Girls basketball Fab 15 notes, All-Defensive team, most improved

Konawaena's Cherilyn Molina -- the Honolulu Star-Advertiser's player of the year -- was named as the Gatorade Hawaii player of the year Monday. Cindy Ellen Russell / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Here’s the 2017-18 Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball All-State Fab 15 including individual capsule summaries for the 15 plus honorable-mention players and close misses.

Also included are the All-Defensive Team and Most Improved vote-getters. All selected by a panel of coaches and media.

Girls Basketball All-State Fab 15

Player of the Year: Cherilyn Molina, Konawaena
Coach of the Year: Bobbie Awa, Konawaena

Fab 15
1. Cherilyn Molina, Konawaena, 5-4, G, Sr.
A four-time Fab 15 selection, repeats as Player of the Year. 16 ppg for the season, also 10 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 1.3 blocks per game at the state tourney as Konawaena four-peated. Also voted All-Defensive Team player of the year. Signed with Washington State.

> BIIF: 16 ppg, 4 3-pt, FT 28-45 .622
> Total: 16 ppg, 12 3-pt, FT 41-66 .621
> vs. Moanalua: 22 points (8-15 FG, 2-3 FT), 11 rebounds (7 offensive), 5 assists, 4 steals, 2 blocks, 1 turnover
> vs. Lahainaluna: 10 points (4-12 FG, 5-6 FT), 10 rebounds (6 offensive), 1 assists, 1 steal, 1 block, 3 turnovers
> vs. Maryknoll: 22 points (4-9 FG, 13-18 FT), 8 rebounds (1 offensive), 3 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 4 turnovers
> Total: 18 PPG (16-36 .444 FG; 20-27 .741 FT), 9.7 RPG (4.7 ORPG), 3.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 2.7 TPG
> Named All-Tournament most valuable player

In the clutch, nobody performed better than Molina. She had all the tangibles from scoring ability, rebounding ability — major numbers at states — and even blocked shots. But the intangibles — patience, picking her spots on penetration, court vision — are separation factors. So is her perfect balance of intensity and poise. Combined with oldest sister Chanelle, a Molina has taken the past five POY honors. She has signed with Washington State, the third and final Molina sister who will suit up for the Cougars, who just fired their coach today (Monday). Voted No. 1 in the All-Defensive Team selections.

2. Mikayla Tablit, Konawaena, 5-5, G, Sr.
13 points, 7 rebounds, 2.3 steals per game at state tourney. Voted No. 3 on the All-Defensive team. Joins teammate Cherilyn Molina and Kamehameha’s Nani Cockett as the only four-time state champion players in Hawaii girls basketball.

> BIIF: 14 ppg, 6 3-pt, FT 20-24 .833
> Total: 12 ppg, 14 3-pt, FT 25-34 .735
> vs. Moanalua: 10 points (4-15 FG, 2-2 FT), 6 rebounds (3 offensive), 3 assists, 4 steals, 1 block, 1 turnover
> vs. Lahainaluna: 14 points (4-13 FG, 2-4 FT), 8 rebounds (4 offensive), 3 assists, 2 steals, 4 turnovers
> vs. Maryknoll: 15 points (3-7 FG, 8-9 FT), 7 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 steal, 5 turnovers
> Total: 13 PPG (11-35 .314 FG; 12-15 .800 FT), 7 RPG (2.7 ORPG), 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.3 TPG
> Voted to All-Tournament Team

After carrying the Wildcats for much of her junior season, Tablit had some offensive struggles this year, but her defense and toughness never waned. By the post-season, she was back to her old self, providing a triple-threat championship weapon who also crashed the boards hard. That rebounding, a major theme in House Awa during this ninth-state title campaign, made a major difference for one of the smallest rosters in the history of the Crown. Above all, she was, with Molina, one of the top two defensive guards in the state again. Voted No. 3 to the All-Defensive Team.

3. Isabella Cravens, Maryknoll, 6-1, Sr.
The numbers are solid, but don’t tell the whole story for the state’s dominant post player: 9 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks, 2 steals per game at the state tourney. Voted No. 2 on the All-Defensive Team.

> ILH: 8 ppg, FT 15-32 .469
> Total: 8 ppg, FT 39-68 .574
> vs. Kamehameha-Maui: 4 points (2-5 FG, 0-5 FT), 5 rebounds (1 offensive), 2 blocks, 2 turnovers
> vs. Waiakea: 11 points (7-8 FG, 1-2 FT), 11 rebounds (4 offensive), 4 steals, 1 block
> vs. Konawaena: 11 points (4-9 FG, 3-4 FT), 15 rebounds (6 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks, 2 turnovers
> Total: 8.7 PPG (13-22 .591 FG; 3-11 .273 FT), 10.3 RPG (3.7 ORPG), 2.0 SPG, 2.0 BPG, 1.3 TPG
> Voted to All-Tournament Team

A double-double regular and clearly the most consistent post defender in the islands, so strong, yet so slinky in traffic. She will benefit at the next level by battling other bigs on a daily basis, and she won’t penalized by touch fouls. Offensively, her range is clearly expanding, comfortable at the elbows. A very willing passer. A classic case of a big who will likely thrive at the next level. Voted No. 2 in the All-Defensive Team

4. Sisilia Kaufusi, Kahuku, 5-9, Jr.
21 points per game in OIA play, shot 69 percent at FT line. Relentless rebounder, a double-double machine. 25 points in state-tourney loss at ‘Iolani.

> OIA: 21 ppg, FT 31-45 .689
> Total: 19 ppg, FT 37-54 .685
> vs. Moanalua: 30 pt, FT 8-9; vs. ‘Iolani (HHSAA): 25 pts, FT 3-6, 9 reb.

