Big Dance Marathon: Day 2 is here

Day 2 of the Big Dance, a.k.a. OC-16/HHSAA GIrls Basketball Division I State Championships, is here and it’s not what some of us expected.

Last year’s OIA champion, Roosevelt, saw its state title dreams come to an abrupt end. First, the Rough Riders lost in overtime to Leilehua on Saturday in the OIA final. On Tuesday, they were soundly ousted by Mililani 64-48.

The margin of victory by the Lady Trojans shocked most fans, but it’s safe to say that this was an upset on paper. In reality? The Lady Trojans were tough and tested just often enough in the OIA West to be prepared to make this significant step forward under Coach Patrick Basilio. I noted yesterday that Mililani has just the right mix to give Roosevelt and any other foe some serious challenges in the paint and on the perimeter. Add to that a long point guard in Jazmina Lafitaga (transfer from Leilehua) and it turned into a long night for the heartbroken Rough Riders.

I also mentioned this during the Roosevelt-Leilehua game: Roosevelt’s outstanding 6-foot-1 senior, Keala Quinlan, didn’t post and basically took one shot in the paint on a fastbreak runner. I was stunned that she didn’t attack the rim much more frequently. Then again, Leilehua’s tall, sturdy and long front line may have induced her to play a finesse game (4-for-13 from the field that night).

Between Roosevelt’s thin bench and the lack of high-percentage shots near the rim — again, Quinlan is very sound on the low post when she’s there, and she’s a fine free-throw shooter — the reality is that Roosevelt was more beatable this season. Going unbeaten through the OIA East was a remarkable feat, all things considered, and coming so close to going unbeaten in the OIA playoffs would’ve been another nice achievement.

Now Mililani takes on Lahainaluna, the No. 2 seed. The Lady Lunas are on a mission since losing to Konawaena in last year’s final.

The other quarterfinal at Kalani pits ILH champ Maryknoll and Hilo, which edged Radford 33-28 on Tuesday. If there’s any team that’s as rugged and scrappy as Hilo, it’s Maryknoll, which has the benefit of an opening-round bye.

At Moanalua, No. 1 Konawaena takes on Punahou in the 7 p.m. game. Konawaena is not extremely deep, but Coach Bobbie Awa’s team is used to it. They’ve got Mercedes Ihi Victor back from a back injury. Returning player of the year Chanelle Molina is at 75 percent or so with her ankle injury. Seventy-five percent of Chanelle Molina is plenty enough for the rest of the Wildcats to win another state title. But the less-than-100-percent status of the two all-state players is enough to open the door of opportunity just bit wider for the likes of Punahou.

Konawaena and Punahou were locked in a great dynasty-versus-dynasty duel at one point when Mike Taylor was still the head coach of the Buffanblu. In recent years, though, Konawaena has remained ascendant, and as of last season, has six state crowns in the past dozen years under Awa. Punahou coach Liz Kam will offer a lot of looks, maybe, in a quest to stifle Konawaena just a bit.

“They play like boys,” Kam said. “They make good reads on offense.”

In the 5 p.m. game, Leilehua will play Kaiser. The Lady Cougars can run well, but a thin bench means they’ll pick their spots and press only if necessary — which was the case in last night’s 44-41 comeback win over a gritty Kamehameha-Maui squad.

The Lady Mules are in position to advance to the semifinals, but will they come out firing on all cylinders from the start? Sometimes, teams with opening-round byes are a bit stiff to start a quarterfinal game, and by the time they warm up, it’s the second half and too late to rally.

The Big Dance. It’s a marathon.


  1. Sports fan February 10, 2016 7:01 pm

    If you are going to say negative things about Roosevelt, be sure to include the COACH. Watch that leilehua game and you will clearly see that she clearly had no clue.

  2. Bball Fan February 10, 2016 9:30 pm

    This is what I noticed at tonight’s Punahou-Kona game. The Punahou coach is overwhelmed by this job. The game is too fast. She make absolutely no adjustments. They played man with slower guards and got exposed. Their team is bigger but didn’t make a conscious effort to pound the ball inside and slow the game down. I think they scored like 20-24 points. They looked like a JV Team at times.

