Pupule ballot: From #1 (Maryknoll) to #21 (Kahuku)

Maryknoll’s Moe Notoa (22) attempted to steal the ball away from Kamehameha’s Noelle Sua-Godinet (21). Cindy Ellen Russell / Star-Advertiser

The ILH is ahead of most leagues when it comes to preseason performance in girls basketball. Rugged is the word in a league where the lower half had been successful against perennial powerhouses. This ballot was submitted on Sunday for Monday’s Star-Advertiser Top 10 release.

Here’s how I voted. (All win-loss records as of Saturday, Dec. 16.)

Pupule BKG Top 10

1. Maryknoll Spartans (14-1, 3-0 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 1.
Last week’s games
W 46-38 #2 Kamehameha 12/15 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 8-1.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, Konawaena, Waiakea, @ Mid-Pacific, @ Punahou, Miramonte (Calif.), Oregon City (Ore.), Kamehameha
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Southridge (Ore.).
Skinny: An update on the Spartans at the Tarkanian Classic — lost to Post Falls (Idaho) 49-47 in overtime on Wednesday and defeated Buckeye Union (Ariz.) 62-26 on Thursday. On Friday (today), the Spartans defeated Marlborough (Calif.) 69-27.

2. Kamehameha Warriors (12-2, 3-1 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 2.
Last week’s games
W 44-32 @ #5 ‘Iolani 12/12 ILH
L 46-38 @ #1 Maryknoll 12/15 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 4-2.
Top 10 wins: Waiakea, Sacred Hearts, @ Punahou, @ ‘Iolani,
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Lahainaluna, @ Maryknoll.
Skinny: It’s not easy for any team to lose its starting center, especially an all-state Fab 15 performer (Kalina Obrey), but this certainly gives the Warriors a chance to give reserves more minutes, which should lead to more development.

3. St. Francis Saints (13-0, 5-0 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 3.
W 48-22 @ Kamehameha II 12/13 ILH D-II
W 74-29 Hanalani 12/15 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 2-0.
Top 10 wins: Sacred Hearts. Punahou.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): None.
Skinny: I’m not at the point yet where I penalize the Saints on my ballot simply because they are in Division II. Some might say, “Well, that was the school’s choice. They could’ve moved up to D-I.” True. But for now, I’m not convinced that they’ve done anything to deserve less.

4. Lahainaluna Lunas (10-4, 4-0 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 4.
W 60-44 King Kekaulike 12/13 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 2-3.
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, @ Konawaena.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): ‘Iolani, Maryknoll, Punahou, Campbell*.
Skinny: The loss to Campbell still pops out. Lahainaluna’s state-title hopes rest on the development of its underclassmen.

5. Konawaena Wildcats (11-2, 3-0 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 5.
Last week’s games
W 42-34 @ Hilo 12/12 BIIF
W 57-38 Waiakea 12/14 BIIF
W 66-41 Keaau 12/16 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 6-2.
Top 10 wins: Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, ‘Iolani, Mid-Pacific, Campbell, Waiakea
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Lahainaluna.
Skinny: Every year, Coach Bobbie Awa and her experienced staff enter the process with their Wildcats. Eight state titles in the last 14 years indicates they have this process thing down.

6. ‘Iolani Raiders (7-4, 0-0 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 6.
Last week’s games
L 44-32 Kamehameha 12/12 ILH
W 77-52 @ Mid-Pacific 12/14 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 3-4.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, @ Waiakea, @ Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Konawaena, Konawaena, Oregon City (Ore.), Naha Senior (Okinawa), Kamehameha.
Skinny: Big game at Sacred Hearts tonight (Friday).

7. Campbell Sabers (10-2, 4-0 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 8.
Last week’s games
W 47-15 @ Pearl City 12/13 OIA
W 71-16 Waialua 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 1-1.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Baptist*, @ Konawaena.
Skinny: The upset win over Lahainaluna — the highest-level quality win by any team outside the Top 5 — was followed by a loss to Konawaena. Other than that, Campbell was run the table since with five wins in OIA West play, now six including this week’s win over Aiea. With a dearth of Top 10 teams in the OIA this season, it’s another low-ceiling, low-floor scenario until the postseason.

8. Waiakea Warriors (8-5, 1-0 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 9.
Last week’s games
W 71-5 @ Pahoa 12/12 BIIF
L 57-38 Konawaena 12/14 Cardinal Classic
W 39-34 Hilo 12/15 Cardinal Classic
W 68-31 Honokaa 12/16 Cardinal Classic
Vs. Top 10: 1-5.
Top 10 wins: @ Sacred Hearts.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Mid-Pacific, ‘Iolani, @ Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Konawaena.
Skinny: No seniors, but always playing at full-throttle. What they lack in size, they make up for with speed. The loss to Konawaena wasn’t close, but the Warriors knocked off rival Hilo the next day. The Warriors have time to figure out a way to reach the state tourney.

