The 33rd Annual ‘Iolani Prep Classic is upon us. That’s 33 years since the late Glenn Young cobbled together an event that was a dream come true. The girls tourney began in 2007, which makes this the 10th year of its existence, and like the boys, there have been some epic battles featuring some of the nation’s best teams.
As of 10:20 p.m., we have final results for day 1 of the Classic:
Long Beach Poly 81, Leilehua 31
Clovis West 67, Maryknoll 58
‘Iolani 57, Salesian 45
Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) 79, Konawaena 39
On Friday, Long Beach Poly will play Clovis West, 6:30 p.m.
‘Iolani will play Archbishop Mitty, 8 p.m.
Archbishop Mitty (Calif.) 79, Konawaena 39
Q4: So do two graduated players make this much difference? Apparently so. Nice floater in the paint by Tayvia Cabatbat. Fearless. 64-28.
Layup inside by 6-2 senior Tahlia Garza. OK, this is almost a unit of subs. No, not really. Three starters in the game, two subs for Mitty.
Cherilyn Molina at the line, 6:16. Makes one, 67-29.
Mitty’s reserves playing all out, of course. 77-35, 2:36. Cabatbat hits two FTs, 77-37.
What will be interesting, among other things, is Konawaena against Salesian tomorrow in consolation play. Salesian will bring defensive pressure, and that’s what Konawaena really needs to face in order to improve. I’d guess they have at least 25 turnovers, maybe close to 30. The Konawaena-Salesian game will be at 5 p.m.
Mitty? It’s really tough to gauge what they have. They simply were not challenged tonight, no fault of theirs or, really, Konawaena. The younger Wildcat defenders simply lacked the experience and hoops IQ to cut off all of those backdoor cuts for easy buckets.
This much is certain: if Coach Awa and her staff, which now includes daughter and former All-State point guard Dawnyelle Awa, mold this team into another championship winner, I will be stunned. Because right now, they’re a long way from that. They’ve got three experienced ballers and a whole lot of pups. Getting them to state-title winning level basketball? Only a few coaches have done this, proven they can do this, and Awa is one of them. So I wouldn’t be shocked. But I’d be stunned.
Q3: Mitty opens with two easy buckets and it’s a teachable moment for the Wildcats as Coach Awa calls time out. Young players, inexperience showing and they’re out of sync. I don’t know if their BIIF win streak is in danger, but this is the most vulnerable I’ve seen this program since Mana Hopkins and Hina Kimitete carried the load many years ago, in the stint between the first years of dynastic rule (Jessica Hanato, Jasmine Awa-Williams, Nancy Hoist, etc.) and the second run (Lia Galdeira, Dawnyelle Awa, Ihi Victor, Chanelle Molina). Time is on their side, no question. But everyone here is as stunned by Konawaena’s mortality as they were by ‘Iolani’s control in the win over Salesian.
Mitty’s lead is up to 49-33, 5:22, after a couple of missed FTs. They’re moving the ball at will and Konawaena is a step slow defensively.
At 4:47, Phillips inserts a five of all subs. Probably the the last run of the night for their starting five. Konawaena with at least five turnovers this quarter by veterans and newcomers alike. A few times, they look like they don’t know how to catch a ball. It’s insane to see. Then I have to remember this is a small high school with an enormously successful feeder program, but the numbers there are limited, too. All the stories I’ve heard about how so many youth-level players end up choosing soccer instead of basketball in high school. How crowds at Onizuka Gymnasium are nowhere close to as big as the boys games even though Konawaena has won seven of the last 13 Division I state titles.
I suppose it can be said this is a reversion to the mean. Eventually, this would be a young team with a learning curve like any other powerhouse program, and that they wouldn’t compete with nationally-ranked teams forever. But it’s still hard to grasp the visual.
Mitty leads 66-25, 2:15, now in a 2-3 zone. No, they’re floating to the strong side, daring the Wildcats to find a gap to drive through and pass to the wide-open teammate on the weak side. Phillips is still coaching her tail off. She’s demanding the same precision and awareness of her second and third units as she does of her starters.
Nice catch-and-shoot 3 from the top by Heleyna Hill. Wait. She’s not a reserve. I take it back. These ain’t all subs! Time out, Monarchs, 61-26, :54.
