No league champs left in state hoops chase

Bryce Tatupu-Leopoldo and Farrington are not alone on the list of league champs wondering what went wrong on Thursday. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser
Bryce Tatupu-Leopoldo and Farrington are not alone on the list of league champs wondering what went wrong on Thursday. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

Not one league champion in the bunch.

The dust has settled in the Division I boys basketball state championships, and we’re left with OIA second-place Kahuku (14-2), ILH second-place ‘Iolani (10-4), OIA third-place Kalaheo (15-1), and OIA fifth-place Campbell (13-2).

Gone are the top-four seeds — ILH champion Punahou, OIA first-place Farrington, MIL titlist Lahainaluna, and BIIF winner Konawaena.

Three of the remaining teams come in with some serious bigs — 6-foot-8 Hugh Hogland of the Raiders, 6-7 David Marrero of the Sabers, and 6-7 Denhym Brooke and 6-6 Hyrum Harris of the Red Raiders.

The Mustangs’ tallest player — 6-foot-5 Kupaa Harrison — is listed as a guard and is somewhat more of an inside-outside threat than the others.

Hogland made a statement with a flying dunk in ‘Iolani’s victory over Lahainaluna at McKinley on Thursday night.

Marrero also asserted himself in the middle for Campbell in its quarterfinal win over Farrington on Thursday. He had 12 rebounds, including two big ones on the defensive end when the game was on the line.

In postame interviews, Hogland and Marrero were bright-eyed and revved up for what Friday holds. Both, you could tell from their countenance, were overjoyed that their teams made it to the semifinals.

The Red Raiders’ Brooke and Harris and the Mustangs’ Harrison have been huge two-way forces for their teams all season and could play vital roles in a run to a title.

And onward they go.

Bigs are one thing and they can change the course of a game, but the smalls usually matter more in Hawaii.

Many coaches preach ball control. That is the one thing they’ll tell you is a must to win a state title.

So, who’s got the goods at the guard position? Kalaheo mobilizes its offense with the overall play (passing, shooting, stealing) of Kaleb Gilmore.

‘Iolani has the agile and cerebral Erik Yamada at the controls.

Point guard Tamamoko Green, one of three transfers from New Zealand, and shooting guard Keanu Akina set the pace for the Red Raiders.

Campbell point guard Jomar Gapusan, who stands all of 5 feet 2, is smooth as silk as long as he listens to his coaches and doesn’t start trying the run and gun, something head coach Wyatt Tau says his team wants to avoid at all costs.

The Sabers also have Jayce Bantolina, who stands a foot taller than Gapusan. A pass catcher in football, he was a quarterback in basketball on Thursday with eight assists.

So, there you have a look at some of what the teams have to offer Friday — and, more importantly, Saturday.

There is more. Aside from all of the other performers on all four teams, there won’t be any talk of a championship without
the courage, heart and desire to take what is yours — if it’s there for the taking, of course.

After Wednesday’s first-round win over Maui, Gilmore talked about getting the state-title job done in this his senior year.

Marrero, who, if he stands in the right spot, will block out a skyscraper in the background, is dreaming that same dream.

On Thursday, Hogland, a sophomore, spoke of the Stan Sheriff Center’s fantastic atmosphere and the excitement of playing there. A title would certainly be a nice thing, since he appears destined to become a more dominant player over the next two years.

Marrero and his teammates are listening to the mantra of their coaches.

“Our ride ain’t done yet, fellas,” one of the assistants told the Sabers in a postgame huddle.

The ride will keep going for one of the four teams all the way to net-cutting time Saturday.

Who wants it?


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