Lady Spartans rule the throne — for now

Clovis West forward Bre'yanna Sanders and Maryknoll center Isabella Cravens fought for the ball during a game at the 'Iolani Classic. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.
Clovis West forward Bre’yanna Sanders and Maryknoll center Isabella Cravens fought for the ball during a game at the ‘Iolani Classic. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

The Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 came out Monday, always another opportunity to examine and nit-pick over something that has absolutely no bearing on anything substantial.

Anything close? No, just a couple of arguments: Konawaena should not move up ahead of ‘Iolani and Kamehameha by default, and why I still have Kamehameha-Maui on my ballot.

Here’s how coaches and media voted.

Star-Advertiser Top 10
Jan. 9, 2016
1. Maryknoll (11) 110
2. Konawaena 97
3. Lahainaluna 82
4. ‘Iolani 76
5. Kamehameha 74
6. Hilo 53
7. Leilehua 25
8. Punahou 24
9. Farrington 21
10. Mililani 18
Others receiving votes: Kaimuki 14, Waiakea 6, Kalani 3, Kamehameha-Maui 2.

Pupule’s ballot
1. Maryknoll (20-1, 7-0 ILH)
> No doubt here. The Lady Spartans are beating all in-state competition. If there’s the faintest whiff of a doubt, it would be the fact that they beat former national powerhouse Salesian (Calif.) by a modest margin while ‘Iolani routed that same team by 25 points.

2. ‘Iolani (9-5, 4-3 ILH)
> Of course, the Raiders should be here. They beat Salesian by 12* while Konawaena got beaten soundly by that same team. 1 + 1 = 55?? Great logic, voters. Just because ‘Iolani and Kamehameha split their regular-season games, you’ve diminished both teams? How about this: maybe the BIIF (and MIL) defending champions aren’t quite as great as last year, and the ILH has the three best teams at this point. Impossible? What? You thought the poll was based on your favorite team colors? OK, you’re excused.


3. Kamehameha (13-3, 4-3 ILH)
> The Warriors have high expectations and are meeting them almost to the hilt. They’ve played better and proven it on the court far more than any other team with the exceptions of Maryknoll and ‘Iolani. Their last two losses were 55-50 at ‘Iolani and 52-51 at Maryknoll. Three wins in a row since, including a 39-27 victory at Punahou last week.

4. Konawaena (10-3, 4-0 BIIF)
> Enough talent to repeat as state champions if the Wildcats play to their potential. What I saw at the ‘Iolani Classic was more kittenish than rowwrr. Since losing to Salesian 57-32, they’ve won seven in a row, all blowouts with the exception of a 50-45 win over Tustin at the WYBT in Kailua-Kona.

5. Lahainaluna (14-2, 9-0 MIL)
> The Lady Lunas, like the Wildcats, will probably not be seriously challenged in league play. They lost more starting talent than Konawaena did, so the learning curve is steeper. Or should be, on paper. But like Konawaena’s Bobbie Awa, Lahainaluna’s Todd Rickard has a formidable staff and a history of great teaching.

6. Punahou (8-6, 3-5 ILH)
> I won’t argue against Hilo at No. 6, but the Lady Vikings haven’t posted a Top 10 win yet. Punahou has: Kalani (twice), Kamehameha, Sacred Hearts (twice). If and when Punahou and Hilo meet, toss-up.

7. Hilo (11-0, 5-0 BIIF)
> I stand corrected. The Viks will have a Top 10 win as of today with Leilehua landing in the poll. So there’s that. They beat Waiakea 35-32 in mid-December, and since then their margins of victory have ranged from 7 (Kamehameha-Hawaii on Saturday) to 66 points (Pahoa).

8. Farrington (10-4, 8-1 OIA East)
> The most dangerous team in the world. After a stretch of struggle and tribulations, the Lady Governors are owning it on the basketball floor. Moli Heimuli isn’t their only talented baller, but she can be persistent and unstoppable from end to end. On top of that, she’s a lefty, and almost nobody is prepared to deal with a hook-shooting southpaw who runs the floor like a guard and pounds the boards like a center. They don’t need her to go 35/26 every game like she did against Kalani. She had just 10 points and Farrington still dominated McKinley 68-36 a few days later.