Guglielmo with a nice 3 from the top, 64-26. The Monarchs hit a shot from near halfcourt, but it’s after the buzzer.
End Q3: Mitty 64, Konawaena 26.
Q2: I’m waiting to see Celena Jane Molina attack the basket and it hasn’t happened yet. She hasn’t had the ball on the high post area to drive, which I think she can do effectively. The new additions to Konawaena’s roster are young, making some mistakes, no way to avoid that. They need this experience. Not sure if Cherilyn Molina can play like this for 32 minutes. She’s going full throttle on offense and defense.
Wildcats turnover at midcourt. Mitty turnover, carrying. Fast game, lots of giveaways.
Q1: Mikayla Tablit with a steal off the bat, and Cherilyn Molina with a hesitation move layup, 2-0. Molina to Caiyle Kaupu fpr a layup, 4-0.
Mitty with a 3, then a fastbreak layup. Molina with a pull-up 3, 7-5. Mitty with a 2, it’s 7-7. Madeline Holland follow shot, 9-7, Monarchs. Molina reverse layup, 9-9, 5:29, turnover Monarchs.
Another layup, backdoor pass, and Mitty is up 11-9. High-low pass and Haley Jones, 6-1 sophomore, scores easily, 13-9. Monarchs fullcourt pressing since opening tip, Konawaena breaks it without an issue. Mitty will probably press all game and use its depth. And height. And length.
Tablit’s defense causing problems for Mitty PG Jones, backcourt violation.
Ania McNicholas, a sophomore guard, drains a corner 3, 16-9. Molina spin move in the paint, but help defense is waiting, shot blocked by 6-2 Nicole Blakes. Inbounds play, high-low layup, 18-9. Molina trapped in the backcourt, pass stolen by Krissy Miyahara, layup, 20-9. Molina not getting help, trapped and losing the ball, Bobbie Awa calls time out, 2:51.
Celena Jane Molina a non-factor so far. Cherilyn Molina pass to Mahie Kaawa, layup, 20-11. Time out, Mitty, 2:10.
Backdoor layup on a set play, easy pass for Mitty, nobody on defense. 22-11. Cherilyn Molina splits the backcourt pressure, bounce pass to Kaawa for another layup.
Miyahara open wing 3, good, 25-13. Konawaena, back-to-back turnovers.
Blakes cuts to the basket, easy pass, she’s fouled. Makes one of two, 26-13. Molina misses a reverse layup after a steal, but her pressure is relentless and causes a Monarch guard to turn the ball over by midcourt.
End Q1: Mitty 26, Konawaena 13.
Pre-game: Best game of the night, at least on paper. Mitty is ranked No. 2 by USA Today. Konawaena is the two-time Hawaii state champion and ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. How will the Wildcats care against national-elite competition in the post-Chanelle Molina era? Four Monarch players have already signed with colleges: Maddy Holland (St. Mary’s), Tahlia Garza (UC Irvine), Heleyna Hill (San Jose State, Dani Guglielmo (UC Irvine).
Konawaena’s Celena Jane Molina has committed to Washington State. Sister Cherilyn Molina has an offer from Wazzu.
FINAL: ‘Iolani 57, Salesian College Prep (Richmond, Calif.) 45
Q4: It is a strange vibe in the gym right now. There’s a lot of energy and noise coming from Salesian’s fans, but nothing from the Raider fans. Like they don’t know what to think, didn’t expect this, who knows? The Pride work it inside and score, 38-31. Time out, Raiders, 7:04. Foul count is 5 for ‘Iolani, 4 for Salesian.
Aguinaldo with a cap, but the whistle blows. Foul. Jackson, the center, at the line. Makes the second, 38-32. Raiders break the press this time, but Aguinaldo’s pass is kicked. Pride has missed a bunch of layups and free throws, that has a way of balancing out later.
Inbounds pass nearly stolen in the backcourt, Wu advances over the timeline and feeds Aguinaldo, who lets a 27-footer fly. All net. She’s on fire, 41-32.
Salesian 1-and-1, no good, but ‘Iolani turns the ball over against fullcourt pressure. 6:06 left. Aguinaldo travels after passing up a 3 in transition. Pride feeds Jackson, who is at least 6-2, in the low post, but she’s immediately crowded by three defenders. She could actually shoot over any of them easily, but passes. Offensive foul, Salesian.
