Latest shuffle vaults Kaimuki into Top 10

Kaimuki's Kaelyn Espinda (20) took aim for a three pointer in the second half of Friday’s game against Kalani. Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser
Kaimuki’s Kaelyn Espinda (20) took aim for a three pointer in the second half of Friday’s game against Kalani. Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser

There’s no question that there is a surplus of quality teams in boys basketball, more than we see in girls hoops.

And yet, that doesn’t diminish my interest in how many of the lower-enrollment, competitive programs are faring this season in girls basketball. KS-Maui continues to roll in the MIL against all teams not named Lahainaluna. Seabury Hall leads MIL D-II despite splitting with Molokai in a home-and-away two-day series — with the road team winning closely in each game.

Waiakea is unbeaten in BIIF play with showdowns ahead against Hilo and Konawaena. Seeing so many former powerhouses in the BIIF now at a middling pace — the league is far more interesting when Kohala is contending — is still mind-boggling for me. Shocking, no.

Meanwhile, back on Oahu, the OIA playoffs are around the corner. It has not been a powerful season for the West and the East; opportunities have been plentiful. Roosevelt, Kalaheo, even Kailua all struggled, and the only reason I note them is because of the success each program has enjoyed in the past. It’s a different era, no doubt about it.

No major disagreements with the voting this week. I have Punahou quite a bit higher, but then again, media and coaches often punish a team that doesn’t post a key win — or any kind of victory — consistently enough. Kaimuki got its share of attention, jumping into the Top 10 and landing at No. 8 after finishing 9-1 to gain the top seed in the OIA East. The Bulldogs are heavily dependent on long-range shooting and ball control, and play tough-nosed defense the way Coach Mona Fa‘asoa demands.

Here’s how panelists in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 voted in Tuesday’s poll.

Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10
Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2016
Rank, School (first-place votes), Points [previous rank]
1. Maryknoll (11), 110 [1]
2. Konawaena, 97 [2]
3. Lahainaluna, 82 [3]
4. ‘Iolani, 77 [4]
5. Kamehameha, 67 [5]
6. Hilo, 60 [6]
7. Leilehua, 30 [7]
8. Kaimuki, 28 [NR]
9. Farrington, 26 [9]
10. Punahou 15 [8]
Also receiving votes: Mililani 9, Waiakea 4

Pupule’s ballot 1/16/17
(Win-loss records as of Monday, Jan. 16)

1. Maryknoll (23-1, 10-0 ILH)
> Repelled ‘Iolani (47-34), won at Kamehameha (51-39).
> Still unbeaten against in-state competition. Balanced scoring, outstanding interior defense, solid control at the point. Now and then, their youth shows, but this starting five is entirely underclassmen. The future is so bright.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

2. ‘Iolani (11-6, 6-4 ILH)
> Beat Punahou (53-42) and lost at Maryknoll (47-34) last week. Split with Kamehameha so far this season. Were the Raiders fatigued last week due to finals? Yes. Does it factor into my ballot? No.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

3. Kamehameha (14-4, 5-4 ILH)
> Lost to Maryknoll (51-39), won at Sacred Hearts (48-38). The ILH season is a gauntlet. I rarely penalize a team on my ballot for losing to Top 5 teams, let alone Top 10 foes.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

4. Konawaena (20-3, 8-0 BIIF)
> Unbeaten in BIIF play. The record above doesn’t reflect a 55-30 win over Hilo on Tuesday. The Wildcats are still a dynastic program and though they struggled at the ‘Iolani Classic, there is a two-month span between that tourney and the state championships. They could defend the state title and it wouldn’t be a surprise, but my week-to-week vote is based primarily on head-to-head, not forecasts.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

5. Lahainaluna (14-3, 10-0 MIL)
> Unbeaten in MIL play. Preseason losses were to Maryknoll (38-33), Kamehameha (33-25) and Konawaena (47-26). The first two defeats — the Lunas suited up just five players. The loss to Konawaena was at Lahainaluna’s tournament.
> Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

6. Punahou (8-9, 3-8 ILH)
> Lost to Kamehameha, at Maryknoll and at ‘Iolani in the past 10 days. This doesn’t include a 55-45 loss to Kamehameha on Tuesday.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

7. Hilo (14-0, 8-0 BIIF)
> Unbeaten in BIIF play. Beat Waiakea (35-32) on Dec. 16. This doesn’t reflect a 55-30 loss at Konawaena on Tuesday.
> Sumo rank: Ozeki.

