No. 1 Maryknoll faces 3-time defending champ Konawaena

Maryknoll’s Moe Notoa (22) went to the basket as Waiakea’s Jazelle Dorser (15) defended during the first half of the HHSAA Division I Girls Basketball State Championship semifinals. Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

And then there were two.

The Division I final in tonight’s Snapple/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships pits the same two schools that met in the past two years: Maryknoll and Konawaena.

Maryknoll wanted nothing more than to win state championships. The 11 seniors on this season’s roster has known triumph with four ILH titles in a row. They’ve known heartbreak, losing the state championship game in 2016 and ’17. Both times, Konawaena took home the big koa trophy.

Three-time defending champion Konawaena is in the midst of a dynasty with eight titles in the past 14 seasons under Bobbie Awa. Yet, they are the clear underdog against a Maryknoll squad that has not lost to a local team since last year — the state final, to be precise.

When the teams met on Nov. 11 at the McKinley Black and Gold Classic, Maryknoll won 56-37. In state championship game matchups, Konawaena coach Bobbie Awa has a 2-0 edge on Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado.

Tip-off at Blaisdell Center is 7 p.m.

Below, the overall (including nonconference) and regular-season win-loss records of both teams.

Maryknoll Spartans (28-2, 10-0 ILH) vs. Konawaena Wildcats (25-2, 10-0 BIIF), 7 p.m.
Seed: No. 1 (ILH champion). Def. Kamehameha-Maui 67-28 on Thursday (quarterfinal). Def. Waiakea 75-40 on Friday (semifinal).
Vs. Top 10: 21-2 (.909).
Strength of schedule: 23 of 30 games (77 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, Konawaena, Waiakea, @ Mid-Pacific, @ Punahou, Miramonte (Calif.), Oregon City (Ore.), Kamehameha, Buckeye Union (Ariz.), Marlborough (Calif.), Campbell County, @ ‘Iolani, Sacred Hearts, Mid-Pacific, @ Kamehameha, Punahou, @ Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, Waiakea.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Southridge (Ore.), Post Falls (Idaho).

Seed: No. 2 (BIIF champion). Def. Moanalua 59-32 on Thursday (quarterfinal). Def. Lahainaluna 50-45 on Friday (semifinal).
Vs. Top 10: 8-2 (.800).
Strength of schedule: 10 of 27 games (37 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, ‘Iolani, Mid-Pacific, Campbell, Waiakea, Waiakea, Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Lahainaluna.

Skinny: Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado says he loves to watch the Wildcats play, and it’s no surprise. The discipline and spacing, the defensive tenacity, all those are staples of Furtado’s teams going back to Kalaheo.

He is also concerned about Konawaena’s ability to attack the rim, but Maryknoll’s long, quick and physical defense has stifled every Hawaii team so far this season. That hasn’t changed at the state tourney, where Kamehameha-Maui (28 points) and Waiakea (40) came nowhere near their scoring averages.

In fact, Maryknoll has allowed 40 or more points to a Hawaii team only four times: Waiakea (45), Mid-Pacific (44), ‘Iolani (43) and Waiakea again (40).

Even on a national level, the Lady Spartans have been stingy. Miramonte (Calif.) scored 59, but Maryknoll won by eight points. Nationally ranked Southridge (Ore.) scored 63, but Maryknoll limited Oregon City to 49 in a 13-point win a day later.

At the Tarkanian Classic, Maryknoll won four games, allowing totals of 26, 27, 50 (Marlborough, Calif.), and lost in overtime to Post Falls (Idaho) 49-47 in OT.

Konawaena’s slate hasn’t been quite as extensive or challenge, but the Wildcats are stingy, too. They have permitted 40 or more points just six times: Maryknoll (56), ‘Iolani (41), Lahainaluna (44), Trinity Christian of Texas (59), Keaau (41), and Lahainaluna again (45).

Now, it comes down to tonight. Depth is on Maryknoll’s side, but championship pedigree is with Konawaena guards Cherilyn Molina and Mikayla Tablit. If they’re patient enough to work for the kind of shots that makes Konawaena successful, the pressure will be on Maryknoll.

The Spartans have a way of luring foes into tough shots and the kind of frazzled flow that spells trouble. It happened back in week one. Will it happen tonight?

X-factors: Junior guard Tanniya Uchida bounced back from injury to help the Wildcats win the BIIF. She scored eight points in the win over Lahainaluna, proving her value as a left-handed slasher to the bucket while providing solid defense. … Maryknoll needs to close off the lanes, but the twist is that Konawaena doesn’t settle for a whole lot of 3-point shots. This year’s ‘Cats are in rebound mode deluxe with 34 offensive rebounds in their two state-tourney games so far. … Maryknoll has concerns about keeping C Isabella Cravens out of foul trouble, but with unmatched depth in the front court, the shot-blocking and rebounding skills of Cravens is more of a luxury than a need. That’s because Moe Notoa, Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole, Kodee Viena and Chayse Milne can board with the best of them.

Division I

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Jan. 29KS-Maui vs. MililaniKSM, 34-27KS-Maui
2Jan. 29Waiakea vs. CampbellWaik, 77-56Waiakea
3Jan. 29Moanalua vs. KaiserMoan, 42-34Moanalua
4Jan. 29'Iolani vs. KahukuIol, 88-37'Iolani
5Feb. 1(4) Kalani vs. WaiakeaWaik, 55-54 (OT)Moanalua
6Feb. 1(1) Maryknoll vs. KS-MauiMryk, 67-28Moanalua
7Feb. 1(2) Konawaena vs. MoanaluaKona, 59-32McKinley
8Feb. 1(3) Lahainaluna vs. 'IolaniLah, 38-36McKinley
9*Feb. 2Moanalua vs. 'IolaniIol, 72-38Blaisdell Arena
10*Feb. 2Kalani vs. KS-MauiKaln, 37-34Blaisdell Arena
11Feb. 2Konawaena vs. LahainalunaKona, 50-45Blaisdell Arena
12Feb. 2Waiakea vs. MaryknollMryk, 75-40Blaisdell Arena
13*Feb. 3'Iolani vs. KalaniIol, 59-37Blaisdell Arena
14*Feb. 3Lahainaluna vs WaiakeaLah, 52-45Blaisdell Arena
15Feb. 3Konawaena vs. MaryknollKona, 47-32Blaisdell Arena
* — consolation


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