There have been a healthy number of productive post players out of Red Raider Nation. Kaufusi did more than impress. She produced a double-double just about every night even though most defenses could blanket her with defenders, in large part because of the lack of perimeter shooting from her young teammates. She plays bigger than her height thanks to strong footwork, superior ballhandling for her position, and a relentless, explosive style that will be on display next season as Kahuku rises to a new level. Kaufusi has already promised that she will work her tail off this offseason. The hunger is real.

5. Kaelyn Espinda, Kaimuki, 5-6, Jr.
19 points per game, including 25 vs. Kahuku, 28 vs. Moanalua, 26 vs. Leilehua. Strong penetrator, deadly 3-point sharpshooter (33 total), shot 71 percent at the FT line. Voted No. 8 in the All-Defensive Team.

> OIA: 19 ppg, 23 3-pt, FT 37-52 .712
> Total: 19 ppg, 33 3-pt, FT 37-52 .712
> vs. Kahuku: 25 pts (7 3-pt), vs. Moanalua: 28 pts (4 3-pt), vs. Leilehua: 26 pts (5 3-pt).

For all the talent we saw this season, there was a slight shortage of players who really fulfilled their potential, or got real close to it. There were a number who are deserving of Fab 15 despite 1) injuries, loss of playing time, 2) minor shooting slumps, 3) lack of usage due to team depth and slower tempo.

Espinda wasn’t just a scorer. She was Kaimuki’s main ballhandler, a PG in a forward’s body with deadly range and accuracy out to 24 feet, while attacking the rim relentlessly and getting to the free-throw line. This is an era when a lot of players tend to AVOID contact for whatever reason, both girls and boys. Espinda not only ran the offense, she attacked with ceasing. Then she made FTs at a relatively high rate and kept going and going even though she had little help on her team aside from Sonia Palik. Voted No. 8 in the All-Defensive balloting.

6. Kalina Obrey, Kamehameha, 5-11, Jr.
Another double-double machine, averaged 15 points per game and was dominant from the start of nonconference play following a standout all-state season in volleyball until a hand injury.

> ILH: 15 ppg, 4 3-py, FT 42-60 .700
> Total: 15 ppg, 4 treys, FT 65-101 .644
Note: Broken hand Dec. 3. Returned Jan. 3.

A double-double machine with an array of low-post moves, Obrey was arguably the No. 2 player in the state until the fracture to her hand. She wasn’t quite at 100 percent when she returned just three weeks later, but her ledger of double-double efforts was not forgotten.

7. Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole, Maryknoll, 5-10, Jr.
Versatile, athletic, voted All-Defense, averaged 9 points per game, shot 71 percent at the line in ILH play as Lady Spartans four-peated. Shot 56 percent from field at states, scoring 12 ppg with 5 rebounds, 2.3 steals, 1.3 blocks.

> ILH: 9 ppg, 14 treys, FT 24-34 .706
> Total: 9 ppg, 18 3-pt, FT 35-51 .686
> vs. Kamehameha-Maui: 11 points (5-8 FG, 0-0 FT), 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 assist, 1 steal, 1 block, 0 turnovers
> vs. Waiakea: 19 points (8-12 FG, 2-3 FT), 7 rebounds (4 offensive), 4 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks, 3 turnovers
> vs. Konawaena: 5 points (2-7 FG, 0-0 FT), 6 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
> Total: 11.7 PPG (15-27 .556 FG; 2-3 .667 FT), 5.3 RPG (2.3 ORPG), 2.0 APG, 2.3 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 1.7 TPG

Her two-way skills are uncommon regardless of era. She will get stronger, tougher and hungrier on the interior with time. But as far as the court vision, scoring skills and inside-outside game, what a weapon. She began to emerge as a lead-dog scorer and defender later in the season. Hopefully, this trend continues next winter. Instead of 9 points per game, there’s plenty of reason to believe Kamakawiwo‘ole can double her scoring output — by necessity as much as by sheer skill.

8. Rhianne Omori, Maryknoll, 5-3, Sr.
Floor leader for four-time ILH champs, averaged 10 ppg, shot 75 percent from FT line.

> ILH: 9 ppg, 13 3-pt, FT 27-39 .692
> Total: 10 ppg, 26 3-pt, FT 50-67 .746
> vs. KS-Maui: 7 pts (3-10 FG, 0-0 FT), 1 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl, 0 TO
> vs. Waiakea: 5 pts (2-6 FG, 1-2 FT), 1 reb (1 off), 4 ast, 2 TO
> vs. Konawaena: 6 pts (2-7 FG, 1-2 FT), 0 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl, 2 TO
> Total: 6 ppg (7-23 .304 FG, 2-4 .500 FT), 0.7 RPG (0.3 ORPG), 2.3 APG, 1.7 SPG, 1.3 TPG

Another outstanding season for the most consistent Lady Spartan. Four ILH championships in four seasons, unprecedented in school history, and Omori was the tough-nosed court general through it all. Also one of the top defensive guards statewide.

9. Braeanna Estabillo-Donato, Lahainaluna, 5-5, Sr.
17 ppg, long-range shooter and tough penetrator for MIL champions.

> MIL: 17 ppg, 31 3-pt, FT 13-19 .684
> Total: 17 ppg, 36 3-pt, FT 14-23 .609
> vs. ‘Iolani: 5 points (2-4 FG, 1-1 FT), 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 3 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers
> vs. Konawaena: 14 points (6-14 FG, 0-0 FT), 5 rebounds (2 offensive), 1 assist, 2 turnovers
> vs. Waiakea: 11 points (4-10 FG, 3-6 FT), 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 assist, 2 steals, 4 turnovers
> Total: 10 PPG (12-28 .429 FG; 4-7 .571 FT), 3.7 RPG (1.3 ORPG), 1.7 APG), 1.7 SPG, 2.3 TPG

With a few bounces the other way, the Lunas could have been in the final, and then, who knows? Estabillo was a conqueror all season long — again — a pure shooter with the knack for knowing when to attack the rim and when to launch from deep. Her teamwork with backcourt mate Rachael Balagso made this one of the best guard pairings in the state.