Nakata open in the left corner, all net, 3. Aguinaldo drives, lefty layup, 46-32, 4:55 left. Jackson takes the lob and comes down in traffic, agile. Layup good, 46-34, time out, Salesian, 4:48.
Salesian misses an open 3, Aguinaldo pushes upcourt hard. Nakata open in the right corner, all net, 49-34. No. 14 for Salesian (not on the roster) goes to the foul line. Hits the first, 49-35, 4:04, time out, Salesian.
‘Iolani is doing fine with the shot clock, but some of the shots are coming with :20 or more still on the clock. They might want to slow down just a skosh.
Nomura fouled in the backcourt, 1-and-1. Makes one, 50-37.
No. 14 is Makayla Edwards, shooting two. Misses both. Pride double-teams the ball, turnover ‘Iolani. Edwards drives, reverse layup, nice, 50-39.
Nomura fouled again in the backcourt, hits both FTs, 52-39.
You know, with the shot clock at 30 seconds, it might be too early to be fouling. Salesian had been getting some stops. We’ll see. Edwards to the line, makes both, 52-41, 3:27.
This time, Salesian doesn’t foul, shot clock violation by ‘Iolani. 2:54. Edwards on the low post, misses and the Pride fans holler for a foul. Raiders turn it over on the fastbreak as Kahalehoe travels. Shouldn’t they milk the clock first anyway?
Pride misses a 3, no sign of Smith for awhile. Didn’t see her get hurt. Aguinaldo fouled at midcourt, hits two FTs, 54-41.
Lesa-Hardee scores inside, 54-43, then the Raiders throw the ball to nobody at midcourt, turnover. Wilting a bit. Salesian 3 is an air ball, but they get the rebound. Another 3, short. Wu in the corner, passes it off the side of the backboard. Salesian misses again, now Wu throws the ball away on a fastbreak.
They don’t know how to stop and kill clock. True of a lot of run-and-gun teams. But Salesian is brick city right now. Maeda to the line, two FTs, 1:19. She makes both, 56-45.
Salesian has missed at least seven shots in a row, but they keep crashing the offensive boards. Time out, Pride, 1:01, still down 11.
Salesian steals the ball from Maeda in the backcourt, throws it out of bounds. Maeda having problems, too much dribbling against double-team pressure. Jump ball, Raiders ball, :50.
They break pressure and Salesian won’t foul. Have they conceded? Now they foul with :08 on the shot clock. Huh? Kellie Okamura to the line, :31 on the game clock. She misses both, and Salesian’s 3 is way off. Still no sign of Smith. Has to be an injury. She is a huge key to their offense. Maeda to the line, :20, and makes one. Second is an air ball. They’re almost gassed, 57-45.
Jones with a nice turnaround jump hook off the glass, butter. Then Karisma Ortiz goes coast to coast, untouched for a layup. Have not seen that happen to a Konawaena defense since maybe the early 1990s. Another bucket for Mitty and it’s 32-13, 5:42. Time out, Wildcats. A lot of dropped passes, botched ballhandling by their younger players.
Tanniya Uchida with a layup on a pass from Kaawa on the break, 32-15.
Just a note: Cherilyn changed her number from 33 to 11 this season, wearing her oldest sister Chanelle’s number. Holland with a pure 3 from the left wing, 35-15. So many different pieces to this team, great balance and nonstop defensive pressure. And always looking to advance in transition with the pass.
Kaupu to the line for 1-and-1. Makes the first, 35-16, 3:54, misses the second. Guglielmo to Holland on a UCLA cut, easy pass and layup. Wildcats are so small in the interior, no challenge. 37-18. Wildcats throw away a pass in the backcourt and look to Awa. Not sure if they’re worried she’s mad or sad. She’s not calling extra time outs. She’s letting this play out. They have to play through this.
The catch to all this is, even as young and fragile as they might look against the nation’s No. 2 team, Konawaena is still a force to be reckoned with in the islands. There’s no shot clock here and in almost every state, which means the Molina sisters and Tablit can control just about any game with their skill level.
