Konawaena closes season at No. 1 in Top 10

The Konawaena Wildcats upset top-seeded Maryknoll 47-32 on Saturday at Blaisdell Center to capture their fourth consecutive girls basketball state title. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Feb. 3, 2018)

Numbers reflect action.

For nine weeks, Maryknoll was the No. 1 team in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10. Not just the team at the top, but the Lady Spartans were a unanimous No. 1 from the first poll until last week.

Today, voters followed the action and Konawaena is No. 1 in the season finale, collecting all 14 first-place votes. The Wildcats (26-2) ran the table at the Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships, beating Moanalua 59-32, No. 3 Lahainaluna 50-45 and, ultimately, then-No. 1 Maryknoll 47-32 in the final. That’s a dynastic run of four straight state crowns, and nine in the last 15 seasons for the Wildcats under Coach Bobbie Awa and staff.

All season long, Konawaena was in the unusual position of being the team chasing others in the poll. Once again, Awa developed her secondary players better than just about any other team did, and the result is that seniors Cherilyn Molina and Mikayla Tablit are two of the rare players who have won state titles in all four seasons of their high school careers. The last team to four-peat was the Nani Cockett-led Kamehameha Warriors (1990-93).

Maryknoll (28-3) finished the season at No. 2, a four-time ILH champion.

Lahainaluna (22-5), winner of 146 consecutive MIL games, landed at No. 3 in the voting by coaches and media.

The ‘Iolani Raiders held on to their No. 4 ranking. ‘Iolani (17-9), which lost to Lahainaluna 38-36 in the quarterfinal round, routed Moanalua and Kalani to close out the tourney. The Raiders played without starting guard Taylor Wu, who was not eligible for HHSAA participation because she was not enrolled at ‘Iolani at the official start date in November.

Waiakea (18-10), the senior-free team that finished second to Konawaena in the BIIF, was voted No. 5, two spots higher than last week. The Warriors edged Kalani 55-54 in a quarterfinal game that went into overtime, easily one of the most thrilling games of the tournament. Then, they lost to Maryknoll 75-40 and led Lahainaluna for three quarters before losing 52-45 in the third-place game.

There are seven teams in the state that are Warriors: Kamehameha (Kapalama), Kamehameha-Maui, Kamehameha-Hawaii, Kapaa, Waiakea, Lanakila Baptist and also Kamehameha II. Voters haven’t forgotten the talented team at Kapalama Heights, pegging them at No. 6. Kamehameha (17-6) was at No. 2 for a long stretch before ‘Iolani became their kryptonite, leaving the Warriors stranded. They were the highest-ranked team to miss the state tournament.

OIA champion Kalani (14-10) stepped one notch higher to No. 7. After the loss to Waiakea, the Falcons edged Kamehameha-Maui 37-34 on a 26-foot 3-pointer by senior Kaylie Espinas in the final minute. They finished the tourney with a 59-37 loss to ‘Iolani as freshman sharpshooter Alayna Akiona played just a few minutes before sitting with injured ribs.

Kamehameha-Hawaii (16-4) entered the Top 10 for the first time this season after sweeping through Le Jardin 53-21, Roosevelt 51-25 and previously unbeaten St. Francis 41-32 to capture the Division II state title. Their early-season wins were over Hawaii Baptist, Kaiser and Mid-PacIfic. KS-Hawaii’s only losses were to the BIIF’s best: Honokaa, Waiakea, Hilo and Konawaena.

St. Francis (25-1) dropped four spots to No. 9. The Saints were compromised by injuries to Trisadee Kekahuna and Mata Sagapolutele during the state tourney, losing to KS-Hawaii in the final. They finished 4-1 against teams that are or were ranked in the Top 10.

Hilo and Kamehameha-Maui shared the No. 10 spot in the final poll. Hilo (13-4) was the second-best team to not qualify for the state tourney. Among the teams the Vikings beat in BIIF play was Kamehameha-Hawaii (48-34).

KS-Maui (12-9) eliminated Mililani 35-27 in the opening round of the state tourney before losing to Maryknoll and Kalani.

Sacred Hearts, Kahuku, Mid-Pacific, Moanalua and Mililani also received votes.

Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10

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


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