Pupule ballot: Dragons, Vikings, Warriors rise

Honokaa's wild, bumpy road through preseason has smoothed out with a 4-1 record in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Nov. 29, 2017)

Unlike the girls basketball ballot I posted, the boys didn’t have any major or middling upsets, so there aren’t any really seismic moves here.

The state of teams battling for playoff byes and positioning, though, is a fascinating and wild ecosystem into itself. Who knows what will come next?

Below, my ballot and extended list of top 35 teams. And please feel free to disagree — and post your top 35.


Results and win-loss records as of Saturday, Jan. 13.

Pupule BKB Top 10 ballot 1/14/18
1. Punahou Buffanblu (20-1, 4-0 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 1.
Last week’s games
W 66-59 #2 Kamehameha 01/09 ILH
W 73-63 Saint Louis 01/11 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 10-1.
Top 10 wins: Kalaheo, Reed, Buchanan (Calif.),@ Moanalua, Kahuku, @ St. Francis, Tesoro (Calif.), St. Francis, @ Maryknoll, Kamehameha.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Lincoln (Calif.).

Skinny: There’s no way a team this talented, skilled, hard-working and unified can lose, right? The margins of Punahou’s ILH victories thus far: five (Maryknoll), seven (Mid-Pacific), seven (Kamehameha), 10 (Saint Louis). The Buffanblu are savvy enough to know how to win a slow-ball type of game. I just wonder if they’re getting a wee bit too comfortable with grindhouse games. Oh, they still run like the wind often enough. But one loss in ILH play by any team, including a borderline great one line this, would be forgivable.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

2. Kamehameha Warriors (16-4, 3-1 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 2.
Last week’s games
L 66-59 @ #1 Punahou 01/09 ILH
W 64-54 Mid-Pacific 01/11 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 9-5.
Top 10 wins: Campbell, St. Francis, ‘Iolani, Kahuku, @ Moanalua, Kalaheo, Kalaheo, Blair (Calif.), ‘Iolani.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Taft (Calif.), Kapolei, Colony (Calif.), Punahou.

Skinny: Since this poll (and my ballot), Kamehameha lost at Maryknoll. Any game between the top three of the ILH can go either way, so it’s no shocker. Surprising, but not shocking. The nature of the ILH gauntlet is that teams evolve or die off. Most evolve.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Hakuho, the grand champ of all grand champs in today’s sumo, lost two in a row this week. It happens. At least until cyborgs take over sports.

3. St. Francis Saints (20-3, 4-0 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 3.
Last week’s games
W 69-54 Damien 01/10 ILH D-II
W 87-54 @ Hawaii Baptist 01/12 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 5-3.
Top 10 wins: @ Kailua, Kalaheo, Campbell, Sequoia (Calif.), Maryknoll.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, Punahou, Punahou.

Skinny: There’s an argument out there that a team that chooses to play in Division II doesn’t deserve any votes in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. That nonconference games don’t matter. OK. What about when a D-II team beats five D-I teams that are ranked in the Top 10? Can that be ignored? Most voters will fall out of love with the Cinderella teams of preseason. It’s a natural regression for ranked D-II programs. Strength of schedule matters to voters. D-I teams with a much tougher schedule during the regular season always pick up more clout in the polling process. We don’t know if the Saints will hold on to the No. 3 spot even if they run the table and defend their D-II title. On this ballot, right now, they’re precisely where they belong.

4. Maryknoll Spartans (18-4, 3-1 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 4.
Last week’s games
W 45-28 Mid-Pacific 01/09 ILH
W 66-48 @ #8 ‘Iolani 01/13 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 7-5.
Top 10 wins: Kapolei, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Kalaheo, Kapolei, Lahainaluna, Corona Del Mar (Calif.), @ ‘Iolani.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Paraclete (Calif.), Greensboro Day (N.C.), St. Francis, Tesoro (Calif.), Punahou.

Skinny: Having the backcourt healthy, especially with talented veteran guards Jordyn Perez and Isiah Gelacio, makes a huge difference for the Spartans. Since the poll (and this ballot) was completed, Maryknoll knocked off Kamehameha (on Monday.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

5. Kapolei Hurricanes (12-4, 7-0 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 5.
Last week’s games
W 85-31 @ Waipahu 01/10 OIA West
W 86-12 Waialua 01/12 OIA West
Vs. Top 10: 2-4.
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, @ Kailua, Jefferson (Ore.), Maryknoll.

