Kohala caps state title season by landing in final Top 10 poll

Kohala celebrated as soon as the final buzzer sounded on a 51-48 win over Roosevelt to claim the Division II state crown in 2020. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

The throne was occupied by Kamehameha for six weeks.

In the end, however, defending state champion Maryknoll reigns supreme again. Maryknoll collected all 10 first-place votes and closed the 2019-20 season at No. 1 in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 after sweeping through the state tournament, notching a 46-33 win over Kamehameha in the final.

Maryknoll finished the season 31-4.

Kamehameha (26-5) garnered every second-place vote to finish No. 2.

The only newcomer to the final poll is Kohala (17-3), which finished second in the BIIF, then made a title run in the Division II state championships.

“I got no problem with that. All I care about is that we are the Division II state champions,” Kohala coach Kihei Kapeliela said. “In the preseason we beat Division I teams Aiea, Kapolei, Baldwin and Farrington and regular season we swept the BIIF’s D-I teams … so to us we put in the work and know what we are worth. So being No. 10 on paper is all good.”

Kahuku (19-7) rose two notches to No. 3 after posting wins over Kaiser, Baldwin and Damien. The Red Raiders lost to Kamehameha in the semifinals.

Damien (19-16) is the only state-tournament team in the Top 10 that remained status quo. The Monarchs defeated Lahainaluna and Moanalua, then lost to Maryknoll and Kahuku.

Moanalua (20-10) traded places with Kahuku, dropping from No. 3 to No. 5. Na Menehune won the OIA regular season, but drew Damien in the quarterfinal round and lost at home 64-57. They recorded wins over Kamehameha-Hawaii and Baldwin, both by 12-point margins, in consolation play at Stan Sheriff Center.

Kalaheo (21-11) remained at No. 6 despite an opening-round loss at states. The Mustangs lost at Maryknoll in overtime, 49-41.

Leilehua (19-8) proved to be bulletproof through most of the season in the eyes of coaches and media. The Mules routed Waiakea to open the state tourney, then lost to Kamehameha and Baldwin by wide margins.

In the Top 10, Moanalua (5-10), Kahuku (5-6), Leilehua (4-7) and Kohala (1-2) had the fewest number of wins over ranked opponents.

Mid-Pacific (17-15) closes the season at No. 8. The Owls’ roller-coaster season included a stint at No. 6 for three weeks in late December and early January. They dropped out for three more weeks, then returned on Feb. 10. After knocking ‘Iolani and Punahou from title and state-tourney contention. MPI moved up to No. 7 last week before settling at the 8-spot today.

Punahou (19-11) finishes at No. 9 after being as high as No. 4 in late January, prior to losing to Mid-Pacific in the ILH playoffs. The Buffanblu were at No. 7 last week.

That gave the ILH five of the top nine spots in the final rankings with ‘Iolani and Saint Louis the only two teams not to finish ranked.

MIL champion Baldwin (14-9) nearly caught Kohala, but missed the Top 10 by two points. The Bears lost to Kahuku in the quarterfinal round, then defeated Leilehua (73-54) and lost to OIA champion Moanalua (64-52). Baldwin was 1-5 against ranked foes and 13-4 against unranked opponents. One of the losses was to Kohala, 55-50, at Baldwin’s gym on Dec. 13.

The Bears had 17 votes. The other teams to receive votes were Roosevelt (seven), Kamehameha-Hawaii (three) and Hawaii Prep, Kaiser and Saint Louis with one each.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10

Updated: Aug. 16
1.Kahuku (15)150
4.Saint Louis107
8. Kamehameha41


  1. Fullcourt February 24, 2020 2:16 pm

    Awesome job kohala

  2. fred c February 25, 2020 9:04 am

    Kohala,,,thee “original” COWBOYS before anyone heard of Dallas. Congratulations!!!!!

  3. warrior 4 life February 25, 2020 10:05 am

    Kohala congratulations, you guys had a great season, a good run in the State tournament, but seriously you’re saying that they’re better than Kaiser, Iolani, Mililani, Kapolei, Kalani, etc….all D1 teams. Stop trying to compare D2 teams with D1, because back in the day there was no D2 division, you were either the best in the State or nothing. Quite frankly if my kids were to ever win a D2 championship I don’t think I’d admire that as much as I would as a D1 Championship.

    I’m not trying to damper what Kohala did accomplish this season, I think it’s great that they have a division championship for the smaller schools, hats off to Kohala.

  4. Fullcourt February 25, 2020 4:40 pm

    Kohala beat Baldwin , Aiea and I think Kapolei in pre season . They also beat the D1 teams in the BIIF . Yes they probably wouldn’t stand a chance vs kam Oahu, kahuku , maryknoll , Punahou and some of the other Oahu powerhouses but that’s why D1 and D2 was created for some of the smaller schools to have a chance .

  5. Not even! February 27, 2020 6:45 am

    No, those smaller divisions were created because we live in the times of “everyone is a winner” and “participating should be celebrated!”

    Stop lying to yourself.

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