St. Francis closes the book on incredible season

Brothers Kameron and Kordel Ng will play in a tournament in New Zealand. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

Yes, this is a delayed reaction, but it is still sinking in.

The St. Francis Saints have closed the book on their only boys basketball season in Division I. News today that the elementary school would also close its doors this spring means there is finality. For the basketball team, 39 games went by like a blur. Injuries. Big wins. Big losses. A steady coaching staff guided the Saints through all of it, and they got better. They evolved.

The 22-17 overall record, the 6-6 regular season record in the toughest league statewide, the 12-17 mark against Top 10 teams. None of it might seem spectacular on the surface. But each game was a new opportunity, and there are very few teams that got better every week like St. Francis did. There were times when they had no choice but to send a 6-foot and under team onto the court in the ILH, where there are forests of giants on most rosters.


The 2017-18 season was a stunner when the then-Division II Saints knocked off the behemoths of the ILH. The element of surprise was completely gone in this campaign. With a leading scorer (Kameron Ng) still not fully healed from an ankle injury, with a backcourt of more injuries (Jett Tanuvasa, Kordel Ng), and an injured center (Makua Marumoto), it was basically a recipe for collapse.

Instead, the Saints stayed close. Their losses in league play were all by single-digit margins except for the Ls against No. 1 Maryknoll. After the second loss to Maryknoll, St. Francis did this:


>> W 84-81 OT @ No. 2 Punahou, Jan. 24
>> L 66-70, No. 3 ‘Iolani, Jan. 26
>> W 58-55 Kamehameha, Jan. 29
>> W 70-41 Mid-Pacific, Feb. 2
>> W 57-44 Mid-Pacific, Feb. 7, ILH playoff
>> L 52-70 @ No. 1 Maryknoll, Feb. 9, ILH playoff
>> 57-46 @ No. 3 ‘Iolani, ILH playoff


St. Francis’ loss to ‘Iolani (52-47) on Wednesday night was a gift. In previous years, there would’ve been no tiebreaker game for third place, not when only two state-tournament berths were available to the ILH. The school with nothing left to lose produced a team that rallied from 14 down, got within 2, and had a chance to take the lead in the final minute.

The legacy of St. Francis boys basketball won’t be forgotten anytime soon. Titus Liu. Nalu Kanalulu. Chase Akana. Coach Ron Durant and assistant Kekoa Ng never got to the D-I state tourney, but the journey was more than a sound byte. It was a novel. An epic novel. Long live the baby-blue team from Manoa Valley.

COMMENTS

  1. JetWavy February 15, 2019 9:46 pm

    I found this interesting from the KHON2 story tonight:

    “Kameron is undecided if he will accept one of MANY D1 college offers or attend prep school next year”

    I can’t find one official post online about any schools offering him. I would think HawaiiPrepWorld would’ve highly publicized any legit offer to any local kid getting a D1 offer to play hoops let alone multiple offers. That’s a big deal. Are the local D2s even offering? Also, why would a kid with multiple offers also need to entertain going to prep school?


  2. Anonymous February 16, 2019 12:04 am

    To Jet,

    Don’t know about any official offers but thinking about going to a prep academy is understandable. For a player his size, where he has the skills, he could benefit from learning and growing more as a player from a prep academy so that he could potentially get more playing time at the college he eventually chooses to attend. Just a thought.


  3. HI Hoop Fan February 16, 2019 12:18 pm

    With all due respect, I slightly question why the media draws so much attention to Kameron without giving many reports to other individuals or teams that deserve it just as much or more. This is nothing against Kameron or St Francis, as they had a great run and season, but for example they lost to Iolani in a game where Iolani played great, and the game article mainly focuses on St Francis’ great run in the past week and their comeback in the game. And in the next couple days, 2 more articles come out about StF, and nothing much on Maryknoll, Pun, Moanalua (1 article), Iolani, or even Lahaina/Waiakea who both have outstanding teams.

    Especially thought Iolani deserved more credit for the win when really they dont have that much more talent than SF. After the top 2 players on each team (which the media suggests heavily favors STF), Bumanglang slightly better than Tanuvasa, Liu and wheeler both great shooters, and the bigs about equal, maybe even favoring SF

    Once again, the Ngs and STF deserve this attention 100%, just my opinion other teams do too


  4. Hmmm? February 16, 2019 12:47 pm

    So much press for a school that will no longer be and a team not in states….


  5. IMUA Nation! February 16, 2019 4:40 pm

    All the coverage on SF goes to show…it’s who you know, not what you know.

    Just go on verbalcommit.com to see exactly what he was offered, it’s quite interesting.