Skinny: This is another team that has withstood some preseason injury issues and is at full throttle now. It’s difficult to gauge how much better the ‘Canes’ halfcourt game is improving through these blowout wins in the OIA West. Nothing they can do about the schedule, but I reasoned a few weeks back that it probably wouldn’t hurt the OIA to separate D-I from D-II long before the regular season, or simply go a single round-robin for all D-I teams, West and East, for a 13-game regular season. The disparity of title-contending teams — the East being significantly stronger than the West — can be evened out. The same goes in girls basketball, soccer, softball and volleyball.

Sumo rank: Ozeki. This is a Yokozuna team in talent. Like Kahuku, however, injuries played a big factor in some nonconference losses.

6. Kahuku Red Raiders (19-3, 7-0 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 6.
Last week’s games
W 76-32 @ Castle 01/10 OIA East
W 72-38 Kaimuki 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 4-3.
Top 10 wins: @ Campbell, Campbell, Kalaheo, Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, ‘Iolani, Punahou.

Skinny: 4-3 against Top 10 teams is solid. Losing to No. 1 Punahou on a last-second shot, again, solid. By the end of this season, would it be shocking if Kahuku and Kapolei were in the final four? The answer here is no. Final two? Again, no.

Sumo rank: Ozeki. The early losses to Kamehameha and ‘Iolani came with C Tolu Smith sidelined (ankle). If there’s any question, it’s whether the Red Raiders can continue to improve as a team. They’ve come a long way since week one, that’s for sure.

7. Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (14-3, 7-0 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 7.
Last week’s games
W 58-42 @ Hilo 01/09 BIIF
W 63-40 @ Parker 01/11 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 2-3.
Top 10 wins: Kailua, South Anchorage (Alaska).
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Trinity Christian (Texas), Sequoia.

Skinny: That’s an impressive road win over a surging Hilo squad. No Waiakea on the menu for another two-plus weeks. If I posted a Fab 50 Players list (like I did a decade ago), KSH F Nalu Kahapea would be a Top 5 producer. If we go on production, defense, efficiency and all-around play, he’s right there, a 6-foot-5 banger who can sink 3s and patrol the rim area. Great footwork. He’s got some Kyle Kuzma in his game.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

8. ‘Iolani Raiders (11-8, 1-3 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 8.
Last week’s games
W 62-49 @ Saint Louis 01/09 ILH
L 66-48 #4 Maryknoll 01/13 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 3-7.
Top 10 wins: @ Kailua, Kahuku, Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, Montverde (Fla.), Rainier Beach (Wash.), Taft (Calif.), Palo Alto (Calif.), Mid-Pacific*, Kamehameha, Maryknoll.

Skinny: The return of Justin Genovia (collarbone) has been interrupted by postseason all-star football activity, but the Raiders know who they are with and without him. The win over Saint Louis, a bigger, taller team, makes it concrete. ‘Iolani is somewhere in the middle of the ILH, and having Genovia back means they’ve got someone who is as close to a go-to scorer as they’ve got. This week’s game with Mid-Pacific, which beat the Raiders two weeks ago, may carry a lot of weight emotionally.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

9. Lahainaluna Lunas (12-6, 7-0 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 9.
Last week’s games
W 59-26 @ Kamehameha-Maui 01/13 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 1-5.
Top 10 wins: Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kalaheo, Moanalua, Montverde (Fla.), Maryknoll, Palo Alto (Calif.), ‘Iolani.

Skinny: The Lunas are 1-5 against Top 10 teams. That includes: a nine-point loss to Maryknoll, a 70-64 win over Saint Louis 70-64 and and a 52-50 loss ‘Iolani the week before the MIL season began. Lahainaluna made a sizable leap forward from week one to week three. They have a 6-6, 6-4, 6-4 front court, but how has it translated against top competition? Reasonably well over time. How they develop coming into the state tourney will be a great spectacle for this pupule.

Sumo rank: Ozeki.

10. Campbell Sabers (14-5, 7-0 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 10.
Last week’s games
W 81-21 @ Waialua 01/10 OIA West
W 79-38 Nanakuli 01/12 OIA West
Vs. Top 10: 1-4.
Top 10 wins: Kailua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kahuku, Kamehameha, @ Saint Louis*, St. Francis, Kahuku.

