3 OIA West teams in Girls Top 10

The Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 poll is another unanimous vote for defending state champion Konawaena, which has all 15 first-place clicks at the balloting station. (No, there’s no balloting station.)

Lahainaluna remains locked at No. 2 since a preseason loss to Konawaena. Maryknoll edged Punahou last week, and the two ILH powerhouses flip-flopped between No. 3 and No. 4 in today’s rankings.

Leilehua returned to the Top 10 after a brief departure.

Some pupule thoughts:

>> Ailing Wildcats
Starters Chanelle Molina and Mercedes Ihi Victor sat out Konawaena’s games over the weekend. No word on what their injuries are, but the Wildcats prevailed by wide margins. Molina is the reigning all-state player of the year, and should she return soon, this stretch without her is a bit of a preview of what life without the Washington State-bound standout will be like.

Victor, a returning all-state Fab 15 selection, is almost irreplaceable as a strong post defender who can run the floor and hit the open 3.

>> Luna power
Unlike their boys team, Lahainaluna remained unbeaten and unchallenged in MIL play over the weekend. Cameron Fernandez, who will join Molina at Washington State this fall, scored 20 points in a win over Kamehameha-Maui, and post Keleah Aiko Kaloi poured in 24 in a victory over King Kekaulike.

>> Maryknoll rules Wilder Avenue
Rule might be too strong a word. Maryknoll beat Punahou by a teensy margin on Saturday afternoon, and it was just a week or so earlier that Punahou won the first matchup by a very small margin. In other words, they split their two games so far. Neutral court, who knows what happens.

>> Lady Vikings right the ship
Early in preseason, Hilo lost to Lahainaluna by 21 points. The Lady Vikings haven’t lost since. Their lineup is more or less the same one that has been often triumphant in the past three seasons, led by Alexis Pana. Hilo remains ahead of Roosevelt in the Top 10, which may seem astounding to casual observers. Hilo does have a strong postseason resume in recent seasons than most programs statewide, and slighting stronger than that of Roosevelt.

>> Smooth riding
The Rough Riders of Roosevelt are unbeaten in OIA East play and playing efficient basketball. They can run and they can grind out a consistent halfcourt offense. Keala Quinlan is a double-double machine, and she’s got speedy, smart guards around her. Sounds a lot like Coach Hinano Higa’s teams of the past several years.

If Roosevelt goes on to win the OIA title, seeding by the HHSAA for the state tourney will be interesting. At this point, the OIA champion looks like a 4 seed, matching up (probably) with Konawaena. Then it gets complicated, depending on the Wildcats’ injuries.

Most coaches won’t sweat too much about pairings. At some point, teams just have to win, and fretting over seedings and pairings rarely helps.

>> Thin ice
After ‘Iolani at No. 7, it’s three OIA West teams that fill out the Top 10. Radford is unbeaten in West play, eking out narrow wins, including a thriller over Campbell over the weekend.

Kamehameha (1-6 ILH) and Sacred Hearts (1-6 ILH) are no longer in the Top 10 after holding their ground earlier in the season. It’s an interesting debate, whether the ILH’s two lower teams in the standings are better than Radford, Mililani and/or Leilehua. But voters look at current results, and it’s not easy to argue against Radford’s unbeaten league mark.


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