After three forfeitures to begin the OIA regular season, Kaimuki’s girls basketball team is off the league schedule.
The recent revision on Dec. 30 shows no remaining games for the Bulldogs. They forfeited games against Moanalua (Dec. 23), Kalani (Dec. 28) and Kahuku (Dec. 30). Lack of players has hindered the program in recent seasons. This year, the program was down to four players after one student-athlete opted to play soccer instead.
Kaimuki isn’t the only girls basketball program struggling in the first season since the cancellation of winter sports last year. Anuenue forfeited its season opener against Kahuku on Dec. 23. On the same night, Castle forfeited to Roosevelt and Waialua forfeited to Campbell.
On Tuesday, there were four more forfeitures. Kailua bowed out against McKinley, Waialua forfeited to Waipahu, Anuenue forfeited to Farrington and Kaimuki-Kalani.
On Thursday, Kailua forfeited to Roosevelt, Castle forfeited to Kalani, Kaimuki forfeited to Kahuku and Waialua forfeited to Kapolei.
Positive COVID cases are on the rise across the state, affecting every high school sport. A number of preseason games in boys basketball were recently cancelled due to positive cases, and more have been scratched off the slate as a precaution.
Even before the pandemic, numbers were declining in OIA girls basketball while volleyball, softball and soccer remained fairly robust. The future of girls basketball in the OIA seems grim at schools with smaller enrollments. A number of programs were unable to field junior varsity teams. The level of parity across the state has declined with lower numbers at several mid- and small-sized high schools.
The preponderance of forfeitures, though, seems isolated to the OIA. The spike in positive cases, mostly due to the Omicron variant, has resulted in consecutive days of more than 3,000 new cases. There have been, however, no reports of cluster outbreaks at high schools.
Just four years ago, Kaimuki played in the OIA Division I championship game. In ’16, ’15 and ’10, then-coach Mona Faasoa guided the Bulldogs to OIA D-II titles.
Castle was the OIA D-II champion in ’19.
The good news is that Anuenue, Castle and Kailua remain on the schedule. Games are being played, Spectators with proof of vaccination are still allowed. Spectators who are not vaccinated must show a negative test result — from a certified site — within 48 hours of the event.