Skinny: The Sabers pass the eye test with a tall lineup and plenty of shooters. Now comes the meat of the OIA West menu.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

11. Kalani Falcons (8-4, 5-2 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 11.
Last week’s games
L 48-45 McKinley 01/10 OIA East
W 65-51 @ Moanalua 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 3-3.
Top 10 wins: Kailua, Kalaheo, Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kapolei, @ Campbell, Kahuku.

Skinny: On the whole, it’s been a superb season for the D-II Falcons, but they haven’t been consistently winning close games. McKinley is a dangerous squad that gives almost everyone a hard time. The win at Moanalua is pivotal for both teams. It’s enough for me to bump the Falcons from the mid-teens to No. 11.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

12. Honokaa Dragons (7-9, 4-1 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
PPD Hawaii Prep 01/13 BIIF
W 56-43 Kohala 01/15 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-4.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top*): Hilo*, @ Hawaii Baptist*, Kalaheo, Moanalua, Farrington*, Kailua, Maryknoll, Waiakea*, @ Waiakea*.

Skinny: After a whirlwind tour on Oahu, playing five games in five days, then losing to Maryknoll and Waiakea during tourney play in Hilo, the Dragons are soaring. They’ve won five in a row, six of the last seven, and that includes double-digit margin wins over Hilo and Hawaii Prep. The one blip on the radar was a 49-48 loss at Waiakea nearly three weeks ago. It’s a long stretch from being unranked to No. 12, but there are a busload of teams that have hit the wall to some extent in the past week.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

13. Hilo Vikings (13-11, 4-3 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 30.
Last week’s games
L 58-42 #9 Kamehameha-Hawaii 01/09 BIIF
L 54-52 Hawaii Prep 01/11 BIIF
W 41-40 @ Keaau 01/13 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-5.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kealakehe*, Kaiser*, Kailua, Maryknoll, Trinity Christian (Texas), Waiakea*, @ Punahou, South Anchorage (Alaska), @ Honokaa*, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Hawaii Prep*.

Skinny: Wins over Mid-Pacific (off island), at Konawaena and at Keaau register on this ledger. I can live with the loss to Hawaii Prep, a big team with plenty of potential.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

14. Leilehua Mules (7-10, 4-2 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 18.
Last week’s games
L 52-50 @ Pearl City 01/10 OIA West
W 77-38 Waipahu 01/12 OIA West
Vs. Top 10: 1-8.
Top 10 wins: Hayward (Calif.).
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Saint Louis*, Lahainaluna, Punahou, ‘Iolani, Kamehameha, Fairfax (Calif.), Moanalua, Kamehameha, @ Kapolei.

Skinny: If it’s Mike D’Antoni‘s offense, Tashaun Wright runs pick-and-rolls with 6-6 Elijah Robinson or pick-and-pops with 6-5 Liam Fitzgerald all game long. But in the OIA West, D’Antoni would see zones and more zones. Having two gunners is OK. Three would be better, and right now, the Mules are built best for man-to-man battles than zone-busting. Fitzgerald is, by far, their best combination of good free-throw shooting (best on the team) with enough size to draw contact in the paint. Still, it’s hard to argue with 4-2 so far in the West, even with the loss at Pearl City. If Fitzgerald can take contact consistently, take 12-14 free throws per game, the Mules become a very difficult matchup in the West, the East, state tourney. If he’s taking just two or four FT attempts per night, that means they’ve got other guys — 40-percent foul shooters — taking most of those charity shots.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

15. Kailua Surfriders (16-6, 5-2 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 13.
Last week’s games
W 69-54 @ Kaimuki 01/10 OIA West
L 63-53 Farrington 01/12 OIA West
Vs. Top 10: 2-4.
Top 10 wins: Kapolei, Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): ‘Iolani, St. Francis, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Campbell, Kalani*, Farrington.

Skinny: The roller-coaster ride continues for the Surfriders. Farrington is no easy task for any team, but the Surfriders’ two league losses have come on their home court. That’s surprising.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

16. Mid-Pacific Owls (8-9, 2-3 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 12.
Last week’s games
L 45-28 @ #4 Maryknoll 01/09 ILH
L 64-54 @ #2 Kamehameha 01/11 ILH
W 65-61 Saint Louis 01/13 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 2-5.
Top 10 wins: @ Moanalua, ‘Iolani.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Roosevelt*, Roosevelt*, Leilehua*. St. Francis, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Hilo*, Punahou, @ Maryknoll, @ Kamehameha.

