Start to finish, the ‘Iolani Raiders left little doubt.
Coming into the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships, defending champion ‘Iolani was the season-long leader atop the Star-Advertiser Top 10. But in recent weeks, the vote was not unanimous. In fact, two of the 10 voters who submitted ballots last week sided with BIIF champion Konawaena.
The only teams to beat ‘Iolani were Mater Dei, back in December, and Maryknoll, in January.
It stayed that way through the weekend.
The Raiders swept through Moanalua, Waiakea, and then rallied past Konawaena to capture their second state crown in a row. This time, all of the voters checked the box next to ‘Iolani (25-2) at No. 1. Konawaena (23-4) was on every ballot at No. 2, and Waiakea (20-3) collected all third-place votes.
The remainder of the Top 10 was a reshuffle with one exception — the arrival of Hanalani (15-2) at No. 10. The Royals were ILH Division II runners-up, but ran the table in the state-tourney at Afook Chinen Hilo Civic Auditorium. They won four games in four days, ousting Campbell (64-29), KIF champion Waimea (63-60) and Hawaii Baptist (52-42) before stunning top-seeded Mid-Pacific (40-37) for the D-II state crown.
The Royals replaced the Owls in this week’s poll.
The flu bug hit Maryknoll as the state tourney began, and the Spartans were a shell of their normal selves in a quarterfinal loss to Kahuku. Despite the loss, ILH runner-up Maryknoll (19-8) garnered enough votes to drop only one position to No. 4, ahead of No. 5 Kahuku (18-9), the only team that went through the OIA undefeated.
Kahuku lost to Konawaena (56-39) in the state semifinals, then lost to Waiakea (56-44) in the third-place game.
Recency bias struck Kamehameha (13-12), which fell a notch to No. 6 despite not playing since Jan. 25. The opposite was true of Hilo (10-5), which climbed a spot to No. 7. Hilo was 10-0 against unranked opponents and 0-5 against Top 10 teams. The Vikings’ losses were to Konawaena (42-39), Kahuku (55-47 in overtime), Konawaena (56-42), Waiakea (55-52) and Waiakea in the playoffs (54-50, OT).
Hilo had the ball with the score tied in OT against Waiakea in that BIIF semifinal loss. In the Kahuku game, a key starter did not play.
MIL champion Lahainaluna (12-8), like Maryknoll, will return its starting lineup next season. The Lady Lunas lost in the state quarterfinals to Waiakea (37-26), defeated OIA runner-up Moanalua (50-39) and lost to a refreshed Maryknoll squad (50-38).
Punahou (12-11) suffered a similar fate as Kamehameha, slipping two steps to No. 9. The Buffanblu ended their season on Jan. 25.
Four teams also received votes: King Kekaulike, Mid-Pacific, Hawaii Baptist and Maui.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10
|Updated: Feb. 10|