It’s not going to be easy for the Konawaena girls basketball team to defend its 2015 ‘Iolani Classic title next week.
The Wildcats are one of eight teams — four from Hawaii — to participate in the three-day tournament that runs from Thursday to Saturday at ‘Iolani’s Lower Gym.
Of the four teams from the mainland flying in for the tournament, three are currently ranked in the top 13 of the USA Today Super 25 Expert rankings released Wednesday.
Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) leads the way at No. 2. The Monarchs open their season Saturday against Bishop O’Dowd before flying to the islands.
Clovis West (Calif.), which opened its season draining 12 3-pointers in an 83-27 win over Redwood (Visalia), is ranked No. 9.
Long Beach Poly (Calif.), which opens its season against Leilehua next Thursday, is No. 12. The Lady Jackrabbits have won ‘Iolani Classic titles in 2008, ’09 and ’13.
The opening-round matchups next Thursday are: Leilehua vs. Long Beach Poly (Calif.), 3:30 p.m.; Maryknoll vs. Clovis West (Calif.), 5 p.m.; ‘Iolani vs. Salesian (Calif.) College Prep, 6:30 p.m.; Konawaena vs. Archbishop Mitty (Calif.), 8 p.m.
The boys portion of the ‘Iolani Classic, which will include No. 2 Oak Hill (Va.) and No. 7 Findlay Prep (Nev.), will be held Dec. 16-21.