See the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 here
With or without their starting five intact, the Konawaena Wildcats aren’t missing a beat.
Nope. The music still plays and the defending state champions continue to be a unanimous selection as the No. 1 team in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10.
Chanelle Molina (ankle) and Mercedes Ihi Victor (back) have been sidelined for weeks now. This is where Coach Bobbie Awa’s persistent and consistent approach, using fundamentals on both ends, as well as a team-oriented philosophy on offense, is really at the forefront now.
Cherilyn Molina and Mikayla Tablit have picked up their offense, and somehow, with Victor (nearly 6 feet) and rebounding machine Chanelle Molina off the court, the Wildcats continue to defend well.
Not that there are any doubters left when it comes to Awa and her storied program. Certainly, though, hope may have reinvigorated in other hoops hotspots with the possibility that the two injured Wildcats may not return soon, or at all.
Since a 60-54 loss to Forestville Military Academy (Md.) at the Title IX tourney in Washington, D.C., the Wildcats have been rolling again. That includes this BIIF streak that has resumed even after Chanelle Molina’s injury in the last game of the Title IX tourney against Mays (Ga.).
W 65-41 Myers Park (N.C.), Dec. 29
W 73-51 Mays (Ga.), Dec. 30
W 86-7 Keaau, Jan. 4
W 76-21 Waiakea, Jan. 7
W 45-22 @ Honokaa, Jan. 12
W 50-14 Kealakehe, Jan. 14
W 69-43 @ Kamehameha-Hawaii, Jan. 15
W 91-11 @ Hawaii Prep, Jan. 18
W 71-17 Kohala, Jan. 21
The Wildcats will visit No. 5 Hilo on Friday. That would be a fun watch, plus a chance to be in the Vikings’ new gym.
Lahainaluna was one of the teams that took a sound defeat at the hands of Konawaena during preseason. The Lady Lunas are locked at No. 2 in the coaches and media poll, as are the next four teams in the poll. Recent history has given us a clear upper tier (Konawaena, Lahainaluna — last year’s state-tourney finalists) and a very competitive second tier of the next four teams in the rankings: Maryknoll and Punahou, which split their two games so far, plus Hilo and OIA powerhouse Roosevelt.
While Punahou continues to develop rapidly in the backcourt — Kamaile Kandiah was stunning in a third-quarter onslaught against ‘Iolani and Lexie Taylor has stepped up as a knockdown 3-point sharpshooter — Maryknoll’s depth, defense and uber-quick transition game are formidable.
Roosevelt has been sterling in OIA East play — though the division is far from what it was just a few years ago — thanks to the anchor of anchors, Keala Quinlan, and the solid play of guards Ashley Kiko and Alliya Gabriel.
See Part 2 here