10. Breathe&Stop February 19, 2017 12:08 am

    @Islandstyl Nobody referred to him as the “greatest ever”. The link was in response because you initially called him overrated and laughed at the notion that he led ppg scorers over guys like PJ Washington at the Classic. So, you were simply shown proof. Interesting how such an “overrated player” can lead his team to a 3rd place finish at the Classic (and lead the tourney in ppg)…oh yeah, then go on to lead his team to the OIA & State ships.

    @Joseph Smith… I know your sole purpose is to just be a clown and stir bs, but if your crazy rationale was correct (thank goodness it’s not), then by that case shouldn’t the pg for Kamehameha or Lahainaluna be considered the best since they beat SF in pre-season?

  11. 88 February 19, 2017 1:01 am

    Wow, dropping F bombs huh. Dont get your panties in a bunch fren. Didn’t know you were going to throw a tantrum. But c’mon your comparison of a High school kid and an adult playing the same sport is, well STOOPID! But it’s not your fault. It probably just runs in your family.

  12. 88 February 19, 2017 1:09 am

    Thnk1st what University did Derek low attend? And where is Keene at again?

  13. The Watcher February 19, 2017 7:01 am

    I have watched Kahuku play about 14-15 times. Do I think they are really good? Yes! Do I think Villa is amazing? Yes! My reference to Keene is that some on here are saying that no team has played the style (high flying) that Kahuku does now. And while most teams do not, my reference to Moanalua and Keene was that they did. In the OIA Championship game vs. Mililani, I believe Moanalua beat Mililani 93 – 73. In that game Monroe had 2-3 dunks of alley-ops. Keene often was the one throwing it.

    And the reference to Keene’s scoring just shows if he is at this level now, he must have been pretty darn good in High School. Look at all the Texas scoring records he set while in San Antonio. Let me guess, fools like 88 are going to tell us that Hawaii is better than Texas in HS Basketball?

    I am sorry that you two guys are not intelligent enough to make the connection. I over-estimated your intelligence and I apologize for that.

    Derek Low attended Washington State University. In Derek’s senior year, WSU made it to the Sweet 16 before losing to North Carolina who I believe might have won the National Title that year. In addition, Derek was picked for Team USA who played in the Pan-Am Games. This is the same Team USA that Michael Jordan played for while in college.

    Keene is at Central Michigan, which you easily could have googled so I am going to assume that you asking is some childish, and weak attempt to discredit his scoring. But, while you are blogging in mommy’s basement, that kid is throwing up ridiculous numbers. He is doing it so well that ESPN, Sports Illustrated, and Bleacher Report (among others) have written feature articles about the kid. In addition, Stephen A. Smith from ESPN’s First Take has continued to send out tweets to his thousands of followers talking about how great Keene is doing.

    Jay Bilas of ESPN, one of the most respected college basketball analysts has called Keene a “diamond in the rough” saying he has a legitimate chance to be drafted and make it in the NBA.

    But please discredit Keene that he is playing in a Mid Major Conference and his team isn’t a top ranked team.

    We all know that you (88) know more basketball (and football) than everyone else (well at least in your mind).

    Please continue to write. It amuses many of us. I love how an adult living in his mom’s basement can entertain us like a trained monkey with such gibberish.

  14. The Watcher February 19, 2017 7:03 am

    “But c’mon your comparison of a High school kid and an adult playing the same sport is, well STOOPID!”

    You cannot make the simple connection and you are calling me stoopid? I would rather be stoopid (yes we know you cannot spell), then FUCKING stupid!

    Go and wash your mom’s panties now. Isn’t that the payment for free rent living in her basement? You are the BIGGEST WANNABE in Hawaii for sports. HAHAHA!

  15. thnk1st February 19, 2017 8:19 am

    @watcher! forget that 88 clown! obvious he was not fortunate to have watched keene when he was here!! i read a story about keene who couldnt wait to return to play bball on the mainland!