Just like that, steal, Cherilyn Molina pass to Tablit, layup. Steal by Cherilyn Molina, layup, quick timeout by Mitty coach Susan Phillips, 37-23, 2:07. She doesn’t mess around. She calls ’em quick.
Similar to Clovis West, Mitty will let a defender scramble, float around to trap. Turnover, Konawaena, on a soft pass to the middle. Jones with a wide-open corner 3, all net. She’s got a nice package of skills, playing the 1 through 5. That’s a momentum killer.
Cherilyn Molina picks another Monarch at midcourt, misses a tough reverse. Celena Jane Molina follows, but her shot is short, possibly partially blocked and the half ends.
End Q2: Mitty 40, Konawaena 23.
Q3: The Pride is still in man defense, but making automatic switches on the perimeter, much easier on their bigs. Turnover Raiders. Then Salesian pounds the ball inside to Angel Jackson for an easy layup, and then a fastbreak layup on a dish from Sierra Smith to Taimane Lesa-Hardee, and it’s 25-22.
Smith with a smooth pull-up 3 from the top, great rotation on her ball, all net. That ties it at 25-all, a 7-0 run by the visitors. Aguinaldo with a wing 3 on a pass from Taylor Wu, 28-25.
Aguinaldo with a 12-foot runner on the baseline, good, 30-25. Shot clock not a huge factor. ‘Iolani is one of the teams in the islands that is suited to a faster pace, but these defenders from Salesian are long and tall. Salesian scores, 30-27, but Emily Nomura scores on a wing 3, 33-27.
They’re still running that weave action out of the five-out, but the Pride aren’t doing the auto switch anymore.
Smith feeds Lesa-Hardee on the low post for a layup, 33-29. Kayla Malta scores on the block, inbounds pass, fouled, hits the FT, 36-29.
Seriously outsized, but the Raiders are boxing out and boarding on the defensive end. Gritty. Pride with fullcourt pressure and Kawai Kahalehoe, who has been fighting hard on the boards, can’t get out. Coach Dean Young calls a time out, 1:13.
Steal by Sela-Hardee, but she throws it out of bounds off a teammate.
Huge finish to the third by the Raiders. Tori Lynn Maeda slices into the paint, kicks out to Malta, who swishes the corner 3 with a hand in her face as the buzzer sounds. That’s another quarter-ending 3 by the Raiders. Clutch.
End Q3: ‘Iolani 39, Salesian 29.
Halftime: ‘Iolani 25, Salesian 18
My apologies, had to write my lead story (Maryknoll-Clovis West). The Raiders are putting on a gritty show, running a five-out offense with lots of motion that has the visiting Pride of Salesian off balance. It was tied at 18 for a few minutes before the home team finished with a 7-0 run. Camy Aguinaldo’s trey from the top before the buzzer capped the run.
Salesian is coached by Stephen Pezzola, who is 188-46 in eight seasons. They were 27-6 last year, winning the North Coach Section, Division 4, and were ranked ninth in California and No. 27 nationally, according to the tournament program. Their two top scorers from last season are now at USC and Saint Mary’s.
FINAL: Clovis West (Calif.) 67, Maryknoll 58
Q4: Sanders hits one of two FTs, then steals a pass to the middle easily for a layup. Maryknoll time out, 7:24, 56-37. Omori still on the bench. They may rest her for the remaining consolation games, not sure.
Omori back in along with Milne and Viena. Fullcourt press. Viena scores on a corner three, assist Milne, 58-42. CW still pressing too.
Golden Eagles at full strength with Campbell subbing 3 in, 3 out. Sanders is energized. Follow shot, 62-42.
Golden Eagles still double-teaming the ball, Omori finds Taryn Holeso-Aki for a layup, 63-44. Time out, CW, 2:49.
Official time out, Clovis West player injures her left ankle. It’s Ekerzian. Coach carries her off the court, :49 left, 67-49.
Sierra Murobayashi swishes a corner 3, time out Maryknoll, 67-52, :41. The Spartans have all reserves in. Coach Furtado just making the most of these last 41 seconds. He sends his starters back in. Foul before the inbounds pass, Makayla Warren at the line. Misses the 1-and-1, Viena rebounds, fouled. Furtado sends in the second unit.
Viena hits one of two, 67-53. Turnover, Viena steal, layup, 67-55. Murobayashi right-corner trey at the buzzer.