9. Sacred Hearts Lancers (9-5, 2-1 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 10.
Last week’s games
W 45-40 @ #7 Punahou 12/13 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 1-4.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific, @ Punahou.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Konawaena, St. Francis, Hawaii Baptist*, Waiakea, @ Kamehameha.
Skinny: It’s been some time since the Lancers solidified themselves as a title contender in ILH D-I. That’s what they’ve done with close wins over Mid-Pacific and Punahou.

10. Mid-Pacific Owls (6-7, 1-3 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
L 77-52 #5 ‘Iolani 12/14 ILH
W 42-39 @ #7 Punahou 12/16 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 2-4.
Top 10 wins: @ Waiakea, @ Punahou.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Moanalua*, Konawaena, Hilo*, Kamehameha-Hawaii*, Maryknoll, @ Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani.
Skinny: Certainly, there are fans inside and outside the Owls community who hoped Sherice Ajifu and staff would be back by now. The win over Punahou on the road is a huge statement by the team. It’s only one win, but they sure needed it.

11. Punahou Buffanblu (8-5, 0-4 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 7.
Last week’s games
L 45-40 #9 Sacred Hearts 12/13 ILH
L 42-39 @ Mid-Pacific 12/16 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 1-5.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): St. Francis, Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Sacred Hearts, @ Mid-Pacific.
Skinny: A young team, probably the youngest in ILH D-I with a first-year head coach needs time to establish itself. All those close margins of victory in preseason reflected the Buffanblu’s grit, but they also revealed a program that is in its early stages of development. Patience is key.

12. Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (4-0, 0-0 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 58-17 @ Ka‘u 12/11 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 1-0.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): None.
Skinny: Probably the best team that few fans have seen. It would’ve been quite interesting to see how the Warriors squared up with the state’s top D-I programs. They did beat ILH D-II powerhouse Hawaii Baptist on Nov. 25. For now, they look very much like the favorite in BIIF D-II.

13. Hawaii Baptist Eagles (13-4, 4-0 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 56-29 @ Hanalani 12/12 ILH D-II
W 45-23 Punahou II 12/14 ILH D-II
W 56-7 La Pietra 12/16 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 2-3.
Top 10 wins: @ Campbell, @ Sacred Hearts.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha-Hawaii*, @ ‘Iolani, Sacred Hearts, Kamehameha.
Skinny: Campbell’s rise into the Top 10 adds a quality win to the Eagles’ ledger. There’s clearly an argument to be made that HBA belongs higher on any voter’s list. They’ve split with Sacred Hearts (both games at Dorothy Macy Gym). SHA has beaten Punahou. The loss to Kamehameha was close all the way, back and forth until the final minutes (though it’s noteworthy that Kiana Vierra didn’t play that day.)

14. Hilo Vikings (5-4, 1-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
L 42-34 Konawaena 12/12 BIIF
Keaau 12/14 BIIF
L 39-34 Waiakea 12/15 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 1-4.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Mililani*, ‘Iolani, Konawaena, Waiakea.
Skinny: The loss to Waiakea is significant. They’ll play again soon, but that is a separator, for sure.

15. Moanalua Na Menehune (8-7, 2-1 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
L 42-37 McKinley 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 1-4.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, Mililani*, @ Sacred Hearts, St. Francis, Lahainaluna, Hilo*, McKinley*.
Skinny: Na Menehune are competitive, but the loss to the Lady Tigers is either a wake-up call or a sign of plateauing.

16. Kamehameha-Maui Warriors (5-2, 2-1 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 45-24 @ Baldwin 12/16 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 0-2.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Lahainaluna, Kamehameha.
Skinny: This was a very intriguing team to see at the Sacred Hearts Invitational a few weeks back. They stood their ground against Mililani and Roosevelt, two OIA teams that will contend for league titles. The scoring balance and 3-point skills from 1 through 5 will be a prevailing factor if the Warriors reach the state tourney.

17. Kalani Falcons (6-6, 3-0 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 38-33 @ McKinley 12/11 OIA
W 45-24 @ Farrington 12/13 OIA
W 38-31 Roosevelt 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 0-6.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Punahou, Southridge (Ore.), Miramonte (Calif.), ‘Iolani.
Skinny: They’re finding that formula for success, learning the right time to pile up easy layups and the right time to launch dagger 3-pointers.

18. McKinley Tigers (9-5, 3-1 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
L 38-33 Kalani 12/11 OIA
W 52-44 @ Kalaheo 12/13 OIA
W 42-37 @ Moanalua 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 0-4
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, Punahou, Sacred Hearts, St. Francis, Kalani*.
Skinny: This team keeps getting better week by week. What they lack in size and depth, the make up ground with toughness and quickness. They’re also starting to shoot better, which will make the OIA East that much more unpredictable.

19. Kaiser Cougars (5-6, 3-0 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
W 70-13 Kailua 12/13 OIA
W 38-34 @ Kahuku 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 0-4.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Lahainaluna, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific, Kamehameha-Hawaii*, Punahou, Kamehameha-Maui*.
Skinny: Parity in the OIA East, particularly in the city, is more than I can remember in decades. Kaiser, Kalani, Kaimuki, Roosevelt (D-II), McKinley, Moanalua — all very capable of beating one another on any given night.