    As for Kona, they run no plays. Let me repeat myself, they run no plays. Do they even need a coach other than to sub? They run a variation of Iolani’s “Wheel Play” maybe 2-3 times the entire game. Are they talented? Yes! Are they coached up? No. Anyone can put out more talented players and just let them play and not run anything. They win since they are more athletically gifted. That has to do with DNA. Let’s thank their parents for great genes.

  3. Bball Fan February 10, 2016 9:31 pm

    Sports Fan, I think Coach Higa is better than the Punahou coach and the Kona coach.

  4. Rams33 February 11, 2016 5:22 am

    Lol, someone’s salty about Kona’s success! That’s obviously a team both talented AND well coached. Saying they’re poorly coached is just ignorance.

    I agree with sports fan that the Roosevelt coach laid an egg against Leileihua. Particularly at the end of regulation with a lead when they decided to leave Quinlan on an island to try to run out the clock by herself.

  5. The Rim February 11, 2016 7:45 am

    Bball Fan- Kona has six titles and majority of those titles didnt include the Molina’s. You don’t win six state titles with poor coaching in a small school like Konawaena. You sound really dumb attacking a really good well run program that just kicked your Punahou team. Funny thing is I’m not from Kona nor do I have any ties to any parent or player, but I enjoy well played basketball and thats Kona and Lahinaluna. Punahou should hire you since you seem to know how to beat Kona. Hahahahaha!!!!!!!

  6. Sports fan February 11, 2016 8:03 am

    Paul, how about a top 10 list of coaches this year added with your opinions? Higa’s main concern is her 808 club. PERIOD! Why do so many of her top 808 players go to other team? Hmmm…

  7. A Fan February 11, 2016 8:04 am

    Ram33, well coached? Please tell me 1 set they run? The purpose of high school sports is to develop character and get the kids to improve to further their education. If the coach is so goo how come they don’t run any plays? Having kids spread and just play isn’t a basketball set.

    I am not saying they are not talented, we all know they have tons of talent. And whoever worked with them to develop their skills should be applauded. But to think their coaching during games is great is asinine.

    We all know that coaching at the girls level isn’t as important as boys. At the girl level, the teams with the alpha dogs are typically going to win.

    I still remember on OC-16 when the Kona tried to run a 50 foot backdoor play with 4-5 seconds left when they got upset by Lahainaluna. Who tries to run a 45-50 foot backdoor play as your last play?

    And they are so talented that you, Mr. Rim would be sitting on 6-7 state titles of your own.

    If they are such great coaches, please tell me how come they don’t run any offensive sets?

  8. A Fan February 11, 2016 8:08 am

    With all the talent they have you would think that way more of their players would go to D1. Please correct me if I am wrong, but I only recall Awa and Galdeira go to D1. Did anyone else? I know the oldest Molina signed with WSU, but did she qualify yet? And we all know the story with Galdeira and her studies that forced her to turn pro after her junior year. If the coaching was so good they would have more D1 players. If their team can compete with high level mainland teams that means they have really good talent. The facts that hardly any of them go to D1 is a travesty. I guess the goal is to win a high school championship and not get them to college.

  9. A Fan February 11, 2016 8:09 am

    To Sports Fan, I am hearing that certain coaches who coach high school also disregard the blackout period and work with their players in club which is deemed illegal. But there are no checks and balances to make sure it stops. Have you heard anything?

  10. Rams33 February 11, 2016 8:20 am

    “And whoever worked with them to develop their skills should be applauded.”

    Who do you think that is? Oh that’s right it’s coach Awa who also coached most of these girls in club ball when they were younger from what I’ve read. Basketball is not about who can run the fanciest plays but about who can play the best as a team both offensively and defensively and Kona has been doing just that.

    I won’t even bother addressing the rest of the nonsense in your post.

  11. Sports fan February 11, 2016 8:21 am

    A Fan, I haven’t heard of any. We all know that extra practices take place. The ad’s of each school must know extra practices exist. I assume as long as nobody verbally complains then nothing changes. Should we begin a discussion on club team favoritism or club team dominance such as Kona?

