(12:20 p.m. Adds ‘Iolani Classic boys brackets.)
The ‘Iolani Classic is back with the No. 1-ranked team in the nation.
‘Iolani made the official announcement on Thursday morning after months of preparation. The boys Classic is set for Dec. 18-22 with NBCSN and Peacock set to air the semifinal and final rounds. All other boys tournament games will be aired on theSUVtv.com.
Sierra Canyon is one of five teams from the mainland in the 14-team field. Among their key contributors is a familiar name, Bronny James, son of Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James. Other visiting teams are St. Paul VI (Chantilly, Va.), Pembroke Pines Charter (Fla.), West Linn (Ore.) and Central Catholic (Ore.).
Hawaii entries are Baldwin, Punahou, Maryknoll, Damien, Kailua, Kalaheo, Leilehua, Waialua and host ‘Iolani. The Raiders feature two players, sophomore Aaron Claytor and freshman JJ Mandaquit, who already have Division I scholarship offers. Claytor has an offer from North Carolina A&T, and Mandaquit has an offer from Portland.
— SLAM HS Hoops (@SLAM_HS) November 13, 2021
The schedule was released on Thursday afternoon. Punahou will face Sierra Canyon in the opening round.
Saturday, Dec. 18
11 a.m. Kalaheo vs. Central Catholic
12:30 p.m. Kailua vs. Pembrose Pines
2 p.m. Damien vs. West Linn
3:30 p.m. Maryknoll vs. St. Paul VI
5 p.m. ‘Iolani vs. Waialua
6:30 p.m. Punahou vs. Sierra Canyon
Monday, Dec. 20
9:30 a.m. Kalaheo-Central Catholic loser vs. Maryknoll-St. Paul VI loser
11 a.m. Kailua-Pembroke Pines loser vs. Damien-West Linn loser
12:30 p.m. ‘Iolani-Waialua loser vs. Punahou-Sierra Canyon loser
3 p.m. Leilehua vs. Maryknoll-St. Paul VI winner
4:30 p.m. Kalaheo-Central Catholic winner vs. Kailua-Pembroke Pines winner
6 p.m. ‘Iolani-Waialua winner vs. Punahou-Sierra Canyon winner
7:30 p.m. Baldwin vs. Damien-West Linn winner
The first day of the tourney is on a Saturday. Sunday will be a rest day, and the tourney will resume Monday and conclude on Wednesday (Dec. 22).
“We are excited for basketball and athletics in general to be back in the islands. I’m really happy for the kids, who have all been patient and working hard in the offseason,” ‘Iolani boys basketball coach Ryan Hirata said. “To have the opportunity to step on the court and compete after a tough year of cancellations is definitely something we all should be grateful for.”
The girls Classic will be played Dec. 9-11 with an eight-team field. The field features Centennial (Las Vegas), the No. 7-ranked team in the country, and California powerhouses Archbishop Mitty and Salesian College Prep. Local teams in the tourney are ‘Iolani, Hawaii Baptist, Kamehameha, Lahainaluna and Maryknoll.
‘Iolani, a two-time Hawaii defending champion, was the favorite to win a third title in a row before the 2020-21 season was cancelled. Returning all-state selection Jovi Lefotu signed with the University of Hawaii last week.
The girls tournament will be streamed live. The link will be available on iolani.org.
All games will be played at Father Bray Athletic Center.
“Tony Dorado of Nike did a great job putting together another outstanding mainland field,” Hirata said. “Sierra Canyon is consistently one of the best teams in the country and on the West Coast, along with West Linn and Central Catholic, and teams from the East Coast in St. Paul VI and Pembroke Pines. On the girls side, Archbishop Mitty, Salesian and Centennial are all reputable programs that play a great brand of basketball.”
The TV deal is a first for the Classic, which was founded in 1983 by former Raiders coach and athletic director Glenn Young.
“I believe this is the first time Classic games will be televised on national TV,” Hirata said. “Hat’s off to the tournament committee led by Adam Wong on making it happen, along with all the generous tournament sponsors who are the backbone of the event. It’s great exposure for the state of Hawaii and the ‘Iolani Classic. The late Glenn Young would be proud.”
The Classic was sidelined in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions. This year’s event has its share of restrictions. Attendance will be limited to families and friends of players, two per athlete. All spectators are required to have proof of vaccination, plus proper ID. Spectators will be allowed to their team’s game only.
For players and coaches, there is only one way to experience the Classic.
“Enjoy the moment,” Hirata said, “and soak it all in.”