No dance for ‘Iolani and a look at pairings

Kamehameha's Noelle Sua-Godinet blocked a shot by ‘Iolani's Emily Nomura in playoff action at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser
Kamehameha’s Noelle Sua-Godinet blocked a shot by ‘Iolani’s Emily Nomura in playoff action at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser

This week’s Pupule perspective on the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10 is a day early.

That’s why this is also the Eve of the Big Dance edition, with the HHSAA Division I State Championships set to tip off on Monday, 5 p.m. Why so early in the day? Probably because the many teams traveling inter-island can save a bundle by flying back home immediately after their games. Back in the day, the last flight in or out was around 7-8 pm. Now, we have 9-10 pm flights.

About the Monday-Thursday-Friday-Saturday format: This began last year with volleyball playing opening-round matches on Mondays. Seemed quirky at first, but I grew to like it. I’m sure the teams that qualified for states without winning their leagues are happy, too. This way, there’s a three-day rest period between the opening round and the quarterfinal round. No team has to play four days in a row. That’s huge.

I’m writing this well before the Top 10 will be published (late Monday or early Tuesday), so I’m posting my ballot, followed by a look at the Monday matchups in the Big Dance. (FYI, the D-II State Championships will begin on Wednesday with a traditional four-days-in-a-row format. Get the Tiger Balm and Icy Hot out!)

Pupule ballot 1/29/17
1. Maryknoll Spartans (26-2, 13-1 ILH)

> This goes back weeks and weeks, which gives me the data to back up my order of teams. Then again, we have a defending state champion (Konawaena) — which may have improved not just 5 or 10 percent since a disappointing performance at the ‘Iolani Classic — that may have increased its productivity and efficiency by 50 or 60 percent. Maryknoll? They were still a fairly young team with underclassmen starting when they played in the Classic. They have consistently played solid defense, using their length and athleticism to wall off teams out of a sticky 2-3 matchup zone if necessary. Most of the time, the Spartans are in basic man defense, ready to run, or as Coach Chico Furtado says, letting “the horses out of the corral.” Konawaena has the top seed in the state tourney, a debatable tag, but rather than argue that Maryknoll is a superior team and more deserving of a top seed, I’m content to simply list the Spartans here based on common opponents.

Maryknoll lost to nationally-ranked Clovis West (Calif.) 67-58, staying close despite an injury to Kamalu Kamakawiwo‘ole. Maryknoll then beat Leilehua 57-27 and former national champion Salesian (Calif.) 48-47.

Then came 11 ILH wins in a row before a 46-45 loss at Kamehameha. Since then, the Spartans routed Punahou 70-38 and Kamehameha 45-24 in the league playoffs to capture the title.

The most interesting thing about this team is this: Even in their big wins, they looked like a team that has plenty of improvement to do. Far from peaking. I couldn’t say the same thing about ‘Iolani early in the season, for comparison sake. Who’s Maryknoll’s go-to scorer, someone asked me last week. Well… though they’ve scored above 50 points in most games, there hasn’t been a reliance on a single scorer. The ball spreads around. Center Isabella Cravens, another player who came back from an injury scare, has been dominant defensively, but has not become an offensive force at an elite level — yet. When that happens, ai-yai-yai.

There’s a theory worth mentioning that the happiest teams are the ones that get the most shots for everybody. Yes, very youth league, maybe AYSO style, where score is not kept. Doing that means going full tilt, full speed, generating more possessions every night. And it never happens in the ILH, where every game is meaningful and the opportunity to grasp an automatic berth via a regular-season title — please note that the OIA doesn’t believe in this format; one AD told me years ago that the league prefers to let its hottest teams advance to the state tourney, to which I said, so much for teaching the importance of daily work and consistency from start to finish. In the ILH, the weight of each game shows on the bench, on the court, where transition basketball is almost nonexistent and every pass is measured and challenged. Where a league with enough talent to have two, three, even four teams averaging 80-plus points per game — I think Punahou’s boys (with a healthy Cole Arceneaux) would average 90-95 if there was a shot clock — is perennially reduced to 40-45 field-goal attempts per team, per game.

