Two Division I league championships in the last four seasons.
Four D-I league titles in the last seven years.
In all, Kalaheo has captured 16 Oahu Interscholastic Association championships in boys basketball in the D-I level and the pre-classification era. No other school has won more OIA championships in the sport.
As of Tuesday night, the league’s administrative policy in shuffling D-I and D-II teams based on air-tight grouping numbers in the East and West, and power rating (wins and losses) — now on an annual basis — means that Kalaheo will move down to D-II next season. The shuffle was made at the OIA basketball coordinator and coaches meeting. It is not quite official yet, but the rest of the process is mere formality.
There will be one more coaches meeting, according to the OIA, with an unspecified date. If no East D-I team is willing to move down to D-II, Kalaheo will be officially in D-II.
“Right now, Kalaheo is slotted to go down since they finished in eighth place during the regular season. They can request to move up,” OIA coordinator John Chung said.
Kalaheo finished fifth in the OIA playoffs and qualified for the D-I state tournament. Chung and OIA executive director Raymond Fujino also confirmed that even if Kalaheo had won the D-I state tourney, the demotion to OIA D-II would still be made due to administrative policy.
Unless there is a sudden move and a D-I team agrees to move down to D-II, this is what next season’s changes will be.
Moving up to OIA East D-I:
Moving down to OIA East D-II:
Moving up to OIA West D-I:
Moving down to OIA East D-II:
Farrington was senior-heavy and will lose most of its talent to graduation. Kaiser is a young team stoked by underclassmen. Kalaheo and McKinley are also young teams.
Power rating has been part of OIA administrative policy for decades. It is not recommended by the National Federation of High Schools, however. The OIA, with an extremely wide spectrum of talent across the board in all sports, has relied on power rating in large part because some of the schools with the largest enrollments lack feeder programs in sports like volleyball, soccer, baseball and softball. The league prefers a single, universal approach to all sports.
“Kalaheo is going down? The OIA has to re-think their processes,” said former Kalaheo boys and girls coach Chico Furtado.
Now the Maryknoll girls basketball coach, Furtado guided the Kalaheo boys to the OIA title in 2004. Prior to that, he led the girls program to OIA crowns from ’98 to ’02.
“Kalaheo has good returnees coming back. Farrington should never have been D-II this year. Outdated formats continue to be used. The athletic directors have to get out of their ‘business as usual’ mind-set,” he said.
Another unwieldy aspect is how geographical imbalances have become prominent. In the East, basketball teams have fared with much more success than the West in boys and girls competition during the playoffs, as well as the state tournament. However, the West has been dominant in baseball, softball and soccer. Softball, in particular, has been an OIA West domain, as powerful as the private-school ILH.
In other words, Kalaheo’s demotion in boys basketball from OIA East D-I to D-II makes far less sense than the demotion of a team in the OIA West. Kalaheo’s four wins over Top 10 teams is more than most of the West’s top teams: Leilehua (three), Campbell (one), Mililani (none).
Only Kapolei, the first-place team in the West, had more Top 10 wins than Kalaheo: six.
Under Coach Rob Pardini, the Mustangs won the OIA D-I championship in 2016 and ’18. This year, with a very young roster — just one senior — Kalaheo was 17-17 overall and 5-6 in regular-season play. The Mustangs then posted playoff wins over Leilehua, Kalani and Mililani, on the road, to qualify for the D-I state tournament.
Kalaheo was ranked in the Top 10 for six weeks this season. They were 16-1 against unranked teams. This year’s team beat four Top 10 teams: Lahainaluna, St. Francis, Kalani and Mililani. The Mustangs also lost two close games to state and ILH finalist Punahou, 81-79 (neutral court) and 77-71 (Punahou Invitational).
With most of the entire team returning next season, the tall, talented Mustangs would contend for the OIA D-I and state D-I crowns. They have 6-foot-5 Ryan Owens and 6-4 Robert Thompson in the post with 3-point range, and 6-1 guards Kanoa Smith and Luke Pardini — all will be returning starters. Coach Pardini will also have a pair of 6-3 posts, Iokepa Kalepa and Anthony Caswell, in the mix.
The system, as is, demotes them to D-II whether it is an accurate representation of D-II in the OIA or not. At this point, the OIA is locked into a format that groups seven teams in OIA East D-I and seven in OIA West D-II. There are six teams in D-II combined.
Farrington, with one of the largest enrollments in the state, won the OIA D-II title two weeks ago. Along the way, they played an integrated schedule in OIA East play and beat four Top 10 teams.
The Governors also reached the D-II state final, drawing a large audience to Stan Sheriff Center on championship night. Damien, which defeated Farrington 73-50, plans to declare D-I status for next season.
OIA schools have played in the final of the D-II state tourney 11 out of the 13 years since the new classification was established in boys basketball for the 2006-07 season. OIA D-II teams have won the state title six times.
Unofficial grouping for 2019-20 season, OIA boys basketball:
OIA East D-I
OIA East D-II
OIA West D-I
OIA West D-II