By the end of this day, four teams will see the end of their basketball season, never to play beyond their Oahu Interscholastic Association schedule again.
Meanwhile, in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, the Division I girls playoffs are in motion, at least off the court. Kamehameha and Maryknoll, which finished tied for second place on Tuesday, had a draw on Wednesday afternoon to determine which team will host the tiebreaker game. Maryknoll won the draw and will host Kamehameha on Friday, 6 p.m.
The winner will have one of the ILH’s two first-round byes in the playoffs.
“I would like more basketball-related tiebreakers,” Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado said. “Combined wins of the teams you have beaten or point differential. A random draw should be your very last option.”
The OIA has used combined wins of a team’s defeated opponents as part of a three-way tiebreaker formula.
Offseason tournaments, particularly on the mainland, will use point differential to break ties in pool-play standings, but cap the usable margin at 15 points for any win or loss.
The Last Dance
The OIA tips off its Division I and D-II girls basketball playoffs tonight. When the clock strikes 6 p.m., the fate of eight teams in D-I and four in D-II hangs in the balance. Mid-January, and the season will be over for six teams.
In D-I, the first- and second-place finishers have opening-round byes. Higher seeds have hosting privileges until the semifinal and final rounds, which will be played at Radford. For opening-round winners, there is breathing room. They will advance to the quarterfinals, where those winners earn state-tournament berths. Quarterfinal losers will compete for the final two berths.
Nanakuli (West 6) at Kaiser (East 3)
Up next: The winner plays at Radford (West 2) on Thursday, 6 p.m.
Skinny: The Lady Cougars were a litmus-test team of sorts, going 13-1 against unranked teams and 0-9 against Top 10 squads.
These teams met on Nov. 20, practically a lifetime ago, at Kaiser. The Lady Cougars prevailed 53-39 before going through a jagged stretch of the season that included two tournaments. The win over Nanakuli was followed by losses to three ranked teams: Waiakea, Kamehameha and Punahou.
Then came wins over Farrington and Kaimuki, a one-point loss to McKinley — which barely missed the D-I playoffs — and losses to three more ranked teams in the ‘Iolani Classic.
By the end of the regular season, however, Kaiser’s resilient hoopsters finished OIA East play at 7-3 (13-9 overall). The same fire that has stoked them through the peaks and valleys of this 2018-19 season might be enough to push them to a state-tournament berth and much more. The OIA is not quite as heavy with deep teams as it has been in years past.
Kaiser has enough rebounding with Tanya Blakeney and Stephanie Cannon to punish weaker teams in the paint. There’s enough scoring in the backcourt with Trinidee Kahunahana to make the Cougars a tough matchup in the first two rounds, at least.
Nanakuli (4-13, 4-6 OIA West) has lost its last three games (Waipahu, Kapolei, Radford). Destiny Hicks is the Golden Hawks’ leading scorer at nearly 11 points per game.
Kaimuki (East 5) at Kapolei (West 4)
Up next: The winner goes to Kahuku for a quarterfinal game on Thursday.
Skinny: Kaimuki (12-11, 6-5 OIA East) has endured through low numbers, but still posted a winning record in league play. Senior Kaelyn Espinda is scoring nearly 20 points per game. Jasmine Chipen-Ii, Nani Pfeiffer-Kekoa, Samantha Cho, Sanoe Nisa — the Lady Bulldogs will need a boost from one, some, or all of them to advance. Sonia Park, their second-leading scorer, has been off the team since mid-December.
Kapolei (9-7, 6-4 OIA West) has picked up some momentum with wins over Nanakuli and Campbell to close the regular season. Hadassah Lasi Tuiolemotu has emerged as a formidable scorer with more than 14 points per game. Analisa Mimi Liotta (9 ppg), Sienna Alo and Julia Velasco, all underclassmen like Tuiolemotu, provide scoring punch.
Roosevelt (East 6) at Leilehua (West 3)
Up next: The winner goes to Kalani (East 1) on Thursday.
Skinny: The Mules came so close to earning a first-round bye. A win over Radford or Mililani in their last two games of the West season would have done the trick, but Leilehua lost to Radford in overtime, then lost at Mililani.
Now Leilehua (8-3, 8-2 OIA West) faces a dangerous foe, Roosevelt (11-8, 6-5 OIA East), that has been competitive. The Rough Riders gave Kaiser all it could handle in a 33-29 loss one week ago. At Kaiser.
Roosevelt has balanced scoring with Taylor Tateyama — a 3-point specialist — Sadie Ann Luis, Kanilehua Pitoy and Tia Sofa.
The Mules has won six games in a row before the losses Radford and Mililani. Kaylen Kamelamela is averaging nearly 17 points per game, a reliable scorer with a smooth pull-up jumper. Asia Castillo (11 ppg) and Victoria Canencia provide solid scoring.
Waianae (West 5) at Moanalua (East 4)
Up next: The winner goes to Mililani (West 1) on Thursday.
Skinny: Moanalua (11-8, 8-3 OIA East) is on a roll with seven wins in a row, but can Na Menehune stop Paige Ralph? She scored 24 points against Campbell and 31 against Waipahu. Yasmine Gianauot-Ching (11 ppg) is another key scorer for the Seariders (6-4 OIA West).
Moanalua relies on tough defense, allowing less than 40 points per game in OIA play. Raven Rosa-Lasco (11 ppg) is one of the league’s strongest slashers to the basket, and Dionna Woodson (12 ppg) is also a lockdown defender. Sierra Kauweloa is a scorer with 3-point range.