  6. Team Kam February 16, 2019 5:12 pm

    I can understand the Ng fatigue, but I would have loved a conclusion in favor of their Cinderella story this year. They almost beat Iolani to get to states, an opportunity that only existed because of them in the first place.

    Agree with HI Hoop Fan that Iolani and St. Francis were pretty equally matched in skill and size, but St. Francis had a smaller squad. Iolani actually had some excellent reserves that never saw much playing time for some reason. I think it hurt Iolani not to go deeper in their bench.

    Despite the haters out there, Kameron Ng proved that he can play with the big boys and beat them. I wish him the best of luck.


  7. RESPECT IS EARNED! February 16, 2019 6:59 pm

    Big boys?! Ha! Hawaii ball is nothing to compare to mainland ball. Know your basketball before you make such comments.

    No offers bc you’re up against bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter mainland ballers! You have to have the whole package to compete for a D1 scholarship.


  8. Great Point JetWavy February 16, 2019 7:42 pm

    You’re right on point JetWavy. If you’re offered multiple D1 offers there’s no question you’ll take one of them. Isn’t that the goal from the beginning? To say you’re denying D1 offers to play prep is an insult and quite frankly, sorry to say, a bold face lie.


  9. JetWavy February 17, 2019 7:22 am

    @Anonymous – “Don’t know about any official offers but thinking about going to a prep academy is understandable.”

    There’s a difference between going to a prep school/juco over a few college offers that you actually have because you want bigger offers and having to go to a prep school/juco because you don’t have any offers to begin with.

    @Team Kam- “Despite the haters out there, Kameron Ng proved that he can play with the big boys and beat them. I wish him the best of luck.”

    The knock on him was never that he couldn’t play with the big boys (it was evident every pre-season he could) but that he should be playing with the big boys in D1 but didn’t until his senior year.


  10. 2cents February 17, 2019 8:54 am

    To say going to prep to grow as a player is a bunch of crock! You can get that and more on a D1 program! It doesn’t add up and we’re not buying!


  11. LOVE February 17, 2019 10:30 am

    So much negativity every time there’s a new posting. Let’s show these boys more love. Anyone who can make it to the next level in Basketball should be commended. A lot of Hawaii boys work hard and they play the game because they actually love the game. Let’s cheer them on instead of judging them. Under the comments section in the article titled Maryknoll cuts down the net once again was a great comment by Pick N Roll about Maryknoll’s #40! Let’s keep in clean like that encourage these boys who do good! I’m sure a lot of them know that they won’t make it to the NBA. But it’s nice to have dreams and goals and more importantly getting a good education while doing so. Good job Kameron! Keep working hard.


  12. GIVE US A BREAK February 17, 2019 12:47 pm

    You wanna talk clean….well, first of all, going the easy route and then lying about getting multiple offers and denying them to grow as a player at juco level just leaves a bad taste in our mouths. Now, that’s not clean by all means.

    Sure they work hard, no question, but don’t patronize us in the process. It’s just unethical and down right irritating! There’s plenty of student athletes from Hawaii that tried or are trying to fulfill the dream and don’t bs in the process.

    Like one post put it nicely….respect is earned not given.


  13. Basketball Alumni February 17, 2019 1:02 pm

    @LOVE

    People have the right to express their opinion in any way they desire. It’s called freedom of speech. You can’t expect everyone to agree with you. It seems the consensus is against.

    As for me, I believe in how you go about doing things represents the type of person you are. Historically, it doesn’t look good.


  14. LOVE February 17, 2019 1:53 pm

    Im just saying let’s cheer on all our boys. It seems like everyone is saying bad things. If you don’t have nothing good to say don’t say it. Be respectful and more importantly how do you know he doesn’t have a lot of offers there are thousands of schools out there. If you’re mad ask the parents and get the real facts. Don’t assume. Maybe the news incorrectly reported it maybe it’s true. Be humble no grumble. And yes you can express your opinion but be careful sometimes WORDS hurt.


  15. GIVE US A BREAK February 17, 2019 3:23 pm

    Being in the basketball community, you don’t have to assume, there are tools to check. As for asking the parents (or head coach), it isn’t 100% accurate as I’ve experienced firsthand. Where do you think the news gets their information from? You must be a family member if you’re so sensitive to people’s reaction. There’s always two sides to every story, whether you like it or not. Words may hurt but so does lying. It hurts those trying to make it honestly.


  16. Loca1boiAnonymous February 17, 2019 6:58 pm

    What schools are looking at him? Can anyone find a legit source for any of these offers? I find it hard to believe in this day and age with social media (where most offers are made public) that these offers were kept under the radar.


