Kona steady at No. 1 despite injuries (part 1)

Konawaena has been just fine without Chanelle Molina lately. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser
Konawaena has been just fine without Chanelle Molina lately. Jamm Aquino / Star-Advertiser

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


  1. Humble January 26, 2016 8:27 pm

    Paul please write fairly. You show no respect for Lady Lunas. Why point out the sound lost to Konawaena (your favorite team) ? Punahou lost soundly to Kona! Kona has crushed many teams. Lady Lunas have accomplished so much, respect that is earned. You almost mentioned every player from Kona, ILH, and OIA but no mention of any players from MIL. C’mon

  2. Paul Honda January 27, 2016 4:29 am

    Fairly? Konawaena has won six state titles in (if I remember correctly) the past 12 years. There are a few Oahu-centric basketball watchers who don’t appreciate or acknowledge this. I know a few personally, and it’s fine. But I’m not one of them. The Wildcats are the defending champions and they’ve been No. 1 in the poll all season to date.

    Lahainaluna has been fantastic during the past dozen years (and beyond). But even Coach Todd Rickard will tell you that he patterned their program, from the Menehune level on up, after the Stingrays and Wildcats.

    I was there last year when the Lunas played at Kaiser’s Ted Fukushima Invitational. When Cameron Fernandez said point blank, it doesn’t matter who transferred out, or how many transferred out. They were going to play hard and play to win a state championship. They got within one victory of their goal.

    Go back and read what I wrote then, and all the posts and articles about the Lady Lunas. If they had won six titles in 12 seasons and were ranked No. 1 now, sure, they’d get far more attention. But there is no disrespect, as you allude to. Keep it real, but keep it honest, “Humble.”

  3. Rams33 January 27, 2016 6:50 am


    I think Paul was more than fair with Lahainaluna by putting them in the top tier with Konawaena. To be honest, if Kona gets healthy, nobody else belongs in their tier.

  4. LunaLuna January 27, 2016 8:27 am

    It is true that Kona develops some great basketball players. But, where do they go after their finish their basketball careers?

  5. Paul Honda January 27, 2016 12:11 pm

    You can google that info. There are a LOT of Konawaena players who went on to college, both D-I and smaller colleges.
    But I thought you weren’t interested in Kona? It would be more interesting to hear you post about Lunas and their travels. Gonzaga and Indiana come to mind.

  6. Humble January 28, 2016 11:04 pm

    Please let me clarify. I never mentioned that Lunas should be right next to Kona. Kona has earned that spot and I agree that they are playing at another level. I’m pointing out that your coverage is tilted entirely towards Kona with little to no coverage of Lunas. I don’t recall any coverage about Lunas or their players. Hafoka, Fernandez or Koloi (hope I spelled it right). These girls earned scholorships to Div 1 schools, but, no mention of it in any of your coverages. You mentioned other players (great athletes also). But these girls are from Hawaii and to not acknowledge their talents or accomplishments is UNFAIR? After all, this is Hawaii Prep World.

  7. Humble January 28, 2016 11:19 pm

    What I’m really trying to express, is it would be great for you to give some coverage of these girls so that we can learn a little more about them. They will be coming here to participate in the State Championship Tournament and it would be great to know more about them as well. As of right now, we really don’t know much about them. Chanelle is phenomenal, perhaps the best player to come out of Hawaii. But lack of any coverage on these players, that clearly is talented is disappointing. Your coverage of football players committing to colleges are great. But none for these girls.

  8. Education First January 29, 2016 7:45 am

    I agree.

  9. The Rim January 29, 2016 2:37 pm

    Konawaena girls basketball deserves all the coverage and more if you ask me. Its about time the neighbor Island kids get respect, doesn’t matter if it is #2 Lahainaluna or #1 Konawaena, just be happy its the neighbor Island. Boys sports are dominated by Oahu, look at the boys DI basketball, Waiakea wasn’t mentioned ALL season long, yet they are undefeated in BIIF play and as I watched Kahuku / Farrington last night, Waiakea would take both teams.

  10. Humble January 29, 2016 10:30 pm

    The Rim, thats part of what I’m saying. Your talking about Waiakea and the lack of coverage for them. I’m talking about coverage both for the neighbor island teams and/or its players. Look at the cover story. They mention a player that transferred to California for his Senior year to play football and he has a story about verbally committing to the college of his choice. Now we have young ladies that have accomplished the same right here in Hawaii and no coverage. If I am told to keep it REAL and HONEST, then those that cover these stories need to do the same. Because ignoring something like a full scholarship to a college, any college, but in this case Division 1 college, that is a huge accomplishment that very few can say they got, regardless of what island they are from, boy or girls. To me, Chanelle is awesome and deserves the attention, but don’t ignore the other girls. I’ve watched these girls come to Oahu and play, and enjoyed their athleticism. To brush them aside and act like they are not worth covering is disrespectful and UNFAIR. I also want to clarify, that not just Lahaina girls but Hilo has some talent as well. I live on Oahu, but grew up on Kauai, and I don’t believe the neighbor islands should be content with some coverage is better than none. If you are talented and accomplished enough to earn a full scholarship in any sport, you should be acknowledged and rewarded by this and any website that supposedly is representing or covering Hawaii Prep World. Otherwise change it to Oahu Prep World.

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