Molinas atop All-Defense, most improved lists

Junior Celena Jane Molina, senior Chanelle Molina and sophomore Cherilyn Molina.
Junior Celena Jane Molina, senior Chanelle Molina and sophomore Cherilyn Molina.
Sophomore point guard Cherilyn Molina helped carry the load while Chanelle Molina and Ihi Victor recovered from mid-season injuries.
Sophomore point guard Cherilyn Molina helped carry the load while Chanelle Molina and Ihi Victor recovered from mid-season injuries.

The bonus votes in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball All-State balloting includes some always fascinating looks at all-defense and most improved honors as submitted by coaches and media panelists.

Most Improved
1. Cherilyn Molina, Konawaena. While her oldest sister, Chanelle, was injured for most of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation season, Cherilyn Molina carried a bigger set of responsibilities and Konawaena never let up. By the time teammate Ihi Victor (back) and Chanelle returned for the BIIF title game, Cherilyn had helped the Wildcats extend their league win streak to 91. Then it rose to 92.

2. Keleah-Aiko Koloi, Lahainaluna. She showed at the state tourney that she can make shots from all over the floor given the opportunity. She was the most consistent Luna on both ends, playing with aggression and control in the paint from mid-range.

3. Rhianne Omori, Maryknoll. The point guard had a stellar sophomore season during ILH play, then ascended to another level during the state tournament. Only a sophomore.

Also receiving votes: Rose Shimaoka, Kaiser; MIkayla Tablit, Konawaena; Molil Heimuli, Farrington; Kyle Johnson, Radford; Isabella Cravens, Maryknoll.

1. Chanelle Molina, Konawaena. Selected as an All-State Player of the Year three times is rare, but she’s every bit a defensive force as she is on offense. Even at less than 100 percent during the state tourney, her knowledge plus agility made her a huge weapon in Konawaena’s flexible man defense. Nobody played helpside defense better.

2. Ihi Victor, Konawaena. Her length and quickness, plus enough strength to combat bigger foes in the low post, made her a uniquely powerful instrument for the Wildcats. She is, at least at this level, a stretch 5 who nullified many of the top post players in the state.

3. Celena Jane Molina, Konawaena. Her speed in transition made coverage a headache for opposing 4s. But everything she did before the fast break, from using every bit of footwork and agility in the low post to contesting all perimeter shooters, made her an elite stretch 4. And she’ll be back next season as a senior.

4. Cherilyn Molina, Konawaena. Arguably the finest defender at guard in the islands. Konawaena’s ability to force turnovers without relying on fullcourt traps has always been a major ingredient to success. Cherilyn Molina’s ability to read the passing lanes and cover the state’s top point guards is unmatched. So is her speed at finishing in transition.

5. Fiemea Hafoka, Lahainaluna. If Cherilyn Molina is more of a finesse defender on the perimeter, Hafoka is a combination of strength, toughness and speed.

Also receiving votes: Mikayla Tablit, Konawaena; Alexis Delovio, Maryknoll; Keleah-Aiko Koloi, Lahainaluna; Isabella Cravens, Maryknoll; Chanel Graham-Bernisto, Hilo; Chayse Milne, Maryknoll.

2016-17 Top Four
Division I
1. Konawaena
2. Maryknoll
3. Punahou
4. ‘Iolani
Also receiving votes: Honokaa.

Division II
1. Kaimuki
2. Hawaii Baptist
3. Kamehameha-Hawaii
4. Kohala



  1. Rams33 March 6, 2016 8:25 am

    It’ll be interesting to see if Kona can 3peat with Chanelle gone.

    D2 side: there’s no way Kaimuki is #1. MPI beat them comfortably in the tourney and they return basically everyone. KS Hawaii also returns most of their team and HBA is #1 until proven otherwise. I could see ranking Kaimuki ahead of Kohala but not ahead of the other 3.

  2. AOK March 6, 2016 1:26 pm

    I dont think the Molinas get as much coverage as their skills warrant. Awesome ballers, and etching their family name in Hawaii basketball lore.

  3. ILH Observer March 7, 2016 1:28 pm

    If 4 of the top defenders are from Kona, you would think that they would beat Maryknoll by far more than 10 points and they wouldn’t have been losing for much of the game.

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