9. Kamehameha-Maui (5-2 MIL)
> Lost to Lahainaluna 46-36 last week. That’s a 10-point loss and an earlier 11-point loss to the Lady Lunas. They’ve beaten everyone else by 20 or more with the exception of Baldwin (33-31). 

10. Leilehua (12-9, 7-1 OIA West)
Playing their best of basketball of the season, the Lady Mules are. And instead of one player consistently able to create her shot (Kaylen Kamelamela), they’ve got several. They’ve also got a nice mix of skills from long-range bomber Shaylee Todani to ultra-quick scrambler Kimberly Owns to big center Abigail Flores. The sparkplug, however, is Chyel Palmer, who scores in spurts when she’s not in foul trouble. I’ve been waiting to see when the Mules would emerge, and they did it last week with clutch wins over Campbell and Mililani.

On the cusp

Kalani (11-7, 6-2 OIA East)
> Lost at Farrington. 

Sacred Hearts (7-9, 0-7 ILH)
> Still battling hard against the ILH’s D-I powers, but still no W while other teams like Farrington and Leilehua post key wins over ranked teams. SHA in a very tough spot, but for the first time in weeks, I’m not voting for the hLancers. 

Hawaii Baptist (14-4, 6-2 ILH D-II)
> The Eagles now have a 14-point loss to Mid-Pacific and a 1-point loss to St. Francis. 

Kaimuki (11-8, 7-1 OIA East)
> Already had two losses to unranked teams, then lost at home to Moanalua. Talented team, a work in progress. And in position to finish first in the East.

Radford (8-5, 6-2 OIA West)
> lost at Nanakuli, causing a tremor in the standings.

Waiakea (10-1, 5-0 BIIF)
> Very competitive in close losses to Hilo and Mililani. No substantial wins yet. The Warriors host Ka‘u this week, then entertain Hilo and Konawaena next week. Those might be fun games. Live stream anyone?

Mid-Pacific (11-3, 8-0 ILH D-II)
> The early loss to Farrington taking less weight now that the Govs are on the cusp. Update: Farrington made the Top 10 today; a loss to a ranked team is basically harmless in my book. The Owls’ only other losses were to Maryknoll and Kamehameha, both double-digit margins.

St. Francis (9-1, 7-0 ILH D-II)
> The win over HBA has me forgetting about the loss to ‘Iolani II. Almost.

University (6-2 ILH D-II)
> 29-point loss to St. Francis is an issue. The Junior ‘Bows also lost at Damien 40-23 last week.

Kamehameha-Hawaii (8-6, 3-3 BIIF)
> That early-season loss (47-45) to Leilehua not so bad now with the Mules in the Top 10. But the Warriors went to Waiakea and Hilo last week, lost both games. They have lost to Waiakea three times by margins of 1, 39 and 17 points.

‘Iolani II (9-1, 7-0 ILH D-IAA)
> 23-point loss to HBA still a splinter in the foot.

Kauai (3-2 KIF)
> KIF’s best team beat McKinley 57-53 during preseason. Then came a 3-1 run in league play until a 44-43 home loss to Kapaa last week.

Kaiser (8-12, 6-3 OIA East)
> Lost at home to Kaimuki 44-28 and beat Kalaheo 60-49. Until the recent 57-54 win over Kalani, the Lady Cougars had not beaten a ranked team in ages. They are 1-9 against Top 10 teams.


  1. Bobby Command January 11, 2017 7:31 pm

    From where I sit (and ask Pupule Paul, “Vox Konawaena” has been there since day one), except for major injury, everyone except Maryknoll and Kona are playing for third place.

  2. Paul Honda January 13, 2017 10:26 am

    Bobby, this is if we assume the real Celena Jane Molina shows up come state-tourney time. If she is at full strength and intensity, game changer.

  3. Bobby Command January 15, 2017 11:41 pm

    You’re gonna love this team when you see it, Pupule. Tanniya Uchida, Caylie Kaupu, Gracie Hing and Taviya Cabatbat? Konawaena does not rebuild. They reload.

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