  16. The Watcher February 19, 2017 9:45 am

    @ thnk1st, I know right? He thinks he knows it al. He is one of those wannabe tough guys behind a computer. He probably never played sports. So sad. I watched Keene a couple times on their school’s website. The shots he is making are amazing!

  17. thnk1st February 19, 2017 11:15 am

    @watcher, agree! the local bball level has gotten way way better since my heyday a long long time ago, but still far from the level of play on the mainland. mainland plays fast and above the rim. don’t get me wrong, we have lots of talented young kids but its a different level. You wasn’t comparing keene as he is NOW vs villa, all you said was that in 4-5 yrs villa will not be at keene’s current level. @88 needs to get out there and ball, then go down to Paki park or UH and ball with some of those mainland dudes. go find those players who are in our military and you will know the difference.

  18. 50 shades of red February 19, 2017 11:50 am

    A gifted championship made possible by manufactured talent. Genuine state champs can’t compare to Konawaena girls team who people can’t forget just 3-peated with the same local players and even St. Francis small Catholic school now converted to Co-Ed last couple years become state champs this year with the players they got. Kahuku athletics always seems to be under dark cloud of doubt. Facts and history still there. Forfeited undefeated football season due to ineligible player in 2010, 4 head FB coaching changes Livai-Torres-Leslie-Tata-??, 2016 nepotism and internal conflict with your fired basketball HC, then replace him to bring in the former UH guy who was in trouble dealing iPads to an international player so he could do the same get 3 out of state rent-a-player(s) for a one and done championship. No it’s not fair to say ILH does it too because it’s not to that extreme. Imagine how much harder for parents to deal with their kids have stayed with a team since their freshman year and still not see any playing time until they finally graduate. I don’t blame Punahou coach for doing it the right way. Cultivate and maximize the players you already got to the best of their talent no matter win or lose. Nobody likes to see cheaters in sports. In the end, the championship is nice, but it’s the lessons kids take with them later in life what matters most.

    Be kind and peaceful everyone. Congrats to all state champions this year.

  19. thnk1st February 19, 2017 2:40 pm

    @50 shades, sounds like your a private school supporter. pissed cuz your donation to pun not turning into championships. don’t call the public schools cheaters man. look at punahou, they can’t even admit what they are doing(recruiting for sports) they hide behind that BS that they are giving underprivileged families a chance at a quality education. BS BS BS, I’m sure you already know that all these kids that punahou brings in don’ have to take the same college prep classes as the regular students. They have created a program called “Bridge Program” kind of like what St. Louis used to do back in the day, when they had college prep and also a general education diploma. so be careful who you call cheaters. ILH can’t handle when the poor public schools beat them at their own game.

  20. anywaaaays!! February 19, 2017 4:37 pm

    @50 Shades, no one cheated more and set the recruiting tone for Hawaii high school athletics then your boy Cal Lee, all those 14 prep bowl titles in the 90’s was all due to recruiting and finding loop holes for academically challenged but athletically gifted polynesians. When Cal left St. Louis the program went to garbage because the coaches after him (had morals) and didnt stoop so low to cherry pick elite athletes out of the communities. St. Louis alumni fired all those coaches and brought Cal back in 2015, whats the first thing Cal did? He amped up the recruiting and even went outer island to get some of his starters on that 2015 ILH champion team. They Recruit Glen Mederios as their yes man and now June Jones for Athletics, what next? Recruit Obama for PR and Mufi Hanneman for Samoan club?

  21. anywaaaays!! February 19, 2017 4:41 pm

    Dont forget, some ILH alumni working at Oc16 cut the broadcast off in the 4th quarter of Kahukus Historic Title game on Friday because they cant stand to see Kahuku celebrate a victory over them. That is the epitome of a poor loser and hater to the Big Red Nation.

  22. Hui February 19, 2017 5:47 pm

    That is too funny. Don’t forget! OIA alumni also working at OC16.