It is a giant chess match before our eyes. It is drama incarnate. It is what it is. And Maryknoll’s girls would be a high-speed chase every night with 65-70 per game if and only if Furtado and his staff were willing to let go of the reins more. They’ve already let go some; Furtado did that in the win over Punahou, no question. But he is not going to risk too much, not when he has a fantastic front court on the defensive end.

So this is a long summary about the No. 1 team on my ballot. I could go on. Does this mean I think Maryknoll wins the state tourney? I think they definitely could. They’ve got more depth and size than everyone else, including Konawaena. But this is more about what they’ve put on their resume and how well they’re playing now. The Spartans deserve this spot, and I won’t be surprised one bit if voters supplant Maryknoll and bump Konawaena to the top, imitating the HHSAA’s seedings.
Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

2. Konawaena Wildcats (24-3, 10-0 BIIF)
With all that said, and with Kamehameha at this slot in my ballot last week, what gives, right? Well, Kamehameha battled and beat Maryknoll on Jan. 21 in a regular-season finale that had no bearing on Maryknoll’s place (in first) nor the Spartans’ state berth. And five days later, the Warriors went to Maryknoll and succumbed in a 21-point loss. That’s too vivid to ignore. True, Konawaena hasn’t beaten more than one Top 10 team since returning home from the Classic — Hilo — and came dangerously close to losing to Waiakea (a team I expect to do some damage in the Dance). Their 104-game winning streak in BIIF play is ridiculously unrepeatable.

When the Wildcats arrive on Oahu later in the week, I expect not only guards Cherilyn Molina and Mikayla Tablit to dominate on the defensive end and turn into blurs in transition, but Celena Jane Molina will play with a raging fire on offense. She has to. There is no choice. As much has the Wildcats’ secondary contributors have improved since preseason, it will come down to Konawaena’s Big 3, and Celena Jane is the x-factor of all x-factors: a near 6-foot athlete who grew up succeeding in soccer, has a motor with a bottomless fuel tank, and all the handles and shooting skill of a wing scorer along with the ability to attack the rim.

If she doesn’t fulfill that heavy-duty role, the Wildcats’ stay at the Big Dance could be short. If she accepts the responsibility the way a firefighter risks his or her life to run into an engulfed building to save lives, there is no post or wing in the state who can consistently stop her. Coach Bobbie Awa has seen it all in her 16 seasons as Wildcats head coach (and many more guiding the Kona Stingrays with husband Donald). But even Awa can’t change a player who is, by nature, more of a complimentary piece. If Konawaena is going to advance in this tourney, their princess in the middle will have to step out of her comfort zone and carve out a legacy of her own. What Wildcat Nation needs is for their standout senior to be a princess warrior. I wouldn’t bet against her doing that.
Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

3. Kamehameha Warriors (18-5, 9-5 ILH)
Just twice, the Warriors have lost since mid-December, and twice, they have turned the pendulum the other way. Turing defeat into growth is not a given for any team on any level, but it seems to happen more often than not in the merciless ILH. Evolve or disappear. The Warriors lost at Maryknoll 52-51 on Dec. 16, and again on Jan. 14 (51-39) before finally beating the Spartans on Jan. 21. Losing to them 45-24 on Thursday could be A) easily forgotten, B) analyzed with a fine-tooth comb, or C) pegged as their second-to-last matchup with the Spartans as both teams arch toward the state finals.