Skinny: The Owls are playing their best basketball now. G Colin Ramos is finding his niche: 26 points against Kamehameha, 30 against Saint Louis. This is not the same team that lost to Roosevelt twice in six days during early December, but if anything, the Rough Riders should’ve been in the teens of this ballot if not for some bumps on the road.

17. Waiakea Warriors (13-11, 5-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 27.
Last week’s games
W 62-24 @ Laupahoehoe 01/09 BIIF
W 58-31 Pahoa 01/12 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-6.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kohala*, Mid-Pacific*, Hilo*, Kailua, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Punahou, Kailua, Kamehameha-Hawaii, @ Keaau.

Skinny: They’ve been down and they’ve been up. Early losses to Kohala, Mid-Pacific, Hilo. Close losses to KS-Hawaii (twice by six and two points), a 60-58 loss to Kailua. Then another close loss to KS-Hawaii (52-50). I’m willing to almost forget some of those early season losses, which I do with most teams. The Warriors are really close to breaking through.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

18. Konawaena Wildcats (8-2, 4-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 31.
Last week’s games
W 56-37 @ Pahoa 01/09 BIIF
W 45-39 @ Kohala 01/13 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-1.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha-Hawaii, Hilo*, @ Kealakehe*.

Skinny: I mistakenly had Konawaena listed with a loss to Kealakehe last week, so I’ve re-adjusted this week. That’s two whole losses, one to a Top 10 team (KS-Hawaii) and the other to a solid Hilo squad. The margins of victory for the Wildcats, a relatively young team, have been smallish, so they might be overachieving at this point.


Sumo rank: Maegashira.

19. Kaiser Cougars (13-6, 3-3 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 17.
Last week’s games
W 61-52 @ Farrington 01/10 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 0-2.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Baptist*, Mid-Pacific*, St. Francis, Moanalua, @ Kalani*, @ Roosevelt*.

Skinny: That’s three wins in a row (Castle, Kaimuki, @ Farrington) by the young and improving Cougars. This week, it’s Kailua and a road trip to Kahuku. The East continues to be interesting basketball.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

20. Aiea Na Alii (7-5, 6-0 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 33.
Last week’s games
W 64-48 @ Nanakuli 01/10 OIA West
Vs. Top 10: 0-2.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Kailua, Moanalua, @ Damien*, University*, Kaiser*.

Skinny: The former (D-II) JV champions of the league get their fill in the next 11 days with Campbell, @ Kapolei, Leilehua and @ Mililani. Cinderella might be wearing green this winter.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

21. Roosevelt Rough Riders (10-6, 4-3 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 15.
Last week’s games
L 62-37 Kalaheo 01/10 OIA East
W 59-57 @ McKinley 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 0-4.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Prep*, ‘Iolani, Saint Louis*, @ Kailua, @ Kahuku, Kalaheo.

Skinny: The Rough Riders are contenders for the OIA and state D-II titles, so anything they do in the East simply spoils the ride for teams like McKInley, Kaiser, Farrington. Next up: Moanalua and Kalani.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

22. McKinley Tigers (8-11, 2-4 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 20.
Last week’s games
W 48-45 @ Kalani 01/10 OIA East
L 59-57 Roosevelt 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 1-8.
Top 10 wins: Moanalua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): St. Francis, Maryknoll, Hawaii Baptist*, @ Maryknoll, @ Baldwin*, St. Francis, Campbell, @ Kailua, @ Kahuku, @ Kalaheo, Roosevelt*.

Skinny: The Tigers are confounding in this sense — good enough to beat Moanalua and Kalani, but not consistent enough to beat Roosevelt, Kailua, Kalaheo. Every loss has been by five points or less. On top of that, their best player, Kyle Moraga, doesn’t play on Friday nights (or Saturdays until sundown), and they’ve still played some of their best basketball without the talented senior. At 2-4, they’re tied with Moanalua at the bottom of the OIA East D-I standings. In other words, with six of the seven teams qualifying for the playoffs, someone in the East is desperately trying to avoid last place, and that’s why I don’t care much for the current format. The seventh-place team in the East will be better than probably more than half of the West. I can tolerate a slight imbalance, but this is stupefying to watch play out. One round robin (14 D-I teams, 13 games) would eliminate much of the issue.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

23. Moanalua Na Menehune (10-10, 2-4 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 16.
Last week’s games
L 65-51 Kalani 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 3-6.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, Hayward (Calif.), Kalaheo.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Mid-Pacific*, Kamehameha, Punahou, Rainier Beach (Wash.), Lahainaluna, Kapolei, @ Kailua, @ Kahuku, McKinley*.