10. Susitina Namoa, Lahainaluna, 5-9, Jr.
Overcame a knee injury in time for the MIL season (12 ppg). Had her best games at states: 16 points, 9 rebounds, 1.3 steals, 1 block per game. 17 points, 12 rebounds vs. ‘Iolani, 14 points vs. Konawaena, 17/11 against Waiakea.

> MIL: 12 ppg. FT 21-28 .750
> Total: 12 ppg. FT 21-28 .750
> vs. ‘Iolani: 17 points (6-10 FG, 4-4 FT), 12 rebounds (3 offensive), 1 steal, 5 turnovers
> vs. Konawaena: 14 points (6-10 FG, 1-5 FT), 3 rebounds (1 offensive), 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block, 2 turnovers
> vs. Waiakea: 17 points (5-13 FG, 7-8 FT), 11 rebounds (2 offensive), 2 steals, 2 blocks, 6 turnovers
> Total: 16 PPG (17-33 .515 FG; 12-17 .706 FT), 8.7 RPG (2 ORPG), 0.7 APG, 1.3 SPG, 1.0 BPG, 4.3 TPG
> Voted to All-Tournament Team
Note: Knee injury, sat preseason

She dominated on the court, getting inside on taller posts, hitting 3s on defenders who didn’t respect her long-range game. Not once did she seem to be a player who has no cartilage in one knee. If anything, she almost seemed to thrive on the spotlight, powering the Lunas in the paint, giving Konawaena its closest game in the state tourney.

11. Ally Wada, Hawaii Baptist, 5-9, Sr.
13 ppg, unselfish leading scorer and rebounder, scored just 11 points per game in ILH D-II, but had her best games against D-I ranked teams: 28 vs. Sacred Hearts, 16 vs. Mililani, 24 in a rematch with SHA, 18 against Kamehameha.

> ILH D-II: 11 ppg, 16 3-pt, FT 28-40 .700
> Total: 13 ppg, 28 3-pt, FT 58-74 .784
> vs. Sacred Hearts: 28 pts (3 3-pt), FT 11-12; vs. Mililani: 16 pts (1 3-pt), FT 13-15; vs. Sacred Hearts 24 pts (4 3-pt), FT 2-3; vs. Kamehameha: 18 pts (4 3-pt), FT 4-4.

A big-time rebounder with a ton of double-double games who was also a tremendous slasher and 3-point shooter, the biggest guard in HBA’s four- and five-guard offense. Another invaluable two-way standout who had terrific games against D-I teams like Kamehameha. The late-season neck injury was the only drawback to an otherwise superb season. She was as prone to pouring in 18 or 20 points with 10-plus rebounds on a title contender like Kamehameha as she was to become a facilitator. She was more than willing to rebound, play defense and let her teammates carry the scoring load in 30-point wins over D-II competition, which is why Wada’s scoring average was modest this season. If she had pushed the issue and scored 20-plus every night, my vote for her would’ve been Top 5, probably. If somehow, Wada had not suffered the injury and been at full health for the state tourney, she could have risen higher. She will play volleyball at USF next season.

12. Dallas Martinez, Sacred Hearts, 5-5, Jr.
15 ppg, shot 81 percent at the FT line. Natural leader and high hoops IQ, had her best games against Top 10 opponents. 20 points vs. Moanalua, 20 vs. St. Francis, 29 vs. HBA, 25 vs. Waiakea, 23 and 25 vs. MPI, 20 and 22 vs. ‘Iolani, 22 vs. Maryknoll.

> ILH: 16 ppg, 4 treys, FT 64-79 .810
> Total: 16 ppg, 6 treys, FT 117-158 .741
> vs. Moanalua: 20 pts, FT 4-6; vs. St. Francis: 20 pts (2 3-pt), FT 2-5; vs. Hawaii Baptist: 29 pts, FT 11-11; vs. Waiakea: 25 pts, FT 9-11; vs. Mid-Pacific: 23 pts, FT 7-10; vs. ‘Iolani: 20 pts, FT 6-6; vs. ‘Iolani: 22 pts, FT 10-14; vs. Mid-Pacific: 25 pts (1 3-pt), FT 8-10; vs. Maryknoll: 22 pts (2 3-pt), FT 6-6.

It may be too soon to consider Martinez one of the best players in Sacred Hearts history. Within the past 20 years, that would likely be former UH player Brittney Aiwohi, who once scored 25 points IN A ROW against No. 1 Punahou as the Lancers led most of the game. Martinez is an elite player because of she has an almost unsurpassed intelligence on the court, a nonstop motor, jumps and runs well, and is an absolutely bull with the ball. There are traces of former Honokaa scoring machine Kahea Schuckert in Martinez’s style of play. The former Division II program is a real force in D-I, and much of that is due to discipline and toughness of this junior.

13. Kiana Vierra, Kamehameha, 5-11, Sr.
Deadly sharpshooter averaged 12 points per game, hit 47 3-pointers for Warriors. Signed with UC Santa Barbara.

> ILH: 12 ppg, 27 treys, FT 17-25 .680
> Total: 13 ppg, 47 treys, FT 21-32 .656

Deadly 3-point shooter out to 25, 26 feet, which should translate tremendously at the NCAA D-I level. She defends fairly well and can rebound, but her game is more college-ready with a smooth catch-and-shoot skill that UC Santa Barbara really likes.

14. Caiyle Kaupu, Konawaena, 5-9, So.
It is easy to forget that she’s only a sophomore, and that bigs tend to mature later than guards. Still, she was solid in the paint and her ability to splash the 3 proved to be a key element during the state final against Maryknoll.

