Girls and boys basketball never went away in 2021.
The game simply waited, and this weekend, there will be a cathartic moment or two for the Kamehameha Warriors and Hawaii Baptist Academy Eagles.
Kamehameha will host Hawaii Baptist on Friday, 4 p.m., at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium in an exhibition game. Girls and boys varsity games are on with full protocols, including COVID-19 testing, in effect.
“We all tested yesterday. Players, referees, scorekeepers, announcers and more,” Warriors Coach Pua Straight said on Wednesday morning. “Our administration has been awesome. They basically wrote out a proposal with all the safety protocols and procedures, and sent it to other schools to see who would be interested in playing following all the protocols they outlined. Once they sent it out, we had games, five games scheduled.”
The Kamehameha girls’ five-game mini-schedule was organized within the next two days, Straight added. The HBA-Kamehameha games on Friday are closed to the public, but will be viewable.
“All the games will be streamed. The links will be posted to our Kamehameha Athletics website and will be active five minutes prior to the game,” Straight said.
Like most private-school girls basketball programs, Kamehameha felt the brunt when the Interscholastic League of Honolulu cancelled higher-risk winter sports. The Warriors continued to work out, and played a senior-night game last week.
After hosting HBA, Kamehameha will return the favor and play at the Eagles’ gym on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. Those games at Dan Liu Gymnasium are also going to be streamed live, HBA Athletic Director Deren Oshiro said.
On Tuesday, the Warriors will host Hanalani (4 p.m.). Then they will travel to meet Maryknoll on Friday, Feb. 26 (6 p.m.). Maryknoll then goes to Kamehameha for a rematch on Saturday, Feb. 27 (noon).
Maryknoll Athletic Director Ben Valle indicated that the games with Kamehameha are not set in stone yet, but the process is underway.
The HBA-Kamehameha series is believed to be the first girls and boys basketball games between two Hawaii high schools in 2021. On the boys’ side, Damien and Saint Louis have played twice in the past month, but Damien operated as a club team. Saint Louis has hosted eight games, all exhibitions, so far this winter.
On Maui, four boys basketball club teams, stocked with players representing four schools, participated in a tournament at Maui Prep Academy last weekend.
On Oahu, the seven-day moving average for new cases of COVID-19 is at 37, including 13 announced on Tuesday with a 1.2-percent rate of positivity. Mayor Rick Blangiardi had expressed a goal of below 70 daily cases and 2.5-percent rate. He had also cautioned about the possibility of increased numbers this week due to a post-Super Bowl effect.
The previous administration’s tiered system had required a seven-day average of 20 or fewer daily cases to reach Tier 4, when organized youth sports would be resumed.
UPDATE: As of Wednesday afternoon, 17 new cases were reported, lowering the seven-day moving average to 33 with a 1.2-percent positivity rate.