D-III state hoops? Someday, maybe

It’s early in the season, no question, but Hawaiian Mission Academy is out of the gate fast and furious. HMA is 2-0 after a 35-34 nail-biter win over Lutheran. Part of me will always root for the schools that don’t have a gym, which would be Lutheran. The Lions were down 11 points entering the fourth quarter and nearly rallied for the win.

HMA, meanwhile, has had that neat little gym for ages. Most kids today have no idea that the school did not play ILH basketball for a long, long time. But they’re all in now and at 2-0, I wonder what all these young student-athletes at tough, tiny programs would have to dream of if there was — as former Kamehameha-Hawaii AD Bob Wagner hoped for — a Division III state tournament.

The argument that neighbor-island schools struggle enough as it is to send teams to Oahu for state-tourney games is real. But they find a way. They fundraise in advance, or the optimistic programs do, at least.

But as far as enrollment sizes go, D-III state tournaments could be open to these (and more) schools. Please forgive me if I forget anyone.

KIF: Island.
MIL: St. Anthony, Hana, Lanai.
BIIF: Laupahoehoe, St. Joseph, Ka‘u, Pahoa. (Note: Pahoa boys have done great in D-II. This is regarding girls basketball.)
ILH: Christian Academy, Hawaiian Mission, Island Pacific, Lutheran, St. Andrew’s Priory,
OIA: Anuenue.

This is a list of 13 schools. Not bad. We are one of the few states that has two (or fewer) levels of classification, and that’s primarily due to the difficulty of intrastate travel. Yep, the cost of those airline tickets can be a killer. (Superferry, please come baaaaaack!)

There are a few schools, perhaps, that would stimulate interest in forming a girls basketball team if there was a D-III state tourney. I’d put St. Anthony (MIL) in that hat. Kihei Charter (MIL), too. (Or those two programs could merge for girls basketball. Entering an HHSAA with a newly merged program requires approval, so that’s a whole ‘nother exploration.) Other schools like Makua Lani (BIIF) have way, way more interest in soccer, so hoops is unlikely.

Well, that’s enough. I’ve rambled and digressed beyond my daily quota. I was going to add some pupule drivel about boys basketball, but this would be a good time to cut out and just put that in another post.

Oh, a last thought: Am I the only one who misses seeing Baldwin girls basketball at a state-tourney level? Man, the Bears haven’t been the same since Kami Kapaku graduated. Just a coincidence? Kapaku was a sensational player in both basketball and soccer.


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