> BIIF: 12 ppg, FT 18-31 .581
> Total: 11 ppg, FT 20-36 .556

> vs. Moanalua: 9 points (3-10 FG, 3-5 FT), 5 rebounds (1 offensive), 1 steal, 2 turnovers
> vs. Lahainaluna: 12 points (4-6 FG, 4-5 FT), 10 rebounds (7 offensive), 3 turnovers
> vs. Maryknoll: 6 points (2-5 FG, 1-2 FT), 4 rebounds (0 offensive), 2 blocks, 1 turnover
> Total: 9.0 PPG (9-21 .429 FG; 8-12 .667 FT), 6.3 RPG (2.7 ORPG), 0.0 APG, 0.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2.0 TPG

It was an up-and-down season in terms of personal stats for the hugely talented Kaupu, who was a factor on defense more than offense most nights. She shined at the state tourney, and even when she didn’t rack up big numbers, she was clutch, hitting a game-tying corner 3 against Maryknoll that sparked a 37-15 Konawaena run. It’s a close call between Kaupu, who wasn’t dominant for complete games on many nights, but still produced on the boards and played good defense, and Maeda, who trounced weaker teams but consistently faded and scored in single figures against the best (Maryknoll, Konawaena, Lahainaluna, etc.). Case in point: against Lahainaluna, Kaupu had 12 points (4-6 FG, 4-5 FT) with 10 rebounds (seven offensive) and three turnovers while Maeda had 2 points (1-8 FG, 0-0 FT), five rebounds (no offensive), three assists and five turnovers. Without Kaupu, Konawaena doesn’t win the semifinal game. Maeda’s team lost to Lahainaluna in the quarterfinals. That’s a case of production and value to the team in a clutch situation by Kaupu.

15. Kodee Viena, Maryknoll, 5-8, Sr.
It’s defense that was Viena’s calling card, a physically dominant stopper on the wing, far too strong for opposing guards. Her ability to curtail opposing scorers, especially in the ILH and state tournament, was a trump card that few teams could match. At 8 points per game, she was a role player offensively who could attack the rim, handle the ball and hit the open 3. She had 14 points in a key win over ‘Iolani late the ILH season.

> ILH: 8 ppg, 13 treys, FT 20-33 .606
> Total: 7 ppg, 18 treys, FT 31-55 .564
> vs. KS-Maui: 3 pts (1-4 FG, 1-2 FT), 2 reb (2 off), 1 ast, 3 stl, 1 TO
> vs. Waiakea: 4 pts (1-9 FG, 2-5 FT), 4 reb (1 off), 2 TO
> vs. Konawaena: 4 pts (2-6 FG, 0-0 FT), 1 reb (1 off), 1 ast, 1 TO
> Total: 3.7 PPG (4-19 .211 FG, 3-7 .429 FT), 2.3 RPG (1.3 ORPG), 0.7 APG, 1.0 SPG, 1.3 TPG
Note: 13 pts vs. Punahou; 14 pts vs. Mid-Pacific; 12 pts vs. ‘Iolani; 14 pts vs. ‘Iolani (ILH tourney final),

Her biggest contributions are defense and versatility. In a different program and system, Viena piles up huge offensive numbers. She rebounds, runs the floor, defends any position, hits the 3, slashes and draws fouls. Maryknoll was extremely deep, so Viena’s minutes didn’t really hit a peak until the final month of the season, and that’s when she flourished at times. Fab 15 selections aren’t about ability and potential. Most of the time, they’re about raw, undeniable production, so the glut of talented players at Maryknoll basically traded in huge individual numbers for the chance to win four ILH championships plus three trips to the state final. Not a bad deal, all things considered. But there’s no doubt that if players like Kamakawiwo‘ole, Omori, Cravens, Viena, Chayse Milne, Moe Natoa, Gilliland were unleashed as solo stars for any other team, the numbers — and minutes — would be beyond fantastic.

Honorable mention
Kelsie Imai, Waiakea, 5-6, So.
Easily one of the most instinctive playmakers in the state, regardless of age. Imai could deliver against tough competition often enough even though she was outsized by defenders at the state level. She had 14 points against Maryknoll, 19 against Roosevelt and 28 in a loss to Kamehameha. Defenses that schemed to slow her down had some success, but on the whole, she was a whirling dervish who would exploit defenses that didn’t game plan for her. At states, she led the young Warriors — they had no seniors) with 14 points and 12 rebounds in a quarterfinal win over OIA champion Kalani.

> BIIF: 12 ppg, 7 treys, FT 25-43 .581
> Total: 14 ppg, 14 treys, FT 39-67 .582
> vs. Campbell: 12 pts (4-13 FG, 2-2 FT), 9 reb (3 off), 3 ast, 6 stl, 6 TO
> vs. Kalani: 14 pts (6-18 FG, 1-6 FT), 12 reb (1 off), 4 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk, 4 TO
> vs. Maryknoll: 4 pts (1-6 FG, 2-4 FT), 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 9 TO
> vs. Lahainaluna: 6 pts (1-6 FG, 3-5 FT), 6 reb, 4 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 5 TO
> Total: 9 PPG (12-43 .279 FG, 8-17 FT .471), 7.3 RPG (1.3 ORPG), 3.0 APG, 2.8 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 6.0 TPG

> Skinny: Somewhat similar to Tori Maeda, Imai was a thrill to watch much of the time with explosive drives and scoring instincts. Like Maeda, she had some great performances and some difficulties against the state’s best teams, but was a stronger scorer and a much stronger rebounder. She also gets big numbers in steals. Her stats are slightly skewed because she rarely sits/rests, both positive (volume) and negative (fatigue) — but perhaps more importantly, she has the motor to go long minutes and was durable as heck. Among the sophomores in Hawaii, almost none is as promising as Imai in terms of versatile offensive skills and guard play over the next two years.