Kamehameha has effective tools in the backcourt and front court, a wonderful combination of shooters and bigs, and the emergence of Kiana Vierra, a 5-foot-10 junior, as a willing knock-down perimeter shooter, adds to an already luxurious collection of talent. It is guard play, however, that has often led Kamehameha to success this deep into the season, going back to Raelen Self and Ashley DeSilva and further back. Coach Joseph Cho has a nice stable of guards who can protect the ball, hit the 3 or drive strong to the rack. Mikiala Maio has waited a long time for this chance. The 5-10 senior is a matchup challenge for most foes. Kamehameha has won without Maio getting massive production before, but it would be interesting to see her play with a championship-or-bust mentality every night of this tournament. When she’s feeling it, not even Maryknoll can truly stop her. She had 24 points against them in Kamehameha’s win last week.
Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

4. ‘Iolani Raiders (12-8, 7-6 ILH)
It’s a painful reminder of how difficult life in the ILH can be. One injury. One illness. One missing teammate. Just one of those factors is enough to tip the scales to an opponent. Combine all three and the Raiders still almost won at Kamehameha last week. After struggling with three losses a five-game stretch, the senior-heavy squad seemed to have gotten back on track with a win over Sacred Hearts, and then a major comeback to get within two points late in the playoff game at Kamehameha.

The next year will be fascinating for Raider fans. Replacing five seniors, including Camy Aguinaldo and Skylar Nakata, will seem daunting. There’s plenty of talent coming back, though, from sophomore point guard Tori Maeda to sophomore wing Taylor Wu (18 points in the ILH playoff loss to Kamehameha). While the rest of the voting panel will likely punish the Raiders this week, it just hasn’t occurred to me that any other team is more worthy of this spot. Is there someone who can beat this team consistently — not named Maryknoll, Konawaena or Kamehameha?

I think not. Well, maybe Lahainaluna.
Sumo rank: Ozeki.

5. Lahainaluna Lunas (19-2, 14-0 MIL)
Mid-December. Five Lunas in uniform. On the road (Oahu).
> Maryknoll 38, Lahainaluna 33
> Lahainaluna 40, Radford 26
> Kamehameha 33, Lahainaluna 25

This is the most star-less roster in recent Lady Lunas history. Yet, they continue to run and gun, employing the same system all the way up from the keiki Menehune program in West Maui to Coach Todd Rickard’s program at the high school. The one team that has given Lahainaluna somewhat of a challenge in league play is Kamehameha-Maui, which lost by margins of 11, 10, 25 and, in Friday’s title game, 15 (55-40).

The most dangerous team is sometimes the one few people have memories about. All the big-time standouts of last year are in college. It’s not just a void of information and imagery for spectators and media, but also for players. Aside from Maryknoll and Kamehameha, how are other Luna opponents going to feel about matching up? This makes Lahainaluna a potentially dangerous team, more than it already is.
Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

6. Farrington Governors (14-4, 12-1 OIA)
I almost had Hilo here ahead of both Farrington and Kaimuki. After all, Hilo had to handle a thriller playoff game on Thursday — a 40-39 win over Waiakea — and then lace up for a battle with Konawaena 24 hours later. But a 28-point loss is hard to digest here, whether it’s by Hilo or most any other league runner-up in the title game. So Farrington, with its 47-38 OIA D-I championship game win over Kaimuki, looks and feels the part.

Moli Heimuli has been the engine revving all season, a 6-foot (she’s taller than me by at least an inch, and I’m 5-11) machine whose accurate touch with either hand on the jump hook in the post is a wonder to watch. She’s a rebounder, a transition playmaker, a key cog for Coach Caroline Tatupu against the press. The surrounding cast around Heimuli has gone from OK to productive over the course of the season. There’s a blend of perimeter shooting to defense to rebounding and speed on the break that has transformed the Lady Governors into league champions.
Sumo rank: Ozeki.

