‘Iolani reigns at No. 1, Punahou leaps to No. 4

'Iolani guard Shyann Kahalehoe (25) drove to the basket around Kamehameha's Kaylee-Brooke Manuel (41) during a game earlier this month. Photo by Jamm Aquino/Star-Advertiser.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu Rubik’s Cube.

The ILH Million-Piece Puzzle.

The contortions of ILH girls basketball have led to plenty of ups and downs, but ‘Iolani remains the same, at least in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. The Raiders collected eight out of 10 possible first-place votes to remain at No. 1 for a fourth week in a row.

‘Iolani (12-3, 2-1 ILH) lost to Kamehameha and two powerful mainland teams, Pinewood (Calif.) and Clovis West (Calif.) in the past 11 days, but no challenger has emerged to seize the throne.

No. 2 Kamehameha (8-3, 3-1 ILH) had the best chance. The Warriors edged Maryknoll 68-64 in overtime on Wednesday, then lost to Punahou 44-40 at home on Saturday.

All of that acrimony opened a door of opportunity for Kalani, but injury and, possibly, fatigue entered the equation. The Lady Falcons, ranked third last week, pummeled Anuenue and Castle. Then came losses to nationally-ranked Incarnate Word (Mo.), and with Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole and Alayna Akiona out with injuries, a 45-44 loss to Sacred Hearts and a 62-52 loss to Lahainaluna.

Lahainaluna (7-4, 2-0 MIL) advanced one spot to No. 3 in this week’s Top 10. The Lady Lunas now have a streak of 149 consecutive wins in the MIL.

Punahou and Maryknoll are tied at No. 4 this week.

Punahou (8-1, 3-1 ILH) proved to be a matchup problem for Kamehameha. So, in this triangle of confusion, the Warriors lost to the Buffanblu, who lost to the Raiders, who lost to the Warriors. A few of the ballots have the Buffanblu as high as No. 2.

Maryknoll (12-2, 2-2 ILH), a team without any seniors, has two wins over Mid-Pacific and losses to Kamehameha and ‘Iolani.

Kalani (12-5, 4-0 OIA) dropped three notches to No. 6.

Konawaena (4-2, 4-0 BIIF) escaped with a 46-44 home win over Hilo on Wednesday and is locked in at No. 7.

Waiakea (10-3, 3-0 BIIF) routed Pahoa 86-8 and remained at No. 8.

Hilo (2-3, 1-1 BIIF) and Mililani (9-3, 4-0 OIA) round out the Top 10.

Mid-Pacific (4-8, 1-4 ILH) and Sacred Hearts (11-6, 0-3 ILH) also received votes. MPI defeated SHA 37-27 on Dec. 8. These teams do not meet until Jan. 8.


Key matchups

The ILH slate lightens just a bit this week as Christmas break approaches. No. 1 “Iolani has games away at Mid-Pacific on Tuesday and Kamehameha on Saturday. Then a break until Jan. 4 with a visit to Punahou.

No. 2 Kamehameha travels to Sacred Hearts on Tuesday before hosting ‘Iolani on Saturday. Then nearly two weeks with no game action until a trip to Mid-Pacific on Jan. 4.

No. 3 Lahainaluna has road trips Upcountry this week. The Lady Lunas will visit King Kekaulike on Tuesday and Kamehameha-Maui on Friday.

No. 4 Punahou is also on the road with games at Maryknoll on Tuesday and Sacred Hearts on Friday.

No. 4 Maryknoll hosts Punahou on Tuesday in a clash of tied teams in the poll. Then the Lady Spartans don’t play again until Jan. 4 with a game at Sacred Hearts.

No. 6 Kalani entertains Kahuku on Tuesday in a crucial OIA East showdown. The Lady Falcons then visit Kailua on Friday.

No. 7 Konawaena hosts Hawaii Prep on Wednesday and doesn’t play again until Dec. 26 with a home game against Kamehameha-Hawaii.

Eighth-ranked Waiakea has no games this week. The Warriors’ next contest is on Dec. 22 against KS-Hawaii.

No. 9 Hilo endured the school-night road trip to Konawaena last Wednesday and doesn’t have another game until Dec. 26. The Vikings go to Honokaa.

No. 10 Mililani travels to Waialua on Tuesday and plays at home against Pearl City on Friday.

And, finally, some coaches were asked to fill the blank for this statement: This 2018-19 girls basketball season is _________.

Here’s how some responded.

Chico Furtado, Maryknoll: “crazy.”

Richard Kasuya, Sacred Hearts: “filled with surprises.”

Dean Young, ‘Iolani: “A process. This basketball season is a process and a journey that’s been so rewarding as our players improve individually and collectively through the rigorous competition of the ILH and mainland opponents as they embody the One Team philosophy.”

Pua Straight, Kamehameha: “A BATTLE!!”

Frank Mauz, retired sportswriter: “Kapakahi.”

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10

Updated: 10/23
1.Kamehameha (10)100


  1. Burgla December 17, 2018 1:47 pm

    Any predictions for who the last two teams will be battling for the state championship?

  2. K-Town Uncle December 19, 2018 7:49 am

    Iolani vs. Kona. Iolani is the best team in my opinion. But someone has to beat Kona when it counts to knock them off their throne.

    On a side note, while I love watching Iolani play, I don’t think it’s very classy to press and push the ball late in the game being up 30-40. And I feel sorry for the 2 kids who didn’t get to come into the game until there was 2-3 minutes left in the game and their team was up over 20-30 the entire second half.

    I love winning, but I also love humility and class and showing the ladies how to be ambassadors for the game.

  3. Burgla December 19, 2018 8:37 pm

    Good observations; Iolani won’t make it against a good coach with SIZE to go with it. I like them against kona tho. These coaches need to do better with these kid’s feeling and emotions I agree.

  4. K-Town Uncle December 19, 2018 8:56 pm

    @Burgla, I heard that the coaches told the kids if they score 75, they all would get Waiola Shave Ice.

    It’s good to have incentives, but really, scoring a lot against an overmatched team?

  5. Burgla December 20, 2018 2:34 am

    If it’s the starters still playing agreed; not too classy. As a coach I feel you should always look for ways to keep players engaged, it’s hard when you’re up but setting goals is what good coaches do; developing the bench is proper. Good Luck with your team!

  6. Bobby Command December 20, 2018 7:57 pm

    Burgla, because of the quirky way our state basketball tournament is set up, maybe a better question is, who will be the final four? As we’ve seen, anything can happen in the semis and finals. My guess is Iolani, Kona, Kalani and Lahainaluna, and if Kalani’s injury problems can’t be resolved, then either ILH No. 2 or Hilo.

  7. Kamehameha dinosaur December 21, 2018 12:29 am

    Interesting that there is no mention of Kamehameha. I’m hoping they can win the ILH and then States. What seems likely is that there’ll be a lot of close games which will make for an interesting season. Imua!

  8. Burgla December 21, 2018 2:30 am

    Quirky is what it is; which makes coaching the deciding factors. The good coaches will be there: Iolani, Kona imo have the best shot they are always ready and adjust really good during gameplay. Kalani and lahainaluna just don’t have the coaching that matches their players; they both have awesome players but when it matters they fall short of expectations due to lack of coaching. Especially Kalani. Such talented players and they going backwards. Kamehama is in the picture

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