Tori Maeda, ‘Iolani, 5-6, Jr.
What a season for the young point guard who carried this bunch for a long stretch. She stepped up her scoring production while the freshmen and sophomores found their footing, often hitting the high teens. Without Maeda’s grit and willingness to attack the rim, the Raiders may not have evolved as quickly as they did, surpassing Kamehameha to qualify for the state tourney. There is almost no other player in the state who shot 81 percent (or better) at the free-throw line for the entire season. In four games against Kamehameha, she scored 19, 16, 12 and 18 points. Against Maryknoll, 14 points in three games, and that was the one nemesis that managed to keep Maeda under wraps when hardly any other team could.

> ILH: 11 ppg, 18 treys, FT 59-73 .818
> Total: 10 ppg, 21 treys, FT 70-87 .805
> vs. Kahuku: 16 points (7-9 FG, 0-1 FT), 3 rebounds (2 offensive), 3 assists, 3 steals, 2 turnovers
> vs. Lahainaluna: 2 points (1-8 FG, 0-0 FT), 5 rebounds (0 offensive), 3 assists, 5 turnovers
> vs. Moanalua: 8 points (2-4 FG, 3-4 FT), 2 rebounds (0 offensive), 4 assists, 1 block, 2 turnovers
> vs. Kalani: 6 points (3-6 FG, 0-0 FT), 2 rebounds (1 offensive), 4 assists, 1 steal, 5 turnovers
> Total: 8 PPG (13-27 .481 FG; 3-5 .600 FT), 12 RPG (3 ORPG), 3.5 APG, 1.0 SPG, 3.5 TPG

> Skinny: She finished the ILH season strong, sparking the Raiders to a state berth. Had some struggles against the cream of the crop, but was virtually unstoppable for most opponents. She may or may not be the next Monica Tokoro, but there are some similarities, and Maeda’s efficiency is only going to be get better as her teammates continue to progress.

Logan Luke, Kalani, 5-8, Sr.
The most consistent Lady Falcon was a key to the team’s title run in OIA Division I. Most championships are built on a foundation of fundamentals as well as attention to detail, and Luke was contributor in both facets. Her ability to play solid post defense, hustle for loose balls, rebound and run the break accentuated her scoring.

> OIA: 11 ppg, 0 treys, FT 26-53 .491
> OIA playoff, vs. Leilehua: 12 pts, 0 treys, FT 2-2
> Total: 10 ppg, 1 trey, FT 32-61 .525
> vs. Waiakea: 14 pts (7-17 FG, 0-2 FT), 18 reb (7 off), 5 stl, 2 TO
> vs. KS-Maui: 11 pts (3-15 FG, 5-6 FT), 8 reb (3 off), 1 ast, 3 stl, 1 TO
> Total: 12.5 ppg (10-32 .313 FG; 5-8 .625 FT), 13.0 rpg (5.0 orpg), 0.5 apg, 4.0 spg, 1.5 tpg

Kalani’s transformation from a D-II powerhouse into a D-I league champion came during Luke’s run. They may have even more success next season, as is often the case after key players graduate because the program’s culture has been properly designed by coaches and well preserved by seniors like Luke.

Saydee Aganus, Kamehameha-Hawaii, 5-7, Sr.
The Warriors’ floor general averaged 11 points and shot 55 percent from the free-throw line. She came up large at the D-II state tourney, earning MVP honors.

> BIIF: 11 ppg, FT 22-40 .550
> Total: 11 ppg, FT 29-53 .547
> vs. Le Jardin: 12 pts (6-11 FG, 0-0 FT), 7 reb (3 off), 2 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk, 3 TO
> vs. Roosevelt: 14 pts (6-11 FG, 2-2 FT), 4 reb (1 off), 7 ast, 3 stl, 2 blk, 1 TO
> vs. St. Francis: 18 pts (5-10 FG, 7-10 FT), 11 reb (5 off), 2 ast, 4 stl, 2 blk, 6 TO
> Total: 14.7 ppg (17-32 .531 FG; 9-12 .750 FT), 7.3 rpg (3.0 orpg), 3.7 apg, 3.0 spg, 2.3 bpg, 3.3 TO pg

Simply dominant against a depleted St. Francis squad in the D-II final. Aganus was an All-Defensive Team selection in 2017. There’s a case to be made that she was a top 15 player statewide, and the talent, power and skill are clearly there. But at 11 points per game, it’s a tough sell to the voting panel.

Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu, ‘Iolani, 5-7, Fr.
The future is extremely bright for the Raiders and their corps of underclassmen, from PG Tori Maeda to wing Alexsandra Huntimer to Kyra Tanabe to Lefotu Wahinekapu. She opened her prep carer with 18 points against Lahainaluna, later scored 20 against Oregon City, and 16 against Naha Senior (Okinawa). She had a regular-season high 19 against Mid-Pacific, and tallied 18 against league champion Maryknoll. She also scored 23 (three treys) in state-tourney play against Kalani.

Her 12 points per game and 74-percent clip at the foul line are way above the norm for any freshman. But it’s not just numbers. There were stretches in many games where she was simply a defensive whiz on fullcourt pressure, providing instant offense off steals, hitting 3s, driving for buckets.