7. Kaimuki Bulldogs (15-9, 11-2 OIA)
When it’s humming, the big green machine is something special to see. But the shooting struggle during the OIA title-game loss to Farrington is best left in the past, especially after so many big-shot, clutch performances along the way. It’s easy to consider this team, which averages 5-5 in height, and its offense as one-dimensional. The flip side of that is they’ve found ways to compete against big, athletic teams. Being a cohesive defensive unit for two seasons has developed the 2-3 matchup zone into something more than just a necessity.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

8. Hilo Vikings (16-2, 10-2 OIA)
The Vikings knocked out Waiakea, the one BIIF team that gave Konawaena its toughest battle this season. Sometimes, it’s more about styles and matchups than anything else. Hilo has been a gritty defense-first team for ages, and watching their 5-4 and 5-2 guards box out players 10-12 inches taller during state tournaments has always been a sight to behold. They’re still not a team of giants, but at this time of year, an offense can get hot and stay hot for four nights in a row.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

9. Waiakea Warriors (14-4, 8-3 BIIF)
That close loss to Konawaena go a long way on this ballot.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

10. Punahou Buffanblu (10-10, 5-9 ILH)
Year 1 after the graduation of the twin towers, Tyra Moe and Vae Malufau, was a struggle. Changes at the top, with Tita Ahuna and Shawna-Lei Kuehu taking over after Liz Kam stepped down in mid-season. A stretch of six losses in seven games. And yet, this is still a team with one of the state’s top guards, Kamaile Kandiah, and a roster deep with good ballhandling guards. Put this roster in the OIA and the Buffanblu go 10-2 and reach, at least, the semifinal round with a real chance to win the league.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

On the Cusp
Mililani Trojans (16-6, 10-3 OIA)
What the Trojans may lack in pure shooting skills, they make up with through sheer determination. They are scrappy on a level that reminds me of Hilo and Konawaena.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Leilehua Mules (15-11, 10-3 OIA)
One of the most improved teams since preseason. The Mules finished first in the OIA West, lost to Farrington in the semifinals, and then to Mililani in a consolation game. Regaining momentum at this point is never easy, but that’s what the Lady Mules must do. And they’ll have to do it on the road at Kamehameha-Maui, a team that gave Lahainaluna some trouble this season.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kamehameha-Maui Warriors (10-4 MIL)
Four times, the Warriors played Lahainaluna, and four times they lost. Three of the four games were by margins of 11 or less, which is saying a lot in the MIL. At home, hosting Leilehua in the first round of the state tourney on Monday, the Warriors have a chance to make some special history.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Sacred Hearts Lancers (7-15, 0-13 ILH)
If the state’s “ ‘tweener’ teams could be identified, SHA would be one of them. Good enough to beat many OIA teams (Aiea, Kalani, McKinley, Farrington), teams from the BIIF (Keaau) and KIF (Waimea), and even last year’s ILH D-II champion (Hawaii Baptist). There was a loss to OIA runner-up Kaimuki, and a three-point loss to Waiakea at Hilo. That’s a solid nonconference run. But the ILH can be brutal. The Lancers were very competitive in two of their first four games, losing to ‘Iolani 56-53 and at Punahou 45-40. In D-II, SHA would’ve been a title contender, maybe a favorite. But there are limited choices for athletic programs like SHA, and D-I is their basketball home.

Can the Lancers make another big step forward next season? Much of the current roster is young. Coach Ryan Hogue and his staff have worked with their players in the offseason diligently. ‘Iolani loses a number of key seniors. Kamehameha will lose guard Mikiala Maio. Punahou is a question mark. How good were SHA’s JV and intermediate teams? What’s the retention level of those intermediate players? Will they stay or, as athletes at many smaller schools of the past have, depart for bigger campuses?

It’s always an intriguing dilemma: stay home and raise a program to new heights, or join the brand-name schools and be a smaller fish in a bigger pond.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Nanakuli Golden Hawks (13-7, 10-4 OIA)
It was a busy week for the Hawks, beating Roosevelt, losing at Farrington, beating Campbell and losing at Kahuku. The win over Campbell sealed a state-tourney berth, which means senior Alana Nuuanu and her five classmates will get their first shot at the D-I state tourney since 2015.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Kahuku Red Raiders (10-4 OIA)
A 5-0 start to league play was kneecapped by three losses in four games: Farrington, Kalani and Kaimuki. The good news is that Big Red finished with two wins in consolation play (over Radford and Nanakuli) to qualify for the state tourney, which means a visit to Kamehameha on Monday in the opening round.
Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

