The annual OIA-ILH Challenge is upon us. Games tip off today at Moanalua gym 4 p.m. and, as always, the schedule is pre-set.
But really, the question is, will the OIA really make it a challenge? Let’s look at last year’s scores.
Dec. 11, 2013
Farrington 64, Kamehameha 56
Saint Louis 64, Kalani 61
Punahou 70, Kahuku 55
Maryknoll 64, Moanalua 50
Dec. 12, 2013
Maryknoll 75, Kalani 40
Punahou 64, Moanalua 52
Kamehameha 59, Kahuku 44
Farrington 64, Saint Louis 58
Dec. 13, 2013
Saint Louis 56, Kahuku 53
Punahou 49, Kalani 46
Farrington 90, Maryknoll 83, OT
Kamehameha 56, Moanalua 47
Total: ILH 9, OIA 3.
All three wins were by Farrington, and that OT thriller with Maryknoll was my favorite game of the year, even though it was in preseason. A lot of fun, a lot of talent, a lot of momentum swings. Easily could’ve gone Maryknoll’s way if not for Kaleb Gilmore’s fifth foul (on a controversial technical).
But this is 2014. Let’s see how this year’s field stacks up.
>> Farrington (4-0) has been demolishing opponents in preseason, scoring more than 70 points per game most nights. Clearly, the best of the OIA reps. Tua Unutoa has been a stabilizing rock for a team that lost several standout players to graduation.
>> Leilehua had a nice run in tourney play last week (2-1) at the James Alegre Invitational.
>> Kalani (1-2) could be the real sleeper of the OIA, especially when they get their full lineup on the court. Guard Alex Tungpalan has been accurate from deep, but defenses are catching up.
>> Moanalua (1-2) is fast, but what I saw last week is a young team that needs some time to develop.
Missing: Kalaheo may be the favorite in the OIA, but they’re on the Valley Isle playing in the Baldwin tourney. No Kahuku this time around. McKinley and Roosevelt, two more really fast OIA teams, are not in the tourney. Neither is Campbell, which is playing well in preseason with the addition of 6-5 transfer David Marrero.
>> ‘Iolani (3-0). Defending state champions. Back this season are 6-foot-8 Hugh Hogland, who is leaner and tougher and still only a sophomore. Also, 6-4 Kamu Borden, a UH football recruit and seasoned point guard Erik Yamada.
>> Punahou (2-1). The perennial state powerhouse program has a load of returnees, including some football players who are finally back from a long season and mostly healed up from injuries. Guard Jordan Tanuvasa is healthy and primed for a stellar senior season.
>> Kamehameha (2-1) lost a key scorer who transferred, but Coach Greg Tacon’s team has still been very competitive, no surprise. The Warriors won at Kahuku 48-46 and lost at Mililani 43-40 in the past week.
>> Mid-Pacific. First-year varsity coach Ryan Hirata bleeds ‘Iolani red in his veins, but his impact at MPI has been strong.
Here’s the tourney schedule. Note: Saturday’s games will begin slightly earlier.
• OIA-ILH Challenge
Thursday, Dec. 11
4 p.m. Moanalua vs. Mid-Pacific
5:30 p.m. Kalani vs. Punahou
7 p.m. Leilehua vs. Kamehameha
8:30 p.m. Farrington vs. ‘Iolani
Friday, Dec. 12
4 p.m. Kamehameha vs. Kalani
5:30 p.m. ‘Iolani vs. Leilehua
7 p.m. Mid-Pacific vs. Farrington
8:30 p.m. Punahou vs. Moanalua
Saturday, Dec. 13
2:30 p.m. Leilehua vs. Mid-Pacific
4 p.m. Farrington vs. Punahou
5:30 p.m. Kalani vs. ‘Iolani
7 p.m. Moanalua vs. Kamehameha