> ILH: 11 ppg, 16 treys, FT 32-42 .762
> Total: 12 ppg, 23 treys, FT 52-70 .743
> vs. Kahuku: 11 pts (3-8 FG, 4-4 FT), 2 reb, 2 stl, 1 turnover
> vs. Lahainaluna: 3 pts (0-6 FG, 3-4 FT), 3 reb, 2 ast, 5 stl
> vs. Moanalua: 7 pts (3-9 FG, 0-0 FT), 3 reb, 2 ast, 4 stl, 1 turnover
> vs. Kalani: 23 pts (9-17 FG, 2-2 FT), 11 reb, 5 stl, 1 blk, 0 turnovers
> Total: 11 ppg (15-40 .375 FG, 9-10 .900 FT), 4.8 rpg, 1.5 apg, 4.0 spg, 0.5 tpg

Extremely instinctive, great hands and anticipation, playing in a system that is a perfect fit for her strengths. Explosive with the ball, and she will be even more effective as her long-range shot improves. Lefotu Wahinekapu, Taylor Wu and Maeda make ‘Iolani the favorite to win ILH next season. They surpassed Kamehameha once Wu returned. Lefotu Wahinekapu has the bloodline of the family that produced former Kalaheo standout Sharon Wahinekapu. They’ve very similar in style and athleticism, but I’m not sure if Sharon was this good as a freshman. We need a time machine to really compare.

Dahlis Sablay, Mililani, 5-2, So.
Explosive off the dribble, much-improved pull-up jumper (to 3-point range), great intensity and ferocity as a natural floor leader. She had some big scoring outbursts in regular-season play – in a so-so OIA West — but still pumped in 16 points against Kaiser and 19 against eventual league champion Kalani.

> OIA: 14 ppg, 24 treys, FT 35-50 .700
> OIA playoff, vs. Kaiser: 16 pts, 5 ast, 4 stl, 1 trey, FT 5-8
> OIA playoff, vs. Kalani: 19 pts, 2 treys, FT 7-9
> Total: 12 ppg, 24 treys, FT 36-53 .679
> @ KS-Maui: 10 pts (3-11 FG, 1-2 FT), 7 reb (1 off), 1 ast, 1 stl

Fiery and competitive, Sablay was fearless taking defenders into the paint, and her deep range was another key part of her game. The injury to teammate Kalena Gibson was a tough blow to the Lady Trojans’ season.

Gieani Balino, Campbell, 5-6, Sr.
Tremendous start to the season by the streaky senior, averaging more than 22 points per game in five nonconference games. Eventually, the rest of the OIA game planned for Balino, but she still put up solid numbers against McKinley 16 points) and Kahuku (21) in the playoffs. Radford (10) and Kaiser (12) kept her well under her average. She scored 24 in a state-tourney loss on the road at Waiakea.

> OIA: 16 ppg, 18 treys, FT 49-65 .754
> Total: 17 ppg, 30 treys, FT 70-96 .729
> vs. Waiakea 24 pts (8-19 FG, 4-6 FT), 6 reb (1 off), 4 ast, 2 stl, 12 TO

Balino was one of the best Saber scorers in some time, making the best of the situation as one of her team’s tallest players at 5-foot-6.

Chayse Milne, Maryknoll, 5-8, Sr.
Enormous potential, has a lot of scoring tools, a playmaker who took a lot of chances with the ball. Given the depth of this roster, that high-risk approach was more than the Spartans were willing to have on the court for extended minutes in the latter part of the season.

> ILH: 5 ppg, 16 treys, FT 10-18 .556
> Total: 5 ppg, 24 treys FT 12-22 .545
> vs. Kamehameha-Maui: 10 pts (3-3 FG, 2-2 FT), 5 reb, 1 turnover
> vs. Waiakea: 4 pts (1-5 FG, 2-3 FT), 4 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 1 turnover
> vs. Konawaena: 3 pts (1-4 FG, 0-0 FT), 2 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 turnover
> Total: 5.7 ppg (5-12 .417 FG; 4-5 .800 FT), 3.7 rpg, 0.7 apg, 1.0 spg, 1.0 tpg

In a different scenario, Milne could’ve had the capability to be a mass producer of points, but on this roster, she was a deft wing defender and wound up as a key reserve as the Lady Spartans won their fourth ILH title in a row.

Moe Notoa, Maryknoll, 5-8, Sr.
Show flashes of tremendous scoring skills at times, but on this deep roster, Notoa’s touches on the low post were moderate. A nice shooting touch from mid-range in.

> ILH: 7 ppg, 2 treys, FT 16-22 .727
> Total: 7 ppg, 2 treys, FT 30-44 .682
> vs. KS-Maui: 6 pts (2-5 FG, 1-4 FT), 8 reb (3 off), 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 3 TO
> vs. Waiakea: 12 pts (4-7 FG, 4-4 FT), 6 reb (4 off), 3 ast, 1 stl, 1 blk, 1 TO
> vs. Konawaena: 3 pts (1-10 FG, 1-1 FT), 0 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl, 1 TO
> Total: 7 ppg (7-22 .318 FG, 6-9 .667 FT), 4.7 RPG (2.3 ORPG), 2.3 APG, 1.0 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 1.7 TPG

Normally a efficient shooter, she went cold against Konawaena’s sticky man-to-man defense. Still, Notoa had a solid season as a role player for the four-time ILH champions

Alayna Akiona, Kalani, 5-7, Fr.
Several promising ninth graders emerged this season and Akiona was possibly the best pure shooter of the class. With a multitude of ballhandlers on the roster, Akiona’s role was primarily as a spot-up, catch-and-shoot gunner from the arc and she often delivered.

> OIA: 10 ppg, 32 treys, FT 20-28 .714
> Total: 9 ppg, 47 treys, FT 32-46 .696
> vs. Waiakea: 20 pts (6-12 FG, 5-6 FT), 8 reb (2 off), 1 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk, 6 turnovers
> vs. Kamehameha-Maui: 9 pts (2-10 FG, 3-4 FT), 4 reb (2 off), 1 stl, 2 turnovers
> vs. ‘Iolani: 0 pts (0-0 FG, 0-0 FT), 1 reb (injury)
> Total: 14.5 ppg (8-22 .364 FG; 8-10 .800 FT), 2.0 rpg (1.3 orpg), 0.3 apg, 0.7 spg, 0.7 bpg, 2.7 tpg

If she can continue to develop her versatility, the sky’s the limit. She’s athletic, always balanced, works hard on defense. If and when she becomes a consistent rim attacker, that shooting touch at the free-throw line becomes a huge weapon in addition to her long-range threat.