Skinny: It’s been a bit of heartbreak city for Na Menehune of late with an overtime loss at Kailua, a four-point loss at Kahuku, a win over Kalaheo, then losses to McKinley and Kalani. The 65-51 home loss to Kalani was especially astounding because the Falcons normally play at a slower tempo, while Moanalua embraces a faster pace. At 2-4, they’ve got to rev up those motors to qualify for the playoffs.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

24. Kalaheo Mustangs (13-11, 3-3 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 18.
Last week’s games
W 62-37 @ Roosevelt 01/10 OIA East
W 74-26 Castle 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 1-8.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, St. Francis, @ Kamehameha, Bishop O’Dowd (Calif.), Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Pearl City*, @ Kahuku, @ Moanalua, Kalani*.

Skinny: If it seems like the OIA East is a gauntlet — somewhat like the ILH — it’s true. Playing good enough just doesn’t bear good fruit in the East, but at 3-3, the Mustangs are ahead of Moanalua and McKinley in the standings. It’s very possible that all seven D-I East teams will end up being Top 25 teams statewide (which is the case right now on this ballot), and yet one of them is not going to qualify for the playoffs. I’m not ranting. I’m posting facts.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

25. Farrington Governors (6-7, 2-3 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 15.
Last week’s games
L 61-52 Kaiser 01/10 OIA East
W 63-53 @ Kailua 01/12 OIA East
Vs. Top 10: 1-3.
Top 10 wins: Kailua.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, Kamehameha, @ Kapolei, Kalani*, Roosevelt*.

Skinny: A mostly young team, overcoming adversity after three players were suspended. Instead of crumbling, they go to Kailua and win. Because you never know.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

26. Damien Monarchs (7-6, 2-1 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 20.
Last week’s games
L 69-54 @ #3 St. Francis 01/10 ILH D-II
W 58-40 Hanalani 01/13 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 0-5.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Campbell, @ Kahuku, @ Kaiser*, Maryknoll, Kamehameha-Hawaii, @ St. Francis.

Skinny: They’re not quite what the St. Francis Saints are, but with three promising freshmen, the Monarchs could join the Saints among the elite teams someday soon. More likely next year than this one, but you never know.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

27. Hawaii Baptist Eagles (16-7, 2-2 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 25.
Last week’s games
W 63-62 University 01/09 ILH D-II
L 87-54 #3 St. Francis 01/12 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 1-4.
Top 10 wins: South Anchorage (Alaska).
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kalani*, @ Baldwin*, @ Punahou, Leigh (Calif.), Sequoia (Calif.), Damien, St. Francis.

Skinny: A conservative coach would be content to play a string of 41-37 games with this group. George Weeks? Not so much. He gives his players quite a bit of leash, and they respond. It leaves the Eagles vulnerable against physically and skillfully superior teams, but it also gives them a slugger’s chance. And against teams of equal or slightly lesser size and athleticism, there’s a lot more fun (and shots) to be had in this system.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

28. Kamehameha II Warriors (8-6, 2-0 ILH D-IAA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 35.
Last week’s games
W 57-50 Saint Louis II 01/10 ILH D-IAA
Vs. Top 10: 0-2
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha-Maui*, King Kekaulike*, St. Francis, Leigh (Calif.), South Anchorage (Alaska), Damien*.

Skinny: This is not the usual band of seniors that Kamehameha II has filled its rosters with in the past. It’s a team of mostly underclassmen with a few seniors, which leads me to wonder if that group — several who didn’t make the cut this season — would’ve been unbeaten with this schedule, or close to it. Aside from Leigh (Calif.), I’d guess this team would’ve been 12-2 or 13-1 with last year’s returnees. The function of any subservient team is to develop talent for the varsity, or D-I team, on any campus. But it sure was a surprise this season, though it also makes sense in the long term.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

29. University Junior Rainbows (9-6, 2-2 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 31.
Last week’s games
L 63-62 @ Hawaii Baptist 01/09 ILH D-II
W 59-30 Le Jardin 01/13 ILH D-II (Klum Gym)
Vs. Top 10: 0-3.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ McKinley*, Kapolei, Kahuku, Waiakea*, St. Francis, @ Hawaii Baptist*.

