The ‘Iolani Raiders don’t flinch.
Ranked No. 1 in all seven previous Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 polls this season, ‘Iolani is now a unanimous selection for the first time. The Raiders collected all 10 first-place votes from coaches and media this week.
Despite being a season-long No. 1, ‘Iolani (17-6, 8-1 Interscholastic League of Honolulu) was far from a popular top pick twice. In week 1, Konawaena garnered six of the 10 first-place votes, but was outpointed by ‘Iolani.
In week 3, Kamehameha was atop six ballots, but was No. 2 in the point count despite beating ‘Iolani days earlier. Within a week, the Warriors lost to Punahou and hasn’t challenged for the top slot since.
Meanwhile, the Raiders are on a seven-game win streak in ILH play. Since losing to Kamehameha on Dec. 7, they have beaten Punahou (52-37), Mid-Pacific (56-21), Kamehameha (58-45), Punahou (59-36), and this week, Maryknoll (52-39) and Sacred Hearts (76-52).
The ILH run was staggered by two tournament appearances and a total of five losses to national powerhouses.
For No. 2 Lahainaluna, No. 3 Maryknoll, No. 4 Kalani and the rest of the Top 10, there’s one note to consider. ‘Iolani hasn’t been fully unlocked and unloaded just yet. The Raiders have played excellent games, but most of the season has been about the contribution of their deep roster as a sum of the parts rather than hellaciously good individual performances.
The return of guard Lily Lefotu Wahinekapu is almost immeasurable to ‘Iolani on both ends of the floor. Even without her, they learned to score and defend with efficiency. With her, the Raiders are a prototype of the kind of high-pace team that can get points in the paint, rain 3s and still defend at an elite level.
Waiakea made the biggest leap in the Top 10, going from No. 9 to No. 6 after ended Konawaena’s 124-game win streak in Big Island Interscholastic Federation play. Konawaena dropped just one notch to No. 7.
The tight circle of vote-getters expanded just a bit this week. Last week, only 11 teams received votes. This week, Mililani and Sacred Hearts got points. Mililani was just two points behind No. 10 Punahou.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Mar. 16|