Campbell Sabers (13-8, 8-5 OIA)
The Sabers started the OIA D-I playoffs with a win over Kaiser, then lost at Leilehua, and in a game for the final state berth, lost at Nanakuli 45-37. It was a good season, a building block for a team with just two seniors (both starters).
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Radford Rams (11-7, 9-4 OIA)
This is a team that won five games in a row back in December, starting with a win at Kaimuki. The turning point was loss at Mililani when center Shaelie Burgess suffered a knee injury. She returned later in the season, and even with a four-game win streak to close the regular season, they never quite returned to their previous success, losing to Kaimuki and Kahuku in the playoffs.
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Mid-Pacific Owls (14-3, 11-0 ILH D-II)
One of those classic Division 1.5 teams. Wins over Campbell, Kalaheo, Moanalua; losses to Farrington, Maryknoll, Kamehameha. The Owls’ top two scorers are underclassmen, which will help next season as they defend their league title. For now, they’re the top seed in the D-II state tourney.
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

St. Francis Saints (12-2, 10-1 ILH D-II)
The Saints are going dancing. They lost to MPI 43-37 on Jan. 16 and beat Island Pacific soundly three days later. Now they play Waipahu in the opening round of the D-II state tourney on Wednesday at Farrington. Among their wins: Kaimuki, HBA.
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kalani Falcons (14-8, 9-3 OIA)
At one point, the Falcons had a seven-game win streak that overlapped the late stages of preseason and the first five games of OIA play. The averaged 66 points in the OIA D-II playoffs, overpowering Castle and Moanalua. The constant for Kalani is that they know who they are. They’re long enough and tall enough inside to compete with most D-I teams, and their perimeter shooting and ball movement make them a tough cover for all defenses. MPI is the top seed in the D-II state tourney, but Kalani has been much more battle tested.
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (14-6, 7-3 BIIF)
This perennial powerhouse in BIIF D-II is back in the state tourney, winning its final six games. Their losses in league play were to the usual D-I powers, but against the D-II field, as well as D-I Honokaa, the Warriors were a force. They’re seeded second in the D-II state tourney and will play the Moanalua-HBA winner.
Sumo rank: Komusubi.

Kaiser Cougars (9-13, 7-4 OIA)
All things considered, a productive season for the Lady Cougars, especially after struggling in preseason with close losses (at Waiakea 45-39) and blowout defeats. Two seniors will graduate, point guard Skylar Kimura and center Kayla Russell, while the rest are underclassmen.
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Damien Monarchs (12-5, 11-3 ILH D-II)
The Monarchs are in the D-II state tourney and will face Lanai on Wednesday. Winner plays top seed Mid-Pacific.
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

‘Iolani II (13-1, 10-0 ILH D-IAA)
The D-II Raiders defeated Kamehameha II to finish the regular season unbeaten, and just like that, they’re done. Wouldn’t it be something if there was a state tournament for the “second” teams of schools? The OIA has “Blue” teams in girls volleyball. That gets more girls active with the sport and helps with Title IX numbers. Then again, how many schools have enough players to field a second varsity team?
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Seabury Hall Spartans (7-2 MIL D-II)
I once heard a story that the original graduating class chose “Trekkies” as the school nickname, which was denied to me later. Trekkies would’ve been fine with me. The basketball team has losses to Lanai and Molokai, both at Seabury Hall’s campus in Makawao. The Spartans eventually routed Molokai in the league title game. They’re seeded third in the state tourney — ahead of fourth seed Kalani — and will meet the St. Francis-Waipahu winner on Thursday.
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Moanalua Na Menehune (9-12, 7-6 OIA)
They gave Kalani a pretty good battle before losing 66-49 in the OIA D-II final. Raven Rosa-Lasco, a key player, did not play that night. The Menehune will play Hawaii Baptist on Wednesday in the opening round.
Sumo rank: Maegashira.