Jazelle Dorser, Waiakea, 5-8, Fr.
Talented, versatile and so young. She showed flashes of becoming a double-double performer. Going forward, Waiakea’s climb to the state semifinals might be small stuff compared to what the potential is.

> BIIF: 13 ppg, 0 treys, FT 24-40 .600
> Total: 10 ppg, 0 treys, FT 36-64 .563
> vs. Kalani: 21 pts (7-14 FG, 7-12 FT), 11 reb (5 off), 4 stl, 1 blk, 2 TO
> vs. Maryknoll: 7 pts (3-8 FG, 1-1 FT), 1 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk, 5 TO

Huge upside and though Waiakea hasn’t broken through the aura of Konawaena in the BIIF yet, it is possible… the top two teams in the state next season could be from the Big Island. Dorser’s progress will be a major key for a team that has virtually no center.

Kaylen Kamelamela, Leilehua, 5-9, Jr.
One of the most resilient offensive forces in the OIA West. At first glance, her pull-up J reminds me of some of the iconic players of a decade ago. Built a lot like high-school Rachel Kane.

> OIA: 15 ppg, 17 treys, FT 4-8 .500
> OIA playoff, vs. Kaimuki: 23 pts, 2 treys, FT 1-3
> OIA playoff, vs. Kalani: 7 pts, 1 trey, FT 0-0

She can play either guard position and has excellent change-of-speed ability with the ball.

Kellie Okamura, ‘Iolani, 5-6, Sr.
Okamura’s athleticism and energy level were key to the Raiders’ uptempo game. She had some of her best performances at the state tournament.

> ILH: 9.6 ppg, 9 treys, FT .652
> Total: 10.1 ppg, 12 treys, FT .744
> vs. Kahuku: 14 points (4-10 FG, 5-6 FT), 4 rebounds (2 offensive), 6 assists, 3 steals, 0 turnovers
> vs. Lahainaluna: 14 points (5-10 FG, 4-4 FT), 2 rebounds (2 offensive), 2 steals, 1 turnover
> vs. Moanalua: 20 points (9-12 FG, 0-0 FT), 3 rebounds (2 offensive), 3 assists, 4 steals, 3 turnovers
> vs. Kalani: 14 points (7-13 FG, 0-0 FT), 5 rebounds (3 offensive), 2 assists, 2 steals, 2 turnovers
> Total: 15.5 PPG (25-45 FG, .556; 9-10 FT, .900), 3.5 RPG (2.3 ORPG), 2.8 APG, 2.8 SPG, 1.5 TPG

> Skinny: Her efficiency at the state tourney was stunning. Though she still wasn’t the offensive juggernaut of her team, her percentages were very solid, and the best part of her game is on defense. Okamura is high-energy, constant on-ball pressure and roaming for rebounds. As long as that perimeter shot keeps improving, she will help a team at the next level because she doesn’t have a weakness in her overall game.

Kawena Kaohimaunu, Konawaena. 5-6, Sr.
Biggest stat: 27 points on nine 3-pointers against Kealakehe.

> BIIF: 8 ppg, 15 treys
> Total: 9 ppg, 26 treys

Like gunners of the past at Konawaena, Kaohimanu could get hot in a jiffy or be cold for long stretches. Her offense wasn’t just about hitting shots. The threat of her streaky shooting was enough to space the floor for the Wildcats’ slashers, and her defense was strong enough to provide a key asset to the undersized, but technically brilliant state champions.

Jewel Paaluhi-Caulk, Kamehameha, 5-7, Sr.
For a good stretch, the Warriors were the best team in the state despite early-season adversity. Paaluhi-Caulk was the glue once she got back on the hardwood.

> ILH: 11 ppg, 10 treys, FT 19-28 .679
> Total: 12 ppg, 13 treys, FT 33-54 .611

Sometimes, “Princy” was in complete control of games with her smooth handles, court vision and explosiveness to the bucket. The college game will fit her style — and personality — quite well. A true competitor.

Delylah Sanerivi, Moanalua, 5-10, Sr.
Excellent instincts and shooting touch on the block. She stepped up against Kahuku and its standout center, Sisilia Kaufusi, with 21 points and 14 rebounds.

> OIA: 11 ppg, 0 treys, FT 27-66 .409
> OIA playoff, vs. Kapolei: 9 pts, 18 reb, 0 treys, FT 3-4
> OIA playoff, vs. Radford: 11 pts, 0 treys, FT 1-5
> Total: 12 ppg, FT 28-68 .412

Sanerivi is also a solid middle in volleyball.

Taegan Keep, Kauai, 6-2, Sr.
Much like Moanalua C Delylah Sanerivi, Keep had some brilliant games before opposing defenses clamped down with double and triple teams. She still had a superb season.

> KIF: 13 ppg, FT 34-83 .410
> Total: 15 ppg

She is also a state champion in the shot put. Her future options are intriguing, to say the least.

Brilie Kovaloff, Mid-Pacific, 5-7, Jr.
Arguably one of the best juniors in the state. The turmoil at Mid-Pacific during the season dimmed what could have been a more interesting return to ILH Division I for the Owls.

> ILH: 15 ppg, 9 treys, FT 57-74 .770
> Total: 14 ppg, 11 treys, FT 71-93 .763

In 11 league games, Kovaloff scored in double figures all but three times and her FT percentage was outstanding. This was an Ernie Banks type of season, but unlike the Hall of Fame baseball legend, Kovaloff didn’t get many votes from coaches and media. She certainly was deserving of more.