8. Farrington (11-4, 9-1 OIA East)
> Seven-game win streak includes wins at Kahuku (59-46), Kalani (60-45). Rare case of voting for a team higher than a foe it lost to (Kaimuki). In the four weeks since, Farrington has transformed.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

9. Kaimuki (13-8, 9-1 OIA East)
> Won nine of last 10 games, including Farrington (50-35), at Kahuku (47-39), Kalani (58-42). A matchup with Farrington would be intriguing. The Bulldogs are shooting lights-out from 3-land (10 treys against Kahuku), while the Govs have, perhaps, the most unstoppable force in prep hoops — Moli Heimuli.
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

10. Leilehua (14-9, 9-1 OIA West)
> Eight-game win streak includes at Campbell (47-42), Mililani (46-41), at Kapolei (29-25). Against Top 10 teams: lost to Konawaena (50-23), lost to Hilo (56-47), beat Kaimuki (36-29), lost at Lahainaluna (51-37), lost to Kalani (52-46), lost to Maryknoll (57-27), lost to Konawaena (47-25).
> Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Mililani (14-4, 8-2 OIA West)
> The Lady Trojans have a variety of weapons, but putting it together consistently is key.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kamehameha-Maui (8-2 MIL)
> Only two losses in MIL — to Lahainaluna (51-40, 46-36). Beat Baldwin (53-26) last week.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kalani (12-8, 7-3 OIA East)
> Lost three of last five games (Kaiser, at Farrington, at Kaimuki). Still the best of the D-II programs in the OIA.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Sacred Hearts (7-12, 0-10 ILH)
> Five-game losing streak, all to Top 10 teams. Wins include Kalani (55-52), Farrington (45-40), at HBA (43-28). There are a handful or so of teams that are stuck somewhere between D-I and D-II, particularly in the ILH. If the Lancers were in the OIA, they’d probably be a D-I state-qualifier.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Waiakea (13-2, 8-0 BIIF)
> Preseason: beat Leilehua (51-35), lost to Hilo (35-32) and Mililani (49-44). Unbeaten in BIIF play, routing competition by 32, 36, 50 and 57 points in their last four games. Hilo and Konawaena are next.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Nanakuli (11-5, 8-2 OIA West)
> The two losses in league play were wipeouts: 51-26 against Mililani and 51-29 against Leilehua. Still, the Golden Hawks have come a long way since their D-II years.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Mid-Pacific (14-3, 11-0 ILH D-II)
> Against ILH D-II, Owls are 10-0 including a win at HBA (58-44). Against D-I, 2-3: beat Campbell (45-35), at Moanalua (47-37), lost to Farrington (52-47), Maryknoll (45-29), Kamehameha (44-19). This doesn’t include a 43-37 win over St. Francis on Monday for the ILH D-II crown.
> Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kamehameha-Hawaii (9-6, 4-3 BIIF)
> Losses: Leilehua (47-45), Waiakea (38-37), at Konawaena (54-31), Waiakea (61-22), at Waiakea (63-46), at Hilo (46-39).
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

St. Francis (11-2, 9-1 ILH D-II)
> 10-game win streak includes Kaimuki (47-40) and 9-0 in ILH D-II. Wins over HBA (47-46). This doesn’t include a 43-37 loss at Mid-Pacific on Monday.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Hawaii Baptist (16-4, 8-2 ILH D-II)
> Losses in ILH D-II to Mid-Pacific (58-44) and at St. Francis (47-46). Also lost to Sacred Hearts (43-28). Second place in California tourney (3-1).
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Radford (10-5, 8-2 OIA West)
> Five game win streak ended at Mililani on Dec. 29, the night C Shaelie Burgess injured a knee. Rams also lost at Nanakuli, going 2-2 while she was out.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

