The crescendo is at fever pitch in Hawaii boys basketball.
With the playoffs about to tip off, 18 teams received votes in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 this week, the most all season. The panel of coaches and media had no issues with Kamehameha as a unanimous No. 1 today’s rankings, but the turbulence of the late regular season has seven teams in new spots. That includes Kaiser, which returned to the Top 10 at No. 9 following a stunning 41-40 win over Kahuku.
With Maryknoll locked in at No. 2, the No. 3 spot was vacated by Kahuku. Kalaheo, which finished first in the OIA East, is now in the No. 3 spot, followed by Punahou and Kahuku.
Leilehua leaped two notches to No. 8 after edging Mililani, 50-49, to finish the OIA West season unbeaten (10-0). Damien fell two spots to No. 7 and Saint Louis, which is on a four-game losing streak, fell from No. 7 to No. 10.
Waiakea, which lost 44-41 at Kohala, dropped out of the poll.
With Maryknoll playing crisp, close-to-the-vest basketball, most of its games are relatively low-scoring and close. Kalaheo, which lost to Kahuku (in overtime) during the regular season, is another powerhouse with vulnerability. The difference between the lower half of the Top 10 — Leilehua, Damien, Moanalua, Kaiser and Saint Louis — and the eight teams that “also received votes” (Waiakea (nine), Kohala (four), Mid-Pacific (four), Mililani (four), Seabury Hall (two), Kailua (one), Hawaii Prep (one) and Roosevelt (one)) is scant.
The OIA, ILH and BIIF begin elimination playoff games on Tuesday. There is some cushion for teams in the ILH and MIL that have not qualified for the state tournament, but the OIA’s losing teams on day one of the playoffs will turn in their uniforms.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Aug. 9|