Case for KS-Maui hoops is a-maze-ing

Mililani's Kalena Gibson slapped the ball from Radford's Punipuao Seei while fellow Ram Natalie Jackson looked on. The Trojans won and are the highest ranked OIA West team in the Star-Advertiser poll this week at No. 8. Photo by Kat Wade/Special to the Star-Advertiser.
Mililani’s Kalena Gibson slapped the ball from Radford’s Punipuao Seei while fellow Ram Natalie Jackson looked on. The Trojans won and are the highest ranked OIA West team in the Star-Advertiser poll this week at No. 8. Photo by Kat Wade/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

The polls for high school sports are what they have always been and probably always will be: whipped cream. No nutritional value. No two ballots are alike, and I will almost always disagree with how the week’s voting went by the Star-Advertiser Top 10 panel whether it’s basketball, baseball, football, ramen restaurants, fried chicken joints, shave ice eateries, pick-up basketball courts, movies… That’s the nature of it. Not entirely a science, certainly an art.

Here’s the new Top 10 released this morning, followed by my ballot. I’ll add the team-by-team wins and losses (categorized) later.

Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10
Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2017
1. Maryknoll (9) 90
2. ‘Iolani 78
3. Konawaena 75
4. Lahainaluna 62
5. Kamehameha 50
6. Hilo 47
7. Punahou 36
8. Mililani 21
9. Kaimuki 13
10. Waiakea 8
Others receiving votes: Leilehua 6, Sacred Hearts 3, Kalani 3, Kamehameha-Maui 2, Farrington 1.
No longer in Top 10: Sacred Hearts.

Pupule’s ballot 1/2/17
1. Maryknoll Wins over every in-state foe, including ‘Iolani (twice), Lahainaluna, Punahou (twice), Kalani, Sacred Hearts. The Spartans beat Salesian and Claremont, gave nationally-ranked Clovis West (Calif.) a close battle before losing 67-58.
> ILH D-I teams have been idle since before Christmas.
2. ‘Iolani
> Beat former national powerhouse Salesian, battled nationally-ranked Long Beach Poly close. Beat Fremont (Neb.) and Forest Grove (Ore.). The only in-state team to beat the Raiders: Maryknoll. ‘Iolani has wins over Punahou, Kamehameha, both ranked teams.
3. Konawaena
> Drove 15 miles down the road and defeated Kealakehe 81-15. Running clock after the half. In other words, the drive took more time than the game.
4. Kamehameha
> Wins over Lahainaluna and Punahou, as well as Sacred Hearts and Kalani. Losses are to Maryknoll and ‘Iolani.
5. Lahainaluna
> Resumed MIL play by limiting King Kekaulike to 9 points and Baldwin to 19.
6. Punahou
> Most programs would love to have a winning record (overall), but by Buffanblu standards, this is a notch below normal. They’re 4-5 against ranked teams with wins over Kalani (twice), Kamehameha and Sacred Hearts.
7. Hilo
> Against a fairly competitive preseason slate, the Vikings did not score more than 58 points in a game. Since Christmas, they’ve topped 70 in wins over Kealakehe (71-24) and Pahoa (75-9).
8. Sacred Hearts
> I’ve been high on this team since preseason, when the Lancers beat a number of unranked teams, and then early the ILH D-I season when they stayed close to the powerhouses. But their one win over a ranked team (Hawaii Baptist) is carrying less weight since HBA lost to unranked Mid-Pacific. In addition, the gap between SHA and the ILH D-I powers is growing.
9. Kamehameha-Maui
> The Warriors have won three in a row by an average margin of 21.7 points per game. They gave Lahainaluna a decent battle, losing 51-40. That may seem insignificant, but realistically, there are only a dozen or so teams statewide that can hang within 10-11 points of the Lady Lunas.
10. Kalani
> This was a brain crusher, picking between a slew of teams that have been competitive, all pretty much beating each other and creating a Westworldish maze of agony. In the end, Kalani has only one loss to an unranked team (Kaiser) on its resume. So does Hawaii Baptist (Mid-Pacific)… which also beat… Kalani. Holy hoops, did I just screw up my ballot?

On the cusp
Hawaii Baptist
> Sorry, Eagles, I should’ve had you at No. 10. But the 58-44 loss to Mid-Pacific, a program that wanted out of D-I so, so badly, yeeesh.
> Lost twice to unranked teams (Nanakuli, Campbell).
Lost two times to unranked teams (Leilehua, St. Francis).
Has not lost to an unranked team, but the loss at Mililani coupled with a knee injury to promising center Shaelie Burgess factored in this time.
> No losses to ranked teams, but has close losses to Hilo (33-32) and Mililani (49-44).
Farrington. Rising nice and steady. Close losses to HBA (45-40) and Kalani (38-37), big loss to Kaimuki (50-35), beat Mid-Pacific (52-47), beat Kahuku (on the road, 59-46).
Do the Owls follow the path of ‘Iolani football? Dominate in D-II, forced to move back to D-I, struggle all over again? Owls have wins over HBA and Campbell and a loss to unranked Farrington.
St. Francis
Beat Kaimuki, but lost to ‘Iolani II.
Lost to St. Francis 45-16. Wow.
Split with Waimea during KIF so far. Lost to St. Francis 39-28 and McKinley 57-53. Is McKinley the litmus test? Probably.
Beat Kaiser soundly (50-30), but lost to Leilehua (47-45) and Waiakea (38-37).
‘Iolani II
> Lost to HBA 52-29. Yep, that’s a buzzkill.
> Since losing to Leilehua, Maryknoll, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Waiakea, ‘Iolani and Hawaii Baptist, the Lady Cougars have found their equilibrium. Things have balanced out. They’ve beaten Molokai, McKinley, Moanalua, Castle, McKinley again, Kailua and Kalani. There were losses to Kamehameha, Maryknoll and Kalani in early December. Kalani is Kaiser’s litmus test, losing to the Falcons 42-40, and then winning 57-54 last week. If anything, Kaiser has been resilient.


  1. Rams33 January 4, 2017 3:43 pm

    I like your top 7 rankings, but disagree after that. The real blatant miss is having Kalani as the only ranked OIA team. It looks especially bad after the Farrington game. But they are surprisingly good this year.

    Even though I’m an HBA fan, I agree they don’t deserve to be in the to 10 at this point. Though I think they’ll get there by the end of the season after a strong showing on the mainland over the holidays. A few tidbits about HBA: the loss to Sacred Hearts was not excused by but had as a contributing factor the fact that all HBA seniors missed that game. And Mid Pac probably deserves a bit more mention. That team is legit this year and really outplayed HBA in their game in December

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