Q3: Marquez with a nice move to the top away from the ball, catch and shoot 3. 35-27. Another 3 and it’s 38-27, Clovis West’s biggest lead. Omori from the top, swish. 38-30.
They’re trading threes right now. After Milne hits a corner 3, Amundsen shows her range with a wing 3, and it’s 41-33. Milne scores on a breakaway layup and it’s 41-35. They’re hanging tough.
Ava Emerzian with a pair of free throws, 43-35. Bates drives past Cravens for a layup, 45-35. With Omori resting for the first time, this is a crucial period. Champney Pulliam drains a corner 3 on a pass from under the bucket, 48-35. Halemano hits a jumper, but Sanders scores on a layup and Anderson cuts backdoor for a pass and layup, the same play UH used to run (and ‘Iolani boys still run). Her FT is good, 53-37.
End Q4: Clovis West 53, Maryknoll 37.
Q2: Sanders misses a tough layup with Isabella Cravens in her way, then commits a foul. Moe Notoa hits one of two. Notoa scores on a fastbreak dish from Chayse Milne, hits the FT, three-point play. Clovis West calls time out. Coach Craig Campbell not happy.
Cravens hustles after a miss by Omori and the putback is in, 19-18, Spartans down one. Maryknoll unveils fullcourt pressure, Clovis West breaks it, but can’t hit two open 3s. Furtado calls time out as Maryknoll grabs a loose ball on the ground.
Sanders hits one of two FTs, 20-18. Omori loops a pass over pressure from halfcourt to Milne for a layup, 20-20.
Kamakawiwo‘ole finds a crease and drives from the wing, fouled on the drive and goes down. Could be serious. She’s down for less than a minute, then walks off with a trainer. Doesn’t seem too bad, not sure. That was scary. Stietzel enters to shoot the FTs. Kamakawiwo‘ole walks to the training room, can’t put much weight on the right foot.
Milne fouled in the paint, makes one of two, 22-21, CW, 4:16. Spartans showing fullcourt pressure, but retreating, man defense.
Anderson takes charge, nice spin move and drive for a layup, 24-21. Another layup by the Golden Eagles, 26-21. The effect of losing Kamakawiwo‘ole defensively is key.
Simple cross screen under the basket on the inbounds and Maryknoll can’t figure it out. Amundsen hits two FTs, 30-23, 1:43.
Omori drives through traffic, scores, 30-25. Amundsen drives easily and banks it in, 32-25. That’s six points in a row by her.
Kenna Tanouye fouled as she rebounds with :06.7. Makes the first FT, misses the second. 32-27. Bates’ runner from the elbow misses at the buzzer.
End Q2: Clovis West 32, Maryknoll 27.
Q1: Maryknoll in halfcourt man. Clovis West fullcourt pressing, swarming with double team on the ball in halfcourt. Sanders with a smooth corner 3 and Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole answers with a wing 3. Tied at 3, lot of intensity in this one.
Anderson with a corner 3, same spot as Sanders earlier, and it’s 6-3. Chico Furtado calls a time out for the Lady Spartans, 5:12.
Bates with a drive and dish to Amundsen for a layup, 8-3, CW. The Golden Eagles line up in a 2-2-1 three-quarter press look, and when the ball is out of PG Rhianne Omori’s hands, it’s a struggle against a long, hustling defense.
A nice pass by Anderson to a cutting Miciah Lee, followed by another corner 3 by Anderson boosts Clovis West’s lead to 13-3.
Time out, Maryknoll, 15-5, 2:58. Furtado tells the officials his team is being mauled.
Maryknoll with a spark off the bench. Ysabelle Halemano feeds Kodee Viena on the break for a corner 3, and Georjette Stietzel scores off a steal, 15-10.
Reserve center Sisilia Kaufusi with good hands on a steal, but a few seconds later, another turnover by the Spartans. They look energized, but a bit too rushed at times.
End Q1: Clovis West 19, Maryknoll 12. MS with six turnovers.
Pre-game: Clovis West, of Fresno, is ranked No. 9 nationally by USA Today.