  12. jc February 11, 2016 8:46 am

    In watching the replay last night….Coach Awa called a timeout at 29-20 when Punahou made a mini-run….if you can read her lips, you can see her saying to Cherilyn “we’re running BOX”. They come out of the time out running the Box Set and they hit Victor on a slip screen on the first play and then they run the box set a second time with an elevator screen for Chennel and they hit the 3. I’m not sure what A-Fan (B-Ball fan) is watching but I saw at least 3 different offensive sets that Kona ran. They came out with the spread 4, they ran what’s referred to as a H-set, and they also ran an inside X set. Before half they ran a very innovative X out of the spread 4..using Victor as a cut screen and then a on ball screen with an additional baseline backdoor cut. But Kona’s transitions are so good on their primary and secondary breaks, that they get easy transition points off turnovers and defensive rebounds. Hawaii’s not known for producing basketball players on boys and girls programs….so when you have 2 (Galderia and Awa) going to a D1 program in the same year it says a lot and many athletes struggle their first year in college….your taking a full course load of credits plus practice & games and being away from home. Name me what other hawaii basketball program has 2 players from 1 team that went to a D1 program….let alone more than 2 players over the course of 10 years from one school that has gone on to play D1 basketball?

  13. The Rim February 11, 2016 1:23 pm

    A Fan- I’m going to let you live in your own world of hatred and jeolosy, while I enjoy good basketball. Like I tell all the parents who complain about coaching, go coach and see how well you do. With your attitude you wouldnt last a season, AND how much kids would you put in D1 programs? Its very interesting how really good girls basketball players end up in Kona… A Fan, maybe you should go and find out. Hint…go watch the age group leagues and tournaments to find the answer to Kona’s future Girls State Champions.

  14. A Fan February 11, 2016 1:36 pm

    So one time a game they run Iolani’s Wheel Play. Wow on one time. Go and ask any high school girls coach. They all know Kona runs no sets. It’s freelance and you know what, it works to win Hawaii High School Girls games! I guess if that’s the cap then keep doing it the way they are. But what about going to college? What about being eligible? What about striving for excellence and continuing to play.

    They ran none of these stuff, You are making it up. It is all reads. It’s not a planned play. OMG.

    Lahainaluna has 2 seniors that will be going to play D1, Hafoka & Fernandez. And that is done without even thinking hard.

    Please explain to me why they both struggled learning plays their freshman year. If the coaching is so great, the transition will be seamless. I am not talking talent. I am talking ability to understand basic basketball plays.

    As for Galdeira, she flunked out and had to go pro. Why don’t you mention that.She didn’t even attend classes for a while. That’s a winning attitude?

  15. The Rim February 11, 2016 4:26 pm

    Having an opinion is one thing but attacking high school girls and a former college standout is just unacceptable. You’re an idiot to even say these kids can’t play ball when they’re dominating and dumb to say all the coaches know what Kona will run but can’t do anything about it. Okay A Fan, “Just say no to drugs” but maybe prozac might help.

  16. jc February 11, 2016 6:22 pm

    Well first….as to the Lunas Hafoka & Fernandez, they are current players and I was asking past teams that had two D1 players….so can you name another team in the past? Of course, if you want to include current players on a team, I’m pretty sure all 3 Molina sisters will be playing D1 for somebody in the future. But the senior Molina was a freshman when Awa & Galderia were Seniors. Secondly, well I wasn’t sitting with HS girls coaches, but I was sitting with HS Boys coaches at Iolani Classic and I can honestly say Coach Awa is running multiple offensive sets and she’s calling the play in the huddle last night, I can read her lips “BOX” and they came out and ran it not once but twice. So I dunno how you can say I’m making things up. Several coaches run the Spread 4 w/ a high post and the 3 out inside X is a older set that has variations but I’ve seen some old school coaches still run it. As to a student/athletes struggle in college….there could be a multitude of reasons but much like a kids transition from JV ball to Varsity…..the jump from Varsity to College is just as great. Your dealing with bigger-faster-stronger players and if you think about it, a student-athlete in college is almost like taking on two full-time jobs during the season. But to blame Coach Awa for not preparing Galdeira for academics at WSU…I mean she’s a HS Coach of a public school team where she’s being paid peanuts….you can have study hall & be pro-active with grade checks but when I saw her up close and personal her Senior year, the girl could nearly 2 hand dunk the ball and she was just fooling around before the Kona boys game. But on the other hand…..I haven’t heard any academic problems with Danielle.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email