Hawaii Baptist Eagles (17-4, 9-2 ILH D-II)
It’s a new chapter for the Eagles, who were knocked off their perch by Mid-Pacific in ILH D-II. There are 17 players on their roster, so depth and endurance shouldn’t be a problem at states.
Sumo rank: Maegashira

Lanai Pine Lasses (6-4 MIL D-II)
For those of us outside of Maui County, it can be easy to forget there’s more to D-II hoops there aside from Molokai. Apparently, there is much more since the two qualifiers this season are from Seabury Hall and Lanai. Lanai beat Molokai 46-25 in the playoffs and will next meet Damien on Wednesday in the opening round.
Sumo rank: Juryo.

Kauai Red Raiders (6-5, 6-3 KIF)
The Red Raiders haven’t made a lot of noise since the days of Krystle Henry, but they do have a 6-3 center, Taegan Keep, who could be a sleeper force in the state tourney. Kauai beat Waimea and Kapaa by margins of two points to reach the postseason. They will face Kohala on Wednesday.
Sumo rank: Juryo.

Kohala Cowgirls (5-6, 4-5 BIIF)
One of the smallest schools in the state held its own, beating Hawaii Prep, Kealakehe, Pahoa and Ka‘u late in the season before losing to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the D-II finals. This is a young team with just one senior, Brittany Shimono, and only one player taller than 5-6. If there was a D-III tournament, Kohala would be the prototype program for it.
Sumo rank: Juryo.

Waipahu Marauders (7-9, 5-7 OIA)
League play was rough for Waipahu, which lost six of seven games late in the season. A win over Castle salvaged things, allowing them to qualify for states. St. Francis is a tall order in the opening round on Wednesday.
Sumo rank: Juryo.

And now, a look at the pairings.

Division I
Leilehua at Kamehameha-Maui, 6:15 p.m.

Whether fans like or dislike the travel going from Oahu to neighbor islands or vice-versa, it’s compelling to see what home court will truly mean by the end of Monday night. Leilehua has travelled once already, to the Big Island for a preseason tourney, and that will help. Kamehameha-Maui is largely a secret. The Lady Mules have playmakers in the backcourt, led by Kaylen Kamelamela, and a nice blend of skills from the starting lineup to the bench. It’s a tough call here with the mystery element of KS-Maui, but if they can hang with Lahainaluna in three of four games, they’re the favorite here.

Winner will meet Konawaena on Thursday night at McKinley.

Kahuku at Kamehameha, 5 p.m.
This is an epic matchup in name, at least. Kamehameha has been playing some of the best basketball in the state during recent weeks. Kahuku is in its first year under Coach Latoya Wily. She hasn’t had enough time to fully give the program her own flavor, but she will in time. For now, the Warriors are the much more seasoned and skilled team.

Winter will meet fourth-seeded Farrington on Thursday.

Nanakuli at Kaimuki, 5 p.m.
That smallish court at Kaimuki wouldn’t seem to be an advantage to anybody, right? It works well for teams that don’t have a lot of experience and depth, and that’s Kaimuki in a large sense. Nanakuli has enough talent to make this really close, though. The earlier they leave campus and avoid town-side traffic, the better.

Winner will take on second-seeded Maryknoll on Thursday.

Mililani at Hilo, 4 p.m.
The good news for all neighbor island hosts is that they get to be part of the state tourney. Bad news is some of the games are scheduled early so that traveling teams can get back on the plane and avoid hotel expenses — which means a lot of parents will still be at work or in traffic when these games tip off. Hilo’s new gym looks beautiful; I haven’t been there since it was built. Larry Manliguis, the longtime boys coach, and his staff would have marveled at the facility. Mililani played in Hilo during preseason, beating Waiakea, which nearly beat Hilo. Twice. This could be the best game of the night.

Winner meets third-seeded Lahainaluna on Thursday at Moanalua.

