The trend is your friend, especially if you play basketball on the West side.
Campbell won its first OIA girls basketball championship on Wednesday night, ending a title drought and setting the bar for one of the state’s largest schools. Softball, baseball and football have earned success at the Ewa Beach campus over the years. Basketball has often been competitive, especially during the years of the late Nate “Bigz” Macadangdang.
Under Macadangdang, the Sabers competed for an OIA title. They won a Division II state crown in 2008.
Fourteen years later, under Jazmin Corpuz, the Sabers get a chance to play for the D-I state championship. They earned their first title with a 37-26 win over a gritty Mililani squad that was also in position to claim a first OIA crown. Coming into the OIA playoffs, West teams had won only five league titles since 1977.
Including a resilient Radford squad, the top three teams in the OIA are from the West. The Lady Rams overpowered Kaiser, 48-32, in the third-place game on Wednesday.
The title game was rugged, physical and reminiscent of the 2020 boys Division II state championship game between Kohala and Roosevelt. That night, absolute physicality was the norm as officials swallowed their whistles. Collisions went unchecked, but both teams quickly learned to play by the consistency of the non-calls.
Wednesday’s title tilt at James Alegre Gym wasn’t quite that violent, but both teams played to the whistle.
“We try not to change. It’s just a test. Every game is a test,” coach Corpuz said. “Every (officiating) crew is different.”
Campbell’s young roster will ensure that the West side is the likely division to rule the roost. Julien Parado had 13 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks to spark the Sabers. Guard Aliya Bantolina battled for seven points, four rebounds and four assists as Campbell concluded an unbeaten run in league play. Taysia Molina-Shulte added four points and seven rebounds, Sydney Patanapaiboon tallied four points and four boards, and forward Vaelua Fatu hustled for six rebounds and two steals.
— Paul Honda (@PupulePaul) February 10, 2022
The seamless, unified spirit of Campbell was matched by Mililani. The Sabers were just a bit stronger and significantly more precise on Wednesday. The Lady Trojans shot 8-for-16 at the free-throw line. Despite a slight height advantage, Mililani struggled to score in the paint against a physical Sabers man-to-man defense.
The Trojans also shot 1-for-13 from the arc. It was one of those nights.
“I’m proud of our girls,” Mililani coach Michael Oyama said. “Give Campbell credit. They kept their composure. We just couldn’t convert. Congratulations to them. Their team and coaches had a pretty clean game the whole game.”
For both teams, the presence and volume of fans who packed the gym was a completely different atmosphere after months of empty bleachers. Even Parado, who was poised throughout the playoffs, noted the intensity level.
“I don’t think I’ll get used to it. We were just excited and had a lot of anxiety,” she said.
The Sabers played like champions despite the jitters and woh factor. They warmed up with plenty of defensive-minded drills, everyone from positions 1 through 5 challenging the ball on the perimeter. Players like Parado invested hundreds, if not thousands, of hours in their practices and drills and games, often outdoors. Campbell could raise a banner for its latest OIA champion, but it probably will not satiate the Sabers.
— Paul Honda (@PupulePaul) February 10, 2022
HHSAA D-I Tournament
|1||Feb. 14||Maui vs. Kaiser||Maui, 51-45||Maui|
|2||Feb. 14||Waiakea vs. Moanalua||Waik, 51-31||Waiakea|
|3||Feb. 14||Mililani vs. Roosevelt||Mil, 40-17||Mililani|
|4||Feb. 14||Punahou vs. Radford||Pun, 47-35||Punahou|
|5||Feb. 17||(4) Campbell vs. Waiakea||Camp, 44-39 (OT)||Moanalua|
|6||Feb. 17||(1) 'Iolani vs. Maui||Iol, 51-32||Moanalua|
|7||Feb. 17||(2) Konawaena vs. Mililani||Kona, 56-24||McKinley|
|8||Feb. 17||(3) Lahainaluna vs. Punahou||Lah, 49-36||McKinley|
|9*||Feb. 18||Waiakea vs. Maui||Maui, 45-43||McKinley|
|10*||Feb. 18||Mililani vs. Punahou||Pun, 46-26||McKinley|
|11||Feb. 18||Konawaena vs. Lahainaluna||Kona, 40-21||Moanalua|
|12||Feb. 18||Campbell vs. 'Iolani||Iol, 54-39||Moanalua|
|13*||Feb. 19||Punahou vs. Maui||Pun, 35-33||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||Feb. 19||Lahainaluna vs. Campbell||Lah, 46-36||Blaisdell Arena|
|15||Feb. 19||Konawaena vs. 'Iolani||Iol, 28-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|