Skinny: The schedule has been competitive, to say the least. Not laden with Top 10 teams, but many Top 10-25 level opponents along the way. Clearly, the battle for the ILH’s second state berth is going to be a showdown between the Jr. ‘Bows and HBA unless someone else steps up.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

30. Hawaii Prep Ka Makani (4-3, 3-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 54-52ot @ Hilo 01/11 BIIF
PPD (floor) @ Honokaa 01/13 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-0.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kaiser, @ Keaau.

Skinny: That’s two very notable wins now for the big, developing team at HPA — Roosevelt and Hilo.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

31. Keaau Cougars (8-5, 5-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 26.
Last week’s games
L 41-40 Hilo 01/13 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-0.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Roosevelt*, Waiakea*, @ Maui*, Konawaena*, Hilo*.

Skinny: The loss to Hilo ends a five-game win streak. It was a prime opportunity for the Cougars, who have a litany of close defeats.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

32. Kauai Red Raiders (5-3, 3-0 KIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 34.
Last week’s games
W 48-46 @ Kapaa 01/13 KIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-0.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha-Maui*, University*, Konawaena*.

Skinny: The unbeaten run in KIF hoops is notable, but so are the early losses. The 18-point loss to University is tough to ignore.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

33. Saint Louis Crusaders (7-16, 0-5 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 21.
Last week’s games
L 62-49 #8 ‘Iolani 01/09 ILH
L 73-63 @ #1 Punahou 01/11 ILH
L 65-61 @ Mid-Pacific 01/13 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 1-11.
Top 10 wins: Campbell.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Farrington*, Kalaheo, @ Moanalua, Kahuku, St. Francis, Desert Pines (Nev.), Palo Alto (Calif.), Lahainaluna, Kamehameha, Maryknoll, ‘Iolani, @ Punahou, @ Mid-Pacific*.

Skinny: A year ago, the Crusaders had one win in regular-season play, entered the league playoffs and upset Maryknoll. Then they lost in the playoff semifinals and were done. This year’s Crusaders are cornering the market on close losses, and there might not be another team in the state with as many losses with margins six points or less.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

34. Maui Sabers (11-7, 4-2 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 28.
Last week’s games
W 50-42 @ King Kekaulike 01/13 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 1-5.
Top 10 wins: Kalaheo.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): ‘Iolani, Campbell, Kahuku, Kahuku, @ Lahainaluna, Saint Louis*, Baldwin*.

Skinny: This is a team that has resilience and persistence. Those qualities go a long way as the season reaches a peak. The Sabers may be one of the smaller teams in the MIL, but after all the tests they’ve faced, they’re going to be a tough matchup for everyone in the MIL.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

35. Baldwin Bears (6-8, 2-4 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 24.
Last week’s games
L 42-39 King Kekaulike 01/10 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 0-3.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kalaheo, Seabury Hall*, Maui*, Seabury Hall*, Lahainaluna, Lahainaluna, King Kekaulike*.

Skinny: What do KS-Maui, Punahou II and Seabury Hall have in common? All have losses to… Baldwin. Seabury Hall may have the strongest case to be ranked ahead of Baldwin, having beaten the Bears twice in three non-league matchups. But the squad from the hills of Olinda have also lost to Saint Louis (by 18), KS-Maui, Baldwin, Punahou II, Roosevelt and Kalaheo. Baldwin has wins over HBA, McKinley, Maui, KS-Maui.


Sumo rank: Maegashira.

On the cusp
Kamehameha-Maui Warriors (7-6, 2-4 MIL)
Punahou II Buffanblu (5-7, 2-0 ILH D-II)
Seabury Hall Spartans (13-7, 4-0 MIL D-II)
Kohala Cowboys (5-8, 3-2 BIIF)
Christian Academy Patriots (6-1, 4-0 ILH D-III)
Assets Admirals (6-2, 4-1 ILH D-III)

COMMENTS

  1. The Rim January 18, 2018 10:28 am

    Hilo lost to Waiakea by 9 on Tuesday and is ranked dead last in BIIF DI with four losses. They play Kealakehe today and a loss to Kealakehe would most likely end their playoff hopes.


  2. Paul Honda January 19, 2018 2:46 am

    And the Vikings lose to Kealakehe. I liked watching them. Scrappy. Some promising talent among their underclassmen.


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