Division II
Lanai vs. Damien

Kalani High School, Earl C. Holmer Gymnasium, Wednesday, 5 p.m.
Damien has been battled tested by D-II standards. Lanai? Another mystery team.

Winner will meet Mid-Pacific on Thursday.

Kauai vs. Kohala
Kalani High School, Earl C. Holmer Gymnasium, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
It’s a bit sad that two neighbor-island teams have to meet in the opening round, but this is about elimination and these two teams haven’t been much on the radar in the D-II picture.

Winner will meet Kalani on Thursday. Kalani may have the lowest seed, but of the seeded teams, it has what looks like the best sub-bracket matchup.

Moanalua vs. Hawaii Baptist
Farrington High School, Kitamura Gymnasium, 5 p.m.
If Moanalua is at full strength, this could be a heck of a war between two proud programs.

Winner plays second-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii on Thursday at Farrington.

St. Francis vs. Waipahu
Farrington High School, Kitamura Gymnasium, 7 p.m.
St. Francis is loaded with talent and could have the best scenario of all the non-seeded teams.

Winner plays Seabury Hall, Thursday at Farrington.


  1. Education First January 30, 2017 8:15 am

    Iolani had more than enough talent to win. Their problem is one player pounds the ball too much and isn’t dynamic. She can score but her game isn’t diverse enough to get others shots and make them better. Their rotation is whack. Rumors have it that the coaching staff plays favorites. If they want to reach the next level, they need a new coach. That won’t happen, not to the son of legendary Glenn Young. Even though coaches in their boys and girls program are eyeing that job up.

    Punahou is just a mess. Over the past 4-5 years they have had Taliaferro, Robinson, Velasco, Kam, and now Kuehu.

    Taliaferro got replaced mid-season after incident on Kona along with some member of his staff.

    Robinson (who was hired mid-season to replace Taliaferro) was so bad that parents complained until she wasn’t retained.

    Velasco won a state title, but struggled with the duties of running their entire program. His top assistant was removed by the athletic department after “rumors” of potential lawsuits due to an abusive personality.

    Then they brought in Kam who got run out of Mid Pac and never won more than 1 game in league play over 3 years in the ILH. Kam “resigned” 1 month ago due to numerous parent complaints. She has her coaching responsibilities lessened, thus losing respect and control of her team.

    And finally they replaced her with Kuehu, a girl who has never coached basketball at any school. And under Kuehu, Punahou has only beaten Sacred Hearts while losing to the rest of the world.

    And now the program is pretty bare.

  2. Rams33 January 30, 2017 10:30 am

    Is there a benefit to making the same complaint about Punahou over and over?

  3. Rams33 January 30, 2017 10:36 am

    As far as the rankings go, there aren’t 18 teams better than the top D-2 teams.

  4. Education First January 30, 2017 11:07 am

    Yes @ Rams33. Girls like you get to read it over and over again and then have something to reply to. You are very welcome!

  5. Rams33 January 30, 2017 12:28 pm

    It’s nice that we agree it’s pointless. Cheers.

  6. Education First January 31, 2017 9:02 am

    I find it hilarious that you cannot shoot down any of my points. But then again, I am guessing you struggle to comprehend scholarly writing, haha. I mean look at what you have contributed to this post.

    “Is there a benefit to making the same complaint about Punahou over and over?”

    “As far as the rankings go, there aren’t 18 teams better than the top D-2 teams.”

    “It’s nice that we agree it’s pointless. Cheers.”

    Your posts max out at 16 words, haha.

    I challenge you to dispute what I wrote in my post. I am thinking you cannot which is why you resort to you lame attempt at a question.”

  7. Education First January 31, 2017 9:10 am

    @ Paul Honda. Sacred Hearts’ Inter team wasn’t too good. Their JV was okay. They have a girl named Tehiwa who got called up from JV to Varsity. From what we seen at the JV level, she might be the best. She went for 10 and 12 a couple times at varsity after she got called up.

    I also think the best coaches in the ILH are either Hogue at SHA or Furtado at Maryknoll.

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