The Golden Eagles won its league title last year for the 11th time in a row. Five of their players are commits to Division I universities: Bre’yanna Sanders (Arizona State), Sarah Bates (UC Santa Barbara), Megan Anderson (San Jose State), Danae Marquez (San Jose State) and Tess Amundsen (Boise State). WOW.
Maryknoll is 14-0 and ranked No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10. Still a young team after reaching the state final last season and pushing eventual champion Konawaena to the hilt.
FINAL: Long Beach Poly (Calif.) 81, Leilehua 31
Q4: Lady Mules executing off and on in halfcourt offense, but Coach Dumlao is not happy about the poor transition defense. Some or none getting back on change of possession. Point guard not protecting at all. No rotation when the PG penetrates. The good thing about early or preseason losses to superior teams is that coaches will have the full attention of their players at the next practice. More so than usual, anyway.
Williams with a breakaway layup and strength, taking the foul on the layup for an and-1 opportunity. FT good, 78-26.
Q3: Jackrabbits working on their high-low game. Now’s a good time to do that. Leilehua staying with its halfcourt man.
Time out, Jackrabbits, 6:20. Poly 47, Mules 12.
Jackrabbits lead 51-16. The reserves have pushed the ball in transition with sophomore PG Chloe Buggs at the wheel. Freshman Roschundra Prince, a 6-2 center, got the loudest cheer from the Poly bench when she scored on a putback.
Time out, 2:51. Poly sends a new five onto the floor.
Sophomore guard Kaylen Kamelamela fouls out. She might be the one Leilehua player who can get her own shot against this stiff defense.
End Q4: Long Beach Poly 63, Leilehua 24.
Q2: The Jackrabbits in straight man defense, no trapping fullcourt press, lot of action for the entire roster at this point. Poly leads 35-4, 5:03, time out Mules.
Poly stretches it to 40-4 and the officials call a couple of fouls on the Jackrabbits after some contact that is borderline. Coach Buggs having a polite conversation with one of the referees. Both times, Mules shoot 1-and-1.
It’s only 13 minutes into this game, but I like the Jackrabbits’ discipline offensively, working the low post and being opportunistic at the 3-point arc without losing good shot selection. They have five players at 6 foot and taller, but they don’t get dependent on height defensively. Even in halfcourt man, they’re pressuring at the midcourt stripe.
The 30-second shot clock will be a factor. Some teams like Konawaena, the defending champion, can take quick, good shots and they also like to milk the clock. Not anymore. There have been a lot of boys teams that didn’t need a shot clock. A team like Yates, for example, running so fast they got shots up within 7 seconds or less.
No question, the shot clock will favor the taller, athletic teams that can defend on the perimeter and lock down the glass. Not exactly an advantage for most Hawaii teams. We shall see.
The last time a boys team nearly beat a mainland team was ‘Iolani against Montrose Christian (Md.) during the senior year of Derrick Low and Ryan Hirata. They shot well, led most of the game and controlled the clock with their ballhandling before losing on a 3-pointer at the buzzer, 43-41.
Deja Williams drives for a layup at the buzzer for the Jackrabbits to end the half.
End Q2: Long Beach Poly 47, Leilehua 7.
Q1: The Jackrabbits turn the ball over on the opening possession, then unveil a fullcourt press. The Lady Mules execute and get the ball past halfcourt, but a pass to an open Mule at the basket is overthrown.
Coach Elroy Dumlao’s teams are a perennial contender in the OIA. This is a huge challenge for his team. Here comes Poly. Straightaway 3, all net. Steal, layup. Steal, layup and one. Just like that, Poly leads 9-0, 6:16.
Lead is up to 17-4 with 2:39 left, first quarter. Just noticed they’re using a 30-second shot clock. Amazing. The Jackrabbits dropped the press for a moment, but after a Leilehua time out, they’ve brought it back. Swarming.
The Jackrabbits are effective with straight fullcourt man, and finish the opening quarter with a 17-0 run after Leilehua had cut it to 9-4.
End Q1: Long Beach Poly 26, Leilehua 4.
Pre-game: The Jackrabbits are led by longtime coach Carl Buggs, who is 480-79 after 18 seasons. Three of their starters were All-CIF selections last season.
Info in the tournament program is always top notch, and this year’s program has a glossy cover. Coach Young would be proud.
Leilehua is the defending Oahu Interscholastic Association champion.