‘Iolani II (10-1, 8-0 ILH I-AA)
> Unbeaten in ILH Division I-AA. Preseason loss to HBA (52-29). The D-II* Raiders have already clinched the title with one game left and a two-game lead over Kamehameha I-AA. The only glitch on their resume: a 52-29 loss to Hawaii Baptist.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kaiser (9-12, 7-3 OIA East)
> Won at Kalani 57-54 (Dec 30). Since then, lost to Kaimuki (44-28), won at Kalaheo (60-49), beat Roosevelt (45-36). Losses: at Leilehua (46-33), at Maryknoll (60-14), KS-Hawaii (50-30), at Waiakea (45-39), ‘Iolani (62-26), HBA (44-34), Kamehameha (62-22), Kalani (42-40), Maryknoll (54-20), Kahuku (32-25), at Farrington (45-34). The Cougars have won four of their last five, and that lone blemish was a loss to East leader Kaimuki.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kahuku (7-3 OIA East)
> The Lady Raiders have some very solid pieces. Logo Galeai is very tough on the pull-up mid-range J and Brittni Blake is very close to becoming a dominant post scorer. But the lack of perimeter accuracy is a factor.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Campbell (12-6, 7-3 OIA West)
> The Sabers’ three league losses were close: Nanakuli 46-43, Radford (44-37) and Leilehua (47-42).
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Damien (9-5, 8-3 ILH D-II)
> Preseason losses: Castle (38-35), Kamehameha I-AA (45-28). League losses were to Mid-Pacific (57-45), St. Francis (41-28), HBA (61-34).
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Seabury Hall (5-2 MIL D-II)
> Losses were to Lanai (52-42) and over the weekend to Molokai (24-22). The loss to Molokai at Seabury Hall was one day after the Spartans had beaten the Farmers at Molokai.
> Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Kauai (4-3 KIF)
> Losses: at St. Francis (39-28), McKinley (57-53), Waimea (40-36), Kapaa (44-43). The Red Raiders lost at Kapaa over the weekend (37-23).
> Sumo rank: Juryo.


  1. Education First January 18, 2017 2:07 pm

    I don’t know how Punahou can even be ranked. They are trending down. I saw a couple games and they are bad. Now they have talent. But the coaches have no idea what to do with it. The coaching is worse than the park leagues where moms and dads volunteer. I recently watched a couple of games to support my niece. They don’t know how to defend the flex cut. They are always trailing. The struggle to defend the dribble hand-off. These are simple things that are taught in intermediate or at the lower club levels. But they haven’t taught their team to do it.

    On offense, their new revolutionary play is the Pick and Pop. But they have no big that can step out and hit the long range shot. And I don’t think Dirk is showing up anytime soon. Then against Maryknoll they tried to run Pick and Roll and attack their big, Cravens. And all Cravens do was block their shots or alter it. That didn’t work either. Who does that? If you want to make Cravens uncomfortable you make her move in space. So how about dribble drive and go small? If they go zone, then stay small and play fast. I am not saying you are going to win, but anything is better than losing by 27 points.

    Many parents complained about Coach Kam which is why many people in the Punahou Girls Basketball Community speculated that Coach Kam’s resignation was due to the parents complaints and her coaching power stripped and/or lessened.

    Now Kuehu is running the team and she has no experience. She isn’t ready to run her local i9 team. No one is saying she won’t be a good coach. but as of right now, with limited coaching experience, she doesn’t know how to beat or coach her team to understand how to beat simple plays. And their wealth of resources isn’t being used properly.

    Right now they just match up their opponents and it’s not working. Since Coach Kam left, Punahou has only beaten Sacred Hearts and I think they are something like 1-5 or 1-6. That sucks. They should be ranked like #15 if that.

  2. Sports Fan January 19, 2017 11:34 am

    I realize that you think the OIA talent is watered down. Write an article about how pathetic most of the coaches are these days. Many of the coaches have never even played basketball and expected to be leaders? Come on, there are talented girls in the OIA limited by their stupid coaches.

  3. Education First January 19, 2017 1:59 pm

    The issue with coaching is finances and cost of living. That is one HUGE variable. First of all most coaching jobs in Hawaii for Girls Basketball pays peanuts. The pay scale ranges from $3500 – $1000/season.

    So someone who applies either has to already be wealthy, is into their career and has a lot of flexibility, a teacher who’s day ends before practices start, or a college student that doesn’t really need much money yet and have extra time.

    This really limits the talent pool. That is why I believe you have very green and inexperienced coaches.

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