  17. Innocent Bystander February 17, 2019 7:22 pm

    Sometimes people think that if they approach a college coach or if a coach or representative of the school even asks for a kid’s name, it is an “offer”. True test if a school is really interested in you? The coaches ask OTHER coaches about the player. And they’ll make an attempt to come see you play or practice. Doesn’t mean they’ll offer a scholarship tho.


  18. FYI February 17, 2019 7:57 pm

    As a baller you would want to publicize all your offers. It shows interest and coaches look for that. If your home state isn’t offering then chances are out of state aren’t either.


  19. LOVE February 17, 2019 8:59 pm

    Nope. Wrong not a family member!!! There you go assuming again! Just a person who loves to watch basketball. Just a person who encourages youth to excel at whatever level they’d like. As far as where he goes or anyone else in the state why do you care? You’re not paying the bills for him to go to college. The news can get there information from many places. This wouldn’t be the first time they got it wrong. Whether you like it or not he’s not your son so why are you so worried if it was the truth or a lie it doesn’t hurt anyone. Ultimately he is the one who is going to the school in the end. Cry me a river! Be positive!


  20. If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen! February 18, 2019 8:07 am

    Ain’t no one crying here, LOL! You definitely sound like a parent footing the bill. Why, because no scholarship. Personally, I don’t care where he goes. It’s the way they all went about doing things that stinks. By the way, lying only really hurts the one telling it! And, it takes away from the ones who go about doing things the hard way!


  21. Chad K'Alo February 18, 2019 12:00 pm

    Hey Lady,

    You cannot force anyone to vote your way. America is run on democracy and people have the right to vote their side and debate to their opposing side. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t mean you can tell people what to write or think. It’s very immature of you to say people are crying when they are just speaking their mind. They may have a valid point just as you think you do too.

    Annoyed


  22. Use your heads.... February 18, 2019 5:13 pm

    http://www.verbalcommits.com reveals a lot…..Kam’s name not even mentioned.

    Unless Kam’s dad is going to coach him in prep school as well, there is no way in hell that he will be allowed to take 20-30 shots per game….

    Also, whoever said he proved anything against the “big boys” was very mistaken. What “big boys” are you talking about? When he scored 20 points one time, against one mainland team, that was up by a ton the whole game, and shot 6 for 24? They lost that game by a million. The most important stat for a PG is WINS……ask any college coach.

    But it’s not really their fault. These guys have been hyped up so much by the media, AAU programs, high school coaches, social media, that they feel that they have to lie to the basketball community because they have no offers. Come on, every time a kid gets an offer, he tweets it out or puts it on some type of social app. If he had an offer, the programs that have been hyping him up would’ve been going bananas…..shoot, he lost to Iolani, season was over, and they wrote the article on him. Kawika Lee played a great game……should have been on him.

    I remember talking to a family in 2017 who’s son was a pg and went to Kahuku, but went to middle school and most of his high school years on the east coast. HIs dad told me that his son played over 300 games every off season since he was in the 4th grade, from late March until the end of October, and NEVER played the same team twice. That’s what our local kids are going up against when they are battling for college athletic scholarships. That exposure is hard to compete against in Hawaii. Hyping this kid up his whole high school career while in the Division 2, then writing articles weekly about him when there were other teams out playing them, and then saying that they had a wonderful season……they were .500 team at best. Mid Pac has been doing that for years……decades….no write ups….

    Bottom line is, this whole state hyped him up, and you’re crippling him. Why do players in Hawaii feel that they belong only in the D1 level. Division 2 basketball is filled with D1 guys, who had scholarships and have transferred for playing time, realizing that their level is lower. NAIA schools are 4 years schools and have very competitive teams. D3 schools don’t give out athletic scholarships, but give out money in other forms for their athletes. Once the State of Hawaii and these kids realize what their level actually is, they will be better off. And if you haven’t realized it by now, it’s lower than what you think.


  23. JetWavy February 18, 2019 10:11 pm

    No, but like, seriously. It’s been 3 days since this article was published. Has anyone found an article, a press release, a recruiting website, anything that confirms these “multiple offers”? It’s not a biased question one way or the other, I’m really just asking for proof.


  24. So Sad February 20, 2019 11:14 am

    There won’t be any, because there are no offers…..
    these kids are backed into a corner because of all the hype they getting from these Hawaii AAU coaches on social media, some that have no experience at all, hyped by these sports writers writing about them way too much when they are under achieving saying they had a great season, and parents that think their kids are better than they actually are. Because of all of this, this kid feels that he has to tell everyone that he has multiple offers. HIGH major offers at that….do you know what that means? UH is barely mid major….but, as if that’s not enough, he’d rather go to prep school than pick one of these High Majors to go to? Come on now…..whoever is advising him, hyping him, do your homework first…..you’re hurting him….allow him to be honest, cuz there are way too many sites out there on the internet to find the truth…


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