  23. The Watcher February 19, 2017 6:03 pm

    You jabronis are a JOKE. Get a reality check. Saying Kahuku is the best HS boys bball team in Hawaii history is like saying UH is a NCAA D1 program. When I played in college back in the day, my team had a 20 game win streak and I averaged 14 pts and 3 assists a game so I know what I’m talking about JACK. Islandstyl is the only other guy on this board who knows the game. In another thread he stated he was the team manager and equipment manager for Punahou girls V bball team when the Kuehu sisters ruled the hard court so that’s no surprise.

  24. The Watcher February 19, 2017 8:31 pm

    Someone is pretending to be me. I am not writing the stuff about Islandstyl….

  25. Sim_Sima February 20, 2017 12:45 am

    Who is the best team ever is always a no-win debate. Guys always gonna stick up for the teams in their era. No need. But what is apparent is that this team has to be considered one of the best to ever lace it up in this state. I’m rolling my eyes at the comments saying “they not even top 15/20” lol. Be real. These kids were the real deal. Look at the totality of their work from the Iolani tournament to the state tournament. This ain’t just my assessment. Kevin Wong expressed he felt they were one of the best teams to play in the state, Honda saw his share of Kahuku games he should know – even to the point where he questioned whether this was the “Hungriest number 1 team ever”. These boys was bad.
    BTW, every one of Kahuku’s players, except Fotu, that played in the championship game was born here. People acting like Kahuku coach went out and actively brought random kids to Kahuku to play ball. If that’s the case, what people make of Jankovic at Kalaheo, Kim at McKinley, or all the military kids at Kapolei, Leilehua, Mililani, etc.? ILH teams definitely aren’t innocent when it comes to this either. Kahuku only got the majority of flack this year cuz they was winning.

  26. Islandstyl February 20, 2017 9:00 am

    Watcher-Never said I was a towel boy for a girls basketball team. You better check yourself before spouting off things you don’t know anything about.

  27. Islandstyl February 20, 2017 9:03 am

    Also UH is a D1 program, genius.

  28. The Watcher February 20, 2017 2:52 pm

    @ Islandstyl – Hi islandstyl, please go and reread from the beginning of this thread. Someone is pretending to use my screen name and directing ridiculous comments at you.

    I am not the one who is writing ridiculous comments. Thank you.

  29. Uncle Joe February 20, 2017 7:44 pm

    Any ethical difference in standard recruiting and the following?
    1. Bringing in a kid one week before the season starts and seeing them leave right after the season ends.
    2. Recruiting as much good players as possible and then if they are not as good as thought, encouraging them to leave.

  30. phILHarmonic February 21, 2017 9:29 am

    @ Uncle Joe- Ok, it was entertaining just reading the comments, but now I am intrigued. Who came right before the season and left as soon as it was done? That sounds shady.

  31. Education First February 21, 2017 10:13 am

    @ phILHarmonic, rumors on the street is anyone of the following (Avea, Fotu, Villa) could be moving from Hawaii to finish their basketball season from where they were last year. If I am not mistaken, the high school basketball season on the mainland is still going on for a while and I believe if you transfer out of state you don’t need to sit out to play.

    I am not saying this is true, but some people have been speculating.

  32. phILHarmonic February 21, 2017 11:08 am

    @ ED1st

    Thank your for the information.
    Awesome. They can go and be “homegrown” on another team.

  33. The Watcher February 22, 2017 7:15 am

    One guy using the screen names “Education” and “Phil” acting like 2 different users to post bogus info then congratulates himself on posting. The same guy who was outed as a fraud in numerous other threads. LOL.

  34. phILHarmonic February 22, 2017 9:47 am

    @ The Watcher or @The Lurker?

    Nope. Two different people. I don’t have as much Swag as ED 1st.
    I am my own person.

  35. JetWavy February 23, 2017 7:08 pm

    Both scrubs thats what they are – whether it’s one or two people. Kahuku got more O’ahu born players on their team than Kapolei, Mililani, Leilehua, Moanalua, and Kalaheo.

  36. Education First February 24, 2017 1:31 pm

    Thanks for the “swag” shoutout sir. All my roommates say I’m pretty “fly” for a fat guy!!

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