20. Mililani Trojans (5-7, 2-0 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked.
Last week’s games
Radford 12/13 OIA
W 49-24 @ Kapolei 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 0-5.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Maryknoll, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific, @ Waiakea, Konawaena, Hawaii Baptist*, Kamehameha-Maui*.

21. Kahuku Red Raiders (4-7, 3-1 OIA)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked
Last week’s games
W 42-37 @ Roosevelt 12/13 OIA
L 38-34 Kaiser 12/15 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 0-5.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Sacred Hearts, @ Kamehameha, @ Maryknoll, @ Konawaena, Lahainaluna.
Skinny: Kahuku may be the youngest team in the East, but has enough balance in its lineup to make a serious run for the league title.

Next week: A pupule look at the top 35.


  1. Rams33 December 22, 2017 4:57 pm

    MidPac might be a bit high with their turmoil. Slide Kam-HI into that place. No reason they should be ranked lower than the Owls.

    Punohou should be nowhere near top 10 with zero conference wins

  2. Olympia December 23, 2017 9:39 am

    I agree with Rams33. Punahou is 0-5 in league play. That is terrible. When was the last time Punahou lost to Mid Pac and Sacred Hearts in the same year? Probably way back in the BC’s.

    Their team is inexperienced and the coaching is even more green. They need to play some of the upperclassmen more. They have one huge advantage, their big girl Tama. But they struggle to get her the ball.

    Teams often double team Tama, and the Punahou coaching staff does not know how to get Tama into a single team situation. That just shows how unprepared this coaching staff is.

    Cross screen, Upscreen, Diagonal Screen, Flash, Cross the posts, Overload. There are so many ways to get Tama into scoring situations.

  3. Rams33 December 23, 2017 11:35 am

    Also, minor correction. Kalina Obrey played the entire 32 minutes against HBA. It was their senior wing who was out with an ankle injury (as well as HBAs starting post being out).

  4. PublicSchoolAllTheWay December 23, 2017 6:15 pm

    Go Owls! Congrats to the girls for beating Punahou again today! Proud of them for pushing forward despite all the pilikia surrounding the “adults” in this situation (admin, coaches, parents). Keep doing your thing ladies! Good luck to all the teams this season …

  5. Olympia December 24, 2017 10:33 am

    Saw the game yesterday. Punahou scored 19 points. That is not a typo. That is so anemic.

  6. PublicSchoolAllTheWay December 24, 2017 11:26 am

    Olympia were they missing key players? Or just off? I’m sure they got the talent.

  7. Olympia December 24, 2017 2:29 pm

    @PublicSchoolAllTheWay, no everyone was there. Plus, Tanisha played. She was out for a while and is a returning starter.

    The issue is lack of experience on the current coaching staff.

    Shawna Kuehu – only 1+ years of coaching experience ever. Isn’t ready.
    Kyle Pape – has like 2 years of experience as an assistant for his wife on jv. boy was suspended by either punahou or the ilh for breaking ilh rules coaching kids when he wasn’t supposed to.
    Kanisha Bello – heard this is her first year coaching.
    Scott – former video guy at uh. heard he has zero coaching experience. but the guy yells a lot.

    Puns got tons of talent. Coaching staff doesn’t know to use it or who to play in my humble opinion.

    Staff is just overwhelmed. When was the last time the Puns were 0-6 in league with 2 losses to MPI and another loss to Sacred Hearts. And they lost by 20 last night to Mid Pac while only scoring 19. That’s bad. It’s like watching a KAC youth game at times.

  8. BuffAllDay December 25, 2017 1:44 pm

    Like I told many of my buddies, Kuehu is not ready. They should have hired a bench coach with far more experience to mentor and teach her. By the look of things, it seems Punahou gave Kuehu full autonomy to pick and choose her staff. Looking at the posts above it looks like there isn’t a seasoned veteran on staff.

    I have never seen someone with so little experience thrown into the fire so quickly. Talent can only get you so far. But this year, there are several talented teams in D1. There are no freebies. So since everyone has talent, you need to surround that with good coaching. And while the effort is there, the coaching is very suspect right now.

    There are hardly any adjustments made. Their offensive sets are plain and basic. There are no wrinkles. Defensively, they are not very diverse so their opponents know what to expect.

    They run equal opportunity offense instead of using advanced stats to figure out who should shoot and at what spots they should take these shots from.

    I have seen them try to run pick and roll against a match up zone. This tells me they either do not recognize the defenses being thrown at them, do not understand how to attack a match up zone, or just don’t care.

    There is talent, I do agree. Hopefully administration will look at changing up the coaching staff and bring in more experienced coaches to help Kuehu. The kids really need it for their development.

  9. Paul Honda December 26, 2017 10:23 pm


  10. Maihiro December 27, 2017 11:23 pm


  11. RR4L December 30, 2017 11:53 pm

    Awesome #21

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email hawaiiprepworld@staradvertiser.com.