Ashley Taylor Peralta, Kamehameha-Maui, 5-7, Sr.
A major factor in the Warriors’ rise this season. It’s never easy in the MIL, where Lahainaluna continues to dominate, but the Warriors became the second-best program with Peralta batting.

> MIL: 13 ppg, 1 trey, FT 17-32 .531
> Total: 11 ppg, 1 trey

If the Warriors develop more players like Peralta and Kimani Fernandez-Roy, a lot of interesting things could happen in the near future.

Mata Sagapolutele, St. Francis, 6-2, So.
The late-season knee injury was a devastating blow for Sagapolutele and the Saints, who were the favorite to win the Division II state title. She tried to play through it in the state final, but it was impossible. She has a consistent mid-range jumper and was their best post defender and rebounder.

ILH D-II: 7 ppg, FT 8-14 .571
Total: 7 ppg, FT 11-23 .478

After such a successful season, it was tough to see an injury derail the hard-working center. She’s just a junior, however, so there’s time to recover and make another title push next season.

Julia Fisher, Le Jardin, 6-1, Sr.
The Star-Advertiser All-State Fab 15 volleyball player was a double-double performer for the Bulldogs on the basketball court.

> ILH D-II: 13 ppg, FT 33-61 .532
> vs. Waipahu: 19 pts
> vs. Kamehameha-Hawaii: 11 pts

A fantastic career is winding up for the talented two-sport standout. Le Jardin rose to new heights in volleyball (state championship) and basketball during Fisher’s career.

*** All-Defense ***
1. Cherilyn Molina, Konawaena
Able to cover top scorers, point guards and then stepping up as a monster rebounder (10 per game) at the state tourney, there was nobody quite like Molina.

2. Isabella Cravens, Maryknoll
The state’s premier rim protector and defensive quarterback, or middle linebacker, communicating with her teammates and making life difficult for all foes in the paint.

3. Mikayla Tablit, Konawaena
A staunchly persistent perimeter defender, Tablit also stepped up like Molina as a major rebounder at the state tourney (nearly 10 per game).

4. Kalena Gibson, Mililani
Swift afoot, great anticipation and footwork on the post, and able to blanket smaller guards on the perimeter. Gibson is a luxury for any coach to have as a defender.

5. Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole, Maryknoll
Lanky, long, opportunistic. Kamakawiwo‘ole often looked like a girls basketball version of Scottie Pippen, rebounding, contesting shots, sometimes swatting shots. Her length and quickness made things tough for opposing guards and wings.

6. Rhianne Omori, Maryknoll
Always tough on opposing point guards, Omori covered all 94 feet and never seemed to tire. Quick hands, smart decisions and quite physical, just a nightmare for many point guards to face.

7. Noelle Sua-Godinet, Kamehameha
Tremendous combination quick feet, long arms, able to block shots, play physically in the paint. She could also cover the 3-point arc and contest shots.

8. Kaelyn Espinda, Kaimuki
Taller than most opposing point guards, she was tough to score on. Cerebral defender who was also her team’s best rebounder, quick hands.

9. Rachael Balagso, Lahainaluna
Tough-nosed on-ball defender who made the Lunas fullcourt pressure go. She was the spark and trigger once again as Lahainaluna went unbeaten in MIL play.

10. Kodee Viena, Maryknoll
Strong, quick feet, able to cover wings and point guards, Viena combined with Kamakawiwo‘ole and other teammates to snuff out many of the best scorers in the state. Smart rebounder, but also very physical when necessary. Capable of guarding any position.

*** Most Improved ***
1. Kalena Gibson, Mililani
Gibson was expanding her role before a knee injury ended her season. She was counted on to be the Lady Trojans’ lock-down stopper against opposing scorers, a job she did tremendously well. She was becoming a more consistent scorer when the injury occurred. She’s a junior, so there’s a chance she will rehab and be back next season.

2. Sisilia Kaufusi, Kahuku
After a sophomore season at Maryknoll as a role player on the bench, Kaufusi returned to Kahuku and became a double-double threat with vast playing time. Improvement in skill set is a given with the work Kaufusi put in, but much of that has to do with minutes on the court, and this situation worked out quite well for her.

3. Kaelyn Espinda, Kaimuki
As a sophomore, she was a solid point guard and did a lot of the little things for a Bulldogs team that had big success in D-II. Espinda’s junior season was one of opportunity and growth as she became a constant rim attacker while still splashing long-range 3s, defending and rebounding at a high level.


  1. Bruce March 17, 2018 10:31 pm

    Sorry but gotta put Mandy Kawaha from Hilo in the top fifteen. If Maryknoll had her on their team, they would of had a darn good chance to beat Kona. And that is not a joke. She dominated the BiiF tournament. Superior ball handling skills, great court vision and awareness, and very good shooter.

  2. BIIF Watcher March 19, 2018 6:06 pm

    @ Bruce I have to agree with you sir. I would hope that more attention would be given to the numerous kids who can play from the BIIF.

    Anyone who has been following the BIIF scene for the past few years know that Mandi Kawaha is a top 3-5 BIIF player and definitely a top 15 player in the state. Scoringlive has her in the top 15 in their site.

    In the August PAL tourney, Mandi and some girls almost upset Kona with Maryknoll’s Kamalu, losing in double or triple OT. I cannot remember. And NO ONE beats Kona up here.

    Kona was up 2 with seconds left. Mandi drove and hit a left handed layup at the buzzer to send it to OT. She has been doing this for the past few seasons.

    To not even have her mentioned in the honorable mention makes me scratch my head.

    Other solid kids are Anela from Keeau, Keeli from Waiakea, Mindy and Asia from Hilo. Lot of solid ones up here.

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