Can it be here already?
It sure can. Blink, hesitate or fall behind, and the ‘Iolani Raiders will be 94 feet upcourt hitting another 3 or layup. That’s the deal for the rest of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, which will have to deal with a speedy ‘Iolani squad that returns most of its rotation from a year ago.
Defending league champion Punahou will have something to say about that. So will contenders Kamehameha and Mid-Pacific. Punahou is in its first season in the past decade without longtime coach Mike Taylor, who resigned. Kamehameha has former Kalani coach Darold Imanaka in house.
Sacred Hearts rounds out the five-team field in Division I. The schools will play three round-robin series.
Tonight, ‘Iolani hosts Mid-Pacific in the regular-season opener for both squads.
Punahou has Star-Advertiser All-State Fab 15 selection Mysha Sataraka back for her senior year. The Buffanblu have Kekoa Taliaferro, a former assistant and JV coach, at the helm. They’ll be reloading after the graduation of center Hailey-Ann Maeda, the No. 3 selection to the All-State Fab 15.
Kamehameha has plenty back from last season, including a smooth shooter in Alohi Robins-Hardy.
Mid-Pacific has already made some noise off island, leading Konawaena by five points at the half before losing to the defending state champs at its tourney. But it’s ‘Iolani that has the most returning talent, including BYU-bound guard Kylie Maeda. She averaged 13.8 points per game in league play last season.
“We’ll see after this week,” Raiders coach Eddie Maruyama said. “Kamehameha has looked really good. I heard a lot of good things about Punahou. Mid-Pacific has good returnees. You never know when you play each other three times.”
Maruyama, who won a state title in boys basketball at Moanalua, is in his third season as girls varsity coach. He’s assisted by Glenn Young and Rodney Veary. The trio has roughly 90 years of coaching experience.
“You might as well round it off to 100,” Maruyama said.
‘Iolani reached the semifinals of the state tourney last season, losing to Konawaena. Punahou also reached the semifinal round, losing to Lahainaluna.
Division II in the ILH is comprised of:
They will play an integrated schedule with ‘Iolani I-AA, Kamehameha I-AA and Punahou I-AA, Maruyama said. The second round will consist only of D-II teams as they vie for state-tournament berths. The I-AA teams are not eligible for the D-II state tourney, but may scrimmage or have exhibition games with other programs.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser