Pupule ballot: The case for St. Francis’ resume

St. Francis' Nani Santos put up a shot over Hawaii Baptist's Sasha Phillip (50) and Ally Wada (22) in an overtime win to clinch the ILH D-II title. Photo by Dennis Oda/Star-Advertiser.

St. Francis has talent, just enough depth, size and skill.

Even with the departure of two key players during Christmas break, the Saints keep winning and are 23-0 now. In the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10, they are locked in at No. 6, the highest position for any Division II team. On my ballot, though, they are No. 2 based on a 4-0 mark against ranked teams and that incredible ledger of wins.

It’s already mid-week, the OIA girls championship games were last night and I still haven’t posted my ballot for this week’s Top 10. So I’ll post it with results up to Saturday, but also with extra zing from this week’s OIA and ILH playoffs. What a season it’s turned out to be. Parity on top of parity. It’s like digging into a cream puff and finding a chocolate-covered strawberry. Or the equivalent of a kim chi malasada. Unpredictable!


Here’s how I voted. (All win-loss records as of Saturday, Jan. 20.)

Pupule BKG Top 10
01/21/18
1. Maryknoll Spartans (24-2, 10-0 ILH)
> vs top 10: 8-2
2. St. Francis Saints (23-0, 15-0 ILH D-II)
> vs top 10: 4-0
3. Lahainaluna Lunas (20-4, 11-0 MIL D-I)
> vs top 10: 2-4
4. Konawaena Wildcats (22-2, 10-0 BIIF)
> vs top 10: 6-2
5. ‘Iolani Raiders (14-7, 7-3 ILH)
> vs top 10: 10-6
6. Kamehameha Warriors (17-5, 8-4 ILH)
> vs top 10: 11-5
7. Moanalua Na Menehune (15-9, 7-3 OIA East)
> vs top 10: 4-6
8. Hilo Vikings (13-4, 9-2 BIIF)
> vs top 10: 2-4
9. Hawaii Baptist Eagles (24-6, 13-2 ILH D-II)
> vs top 10: 2-5
10. Waiakea Warriors (15-7, 8-2 BIIF)
> vs top 10: 1-5
11. Mililani Trojans (14-7, 10-0 OIA West)
> vs top 10: 1-6
> lost to MS 2x, MPI, WAIK, KON, HBA, KSM
> loss of Gibson = could be huge

Team-by-team summaries
1. Maryknoll Spartans (24-2, 10-0 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 1.
Last week’s games
W 58-29 @ Sacred Hearts 01/15 ILH
W 82-43 #3 ‘Iolani 01/17 ILH
Vs. Top 10: 18-2 (.900).
Strength of schedule: 20 of 26 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.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Southridge (Ore.), Post Falls (Idaho).

Skinny: Hands down.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Hakuho level Yokozuna.

2. St. Francis Saints (23-0, 15-0 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 2.
Last week’s games: None.
W 55-23 @ Hanalani 01/16 ILH D-II
W 61-24 Damien 01/17 ILH D-II (Maryknoll gym)
W 47-43 #10 Hawaii Baptist 01/20 ILH D-II-a
Vs. Top 10: 4-0 (1.000).
Strength of schedule: 4 of 23 games (17 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Sacred Hearts. Punahou, @ Hawaii Baptist, Hawaii Baptist.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): None.

Skinny: More than any other team on this ballot, the Saints have earned theirs by running the table. Their resume is impeccable. Does this mean they would automatically beat ‘Iolani and Kamehameha? Of course not. It would be an amazing battle. But 23 wins in 23 games is 23 reasons.

Sumo rank: Ozeki. As good as St. Francis is, they’re aren’t dominant at the very top level (Division I). They’re clearly competitive with any team, but the lack of wins over Top 5 teams is the main reason I haven’t promoted the Saints yet.

3. Lahainaluna Lunas (20-4, 11-0 MIL D-I)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 3.
Last week’s games
W 66-28 Maui 01/18 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 2-4 (.333).
Strength of schedule: 6 of 24 games (25 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Kamehameha, @ Konawaena.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): ‘Iolani, Maryknoll, Punahou, Campbell.

Skinny: How cool it is that schools with medium to small enrollments are doing so well. St. Francis. Lahainaluna. Of course, Konawaena. The Lunas finally played Maui on the court for the first time this season. There was no winter ball on Thursday, so the Sabers managed to attend the game.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

4. Konawaena Wildcats (22-2, 10-0 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 5.
Last week’s games
W 100-8 Kealakehe 01/17 BIIF
W 52-25 @ Kamehameha-Hawaii 01/20 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 6-2 (.750).
Strength of schedule: 8 of 24 games (33 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, ‘Iolani, Mid-Pacific, Campbell, Waiakea.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Lahainaluna.

Skinny: The Wildcats have been far more successful against Top 10 teams than Lahainaluna, which is 2-4. But the Lunas beat the ‘Cats at Col. Ellison Onizuka Memorial Gymnasium.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna.

5. ‘Iolani Raiders (14-7, 7-3 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 5.
Last week’s games
L 82-43 @ #1 Maryknoll 01/17 ILH
W 56-43 @ #5 Kamehameha 01/18 ILH-a
Vs. Top 10: 10-6 (.625)
Strength of schedule: 16 of 21 games (76 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, @ Waiakea, @ Mid-Pacific, @ Punahou, @ Sacred Hearts, Mid-Pacific, @ Kamehameha, Punahou, Sacred Hearts, @ Kamehameha.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Konawaena, Konawaena, Oregon City (Ore.), Naha Senior (Okinawa), Kamehameha, Maryknoll.

Skinny: Since last weekend, the Raiders, a.k.a. Kid Clutch Bombers, beat Kamehameha on Monday 48-44 to capture a state berth. Yes, they lost on Tuesday at Maryknoll 51-31 in the tournament title game, but that second quarter was enlightening. Would ‘Iolani hold the ball in a rematch with the Spartans? Hmm…

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. The three wins over Kamehameha are undeniable. Promotion earned. Especially with a 10-6 mark against Top 10 opponents.

6. Kamehameha Warriors (17-5, 8-4 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 6.
Last week’s games
W 54-41 Punahou 01/16 ILH
L 56-43 #3 ‘Iolani 01/18 ILH-a
W 61-37 Punahou 01/20 ILH playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 11-5 (.688)
Strength of schedule: 16 of 22 games (73 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Waiakea, Sacred Hearts, @ Punahou, @ ‘Iolani, @ Sacred Hearts, Mid-Pacific, ‘Iolani, Maryknoll, @ Mid-Pacific, Punahou, Punahou.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Lahainaluna, @ Maryknoll, ‘Iolani, Maryknoll, ‘Iolani.

Skinny: Tuesday’s season-ending loss to ‘Iolani is a heartbreaking conclusion for the Warriors, who were ranked No. 2 for a long stretch this season. ‘Iolani was simply hot and cohesive at the perfect time, and Kamehameha happened to get in the way. As a fan, I wish I could see this team play one more time.

Sumo rank: Yokozuna. Despite the three losses to ‘Iolani, that says more about the rapid progress of the young Raiders than anything about the Warriors.

7. Moanalua Na Menehune (15-9, 7-3 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 13.
Last week’s games
W 38-22 Kapolei 01/16 OIA playoffs
W 42-36 @ Radford 01/17 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 4-6 (.400).
Strength of schedule: 10 of 24 games (38 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific, @ Kalani, Kahuku, @ Kalani.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, Mililani, @ Sacred Hearts, St. Francis, Lahainaluna, Hilo, McKinley*, @ Kaimuki*, @ Roosevelt*.

Skinny: Since the poll was released on Monday, Na Menehune beat Kahuku in the OIA semifinals and lost to Kalani in the title game. I expected a much closer game especially because Moanalua edged Kalani 60-55 during the regular season. Kalani shot lights out and Moanalua looked like a team that was due for a down night. After seven wins in a row with every game having a playoff vibe, I think fatigue played a big part, particularly since the Kahuku game went into overtime.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

8. Hilo Vikings (13-4, 9-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 10.
Last week’s games
W 48-34 @ Kamehameha-Hawaii 01/17 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 2-4 (.333).
Strength of schedule: 6 of 17 games (35 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Mid-Pacific, Waiakea.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Mililani*, ‘Iolani, Konawaena, Waiakea.

Skinny: Since the poll was released, Hilo lost to Waiakea in the BIIF playoffs and is done for the season. Which means I never got to see the Vikings play. That was one heck of a win streak — seven games — that included a 41-39 regular-season win over Waiakea.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

9. Hawaii Baptist Eagles (24-6, 13-2 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 7.
Last week’s games
W 73-9 La Pietra 01/16 ILH D-II
W 53-22 @ Le Jardin 01/18 ILH D-II
L 47-43 @ #6 St. Francis 01/20 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 2-5 (.286).
Strength of schedule: 7 of 30 games (23 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: @ Campbell, @ Sacred Hearts.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha-Hawaii*, @ ‘Iolani, Sacred Hearts, Kamehameha, St. Francis, @ St. Francis.

Skinny: No word yet whether Ally Wada will be able to play after the injury on Saturday against St. Francis. The loss to St. Francis was a courageous effort by the team, but the 18 missed free throws are baffling. It’s easy to say, a few more free throws would’ve made the difference, but good teams don’t shoot below 50 percent at the line.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake. Demotion. Kamehameha’s losses to ‘Iolani don’t directly affect the Warriors’ status, but that factor plus the lack of skill at the FT line in a rare game against a Top 10 team… Ozeki teams don’t do this.

10. Waiakea Warriors (15-7, 8-2 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 9.
Last week’s games
W 56-40 Keaau 01/17 BIIF
W 63-31 Hawaii Prep 01/19 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 1-5 (.167).
Strength of schedule: 6 of 22 games (27 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: @ Sacred Hearts.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Mid-Pacific, ‘Iolani, @ Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Konawaena, Hilo*.

Skinny: The Warriors needed to punch through against Top 10 team and finally did it for the first time since preseason by beating Hilo in the BIIF playoffs on Wednesday.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake. Promotion time.

11. Mililani Trojans (14-7, 10-0 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 9.
Last week’s games
W 38-19 Nanakuli 01/09 OIA
Vs. Top 10: 1-6 (.143).
Strength of schedule: 7 of 21 games (33 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: @ Campbell.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Maryknoll, Maryknoll, Mid-Pacific, @ Waiakea, Konawaena, Hawaii Baptist, Kamehameha-Maui*.

Skinny: The Lady Trojans lost a close one to Kalani 47-45 on Monday in the OIA semifinals. They played well enough to win, but the experience, versatility and energy of Kalena Gibson (knee), very missed. With a healthy Gibson, Mililani has as much of a chance to win the OIA title as any team.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

12. Sacred Hearts Lancers (12-11, 3-7 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 11.
Last week’s games
L 58-29 #1 Maryknoll 01/15 ILH
W 64-53 Mid-Pacific 01/20 ILH playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 5-11 (.313).
Strength of schedule: 16 of 23 games (70 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Hawaii Baptist, Mid-Pacific, @ Punahou, Mid-Pacific, Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Konawaena, St. Francis, Hawaii Baptist, Waiakea, @ Kamehameha, Kamehameha, ‘Iolani, Punahou, @ Maryknoll, @ ‘Iolani, Maryknoll.

Skinny: The Lancers have since lost to Maryknoll in the ILH D-I playoffs, and the season is now over. Five wins over Top 10 teams. There’s a case to be made that SHA should be much higher on everyone’s ballots. Unless you believe the three wins over MPI aren’t impressive enough.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

13. Kalani Falcons (12-8, 8-2 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 14.
Last week’s games
W 61-20 Leilehua 01/17 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 0-6 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 6 of 20 games (30 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Punahou, Southridge (Ore.), Miramonte (Calif.), ‘Iolani, Kahuku*, Moanalua.

Skinny: The Falcons have since beaten Mililani and Moanalua to capture the OIA D-I championship, the first program to win a D-II crown and then D-I in consecutive seasons.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

14. Kauai Red Raiders (11-1, 8-0 KIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 12.
Last week’s games
W 55-52 Kapaa 01/19 KIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-1 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 0 of 12 games (0 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ St. Francis.

Skinny: The Red Raiders haven’t played anywhere near as many Top 10 opponents as St. Francis. Unlike the Saints, they sometimes win squeakers in league play. Five of their eight KIF games were decided by less than 10 points. But I’m willing to be a bit lenient. Playing the same two foes over and over makes it tougher, not easier, to win games. So Kauai could be improving every week and we just don’t see it in scores or stats.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

15. Kahuku Red Raiders (10-9, 8-2 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 15.
Last week’s games
W 52-30 Campbell 01/17 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 2-5 (.286).
Strength of schedule: 7 of 19 games (37 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Kalani, Campbell.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Sacred Hearts, @ Kamehameha, @ Maryknoll, @ Konawaena, Lahainaluna, Kaiser*, @ Moanalua*.

Skinny: Talented, gritty, unselfish and willing to rise to the occasion. Since the poll, Kahuku lost to Moanalua in OT in the OIA semifinals. The Lady Raiders will be a sleeper title contender in the state tourney. All the experience they gained as a young team in the playoffs will help at the big dance.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake. Promotion earned after six wins in their last seven games (before Jan. 20).

16. Mid-Pacific Owls (8-13, 2-8 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 16.
Last week’s games
L 64-53 @ Sacred Hearts 01/20 ILH playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 3-10 (.231).
Strength of schedule: 13 of 21 games (62 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: @ Waiakea, @ Punahou, Punahou.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Moanalua*, Konawaena, Hilo*, Kamehameha-Hawaii*, Maryknoll, @ Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, @ Kamehameha, @ ‘Iolani, @ Maryknoll, Sacred Hearts, Kamehameha, @ Sacred Hearts.

Skinny: Still a young team, and the wear and tear physically and mentally are a challenge for all title contenders. MPI lost its last six games in league play, including the playoff against Sacred Hearts. Of all the teams that have talent and skill returning next season, the Owls will be among the them. They’ve surpassed a young Punahou squad, but couldn’t solve the puzzle of SHA, let alone Kamehameha — which will return C Kalina Obrey. ‘Iolani may have the best three-player returning core in the ILH, perhaps the state. Maryknoll has immense talent coming up from the JV, though they won’t be as tall. The Owls are in position to make something special happen, or simply be competitive in 2018-19.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

17. Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors (11-4, 6-4 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 16.
Last week’s games
L 48-34 #9 Hilo 01/17 BIIF
L 52-25 #3 Konawaena 01/20 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 2-3 (.400).
Strength of schedule: 5 of 15 games (33 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Hawaii Baptist, Mid-Pacific.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Honokaa*, Waiakea, Hilo, Konawaena.

Skinny: The Warriors have advanced to the BIIF D-II title game this week.


Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

18. Punahou Buffanblu (9-11, 1-9 ILH)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 18.
Last week’s games: None.
L 54-41 @ #5 Kamehameha 01/16 ILH
L 61-27 @ #5 Kamehameha 01/20 ILH playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 2-12 (.143).
Strength of schedule: 14 of 20 games (70 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna, @ Sacred Hearts.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): St. Francis, Maryknoll, Kamehameha, Sacred Hearts, @ Mid-Pacific, ‘Iolani, Mid-Pacific, @ Sacred Hearts, @ ‘Iolani, @ Maryknoll, @ Kamehameha, @ Kamehameha.

Skinny: All things considered, the season played out about where I expected. A young (six freshmen) team was mostly successful in preseason, and close wins over eventual OIA champion Kalani and the JV team of Lahainaluna reflected that youth. The struggles of the ILH season, no surprise. Young teams rarely do well in the state’s toughest top-to-bottom league. Patience will go a very long way with this talented group.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

19. Campbell Sabers (15-6, 7-3 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 21.
Last week’s games
L 52-30 @ Kahuku 01/17 OIA playoffs
W 38-35 @ Radford 01/19 OIA playoffs-a
Vs. Top 10: 1-3 (.250).
Strength of schedule: 4 of 21 games (19 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Lahainaluna.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Baptist, @ Konawaena, Leilehua*, Mililani*, @ Radford*, @ Kahuku.

Skinny: The Sabers have qualified for the state tournament despite losing four of five games down the stretch. Winning on the road against a Radford team that had beaten Campbell 10 days earlier — clutch. The Sabers are a dangerous matchup at the big dance, a team that can knock anyone off if their shots are splashing.

Sumo rank: Sekiwake.

20. Radford Rams (9-8, 8-2 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 19.
Last week’s games
L 42-36 Moanalua 01/17 OIA playoffs
L 38-35 Campbell 01/19 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 1-6 (.143).
Strength of schedule: 7 of 17 games (41 percent) were vs. Top 10 (or similar level) teams.
Top 10 wins: Campbell.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, Lahainaluna, Maryknoll, Kamehameha, @ Mililani*, @ Waianae, Campbell.

Skinny: Another of the few teams I didn’t get to see this year. The Rams lost three of their last four, including the playoff defeats. If we had a 16-team field at D-I states, the Rams are in. But with 12 in each the D-I and D-II, there won’t be any expansion of a long, long time.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

21. Kaiser Cougars (12-10, 7-3 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 22.
Last week’s games
W 50-41 Nanakuli 01/16 OIA playoffs
L 51-28 Mililani 01/17 OIA playoffs
W 53-34 @ Leilehua 01/19 OIA playoffs-a

Skinny: The Cougars won a huge game against Leilehua, on the road, to seal a state berth. Of all the OIA East teams, it’s probably Kaiser that cements the reputation that the West as a whole still trails the East in girls basketball. Softball and soccer, a much different story.

Sumo rank: Komusubi.

22. Leilehua Mules (9-6, 7-3 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 20.
Last week’s games: None
W 53-45 Kaimuki 01/16 OIA playoffs
L 61-20 @ Kalani 01/17 OIA playoffs
L 53-34 Kaiser 01/19 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 1-2 (.333).
Strength of schedule: 3 of 15 games (20 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: Campbell.
Losses (*Non-Top 10): Kaimuki*, Mililani, @ Radford*, Kapolei*, @ Kalani, Kaiser*.

Skinny: It was a bumpy road with a green Mules team, but there was enough improvement and success to build on for next season. Will they have offseason commitment as they did while Elroy Dumlao was head coach?

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

23. Kaimuki Bulldogs (9-10, 6-4 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 23.
Last week’s games
L 53-45 @ Leilehua 01/16 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 0-3 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 3 of 19 games (16 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, @ Hawaii Baptist, ‘Iolani II*, Hilo*, Konawaena, @ Kalani, Kahuku*, @ McKinley*, Kaiser*, @ Leilehua*.

Skinny: The good news is that G Kaelyn Espinda was consistent and averaged 19 points per game despite being the focal point of opposing defense. Sonia Palik had another solid season. Other than that, not a ton of improvement and support from their teammates. The offseason is here, and Kaimuki has a chance to make a mark in D-I while the rest of the league is still fairly young and parity abounds.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

24. Roosevelt Rough Riders (9-9, 6-4 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 24.
Last week’s games: None
W 52-24 Pearl City 01/17 OIA D-II playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 0-5 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 5 of 18 games (28 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Baptist, @ Campbell, @ Radford*, Waiakea, Kamehameha-Maui*, Kaiser*, Kahuku, @ Kalani, Kaimuki*.

Skinny: The Rough Riders went on to win the OIA D-II title with a victory over Castle on Wednesday. They were in close losses to Kaiser, Kahuku, Kalani and Kaimuki. They also beat Moanalua, McKinley and Farrington. Their level of execution has been outstanding of late, which means the Rough Riders are a darkhorse contender at states next week.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

25. McKinley Tigers (12-9, 6-4 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 25.
Last week’s games
Vs. Top 10: 0-7 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 7 of 21 games (33 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kamehameha, Punahou, Sacred Hearts, St. Francis, Kalani, @ Farrington*, Roosevelt*, Kahuku, @ Campbell.

Skinny: Right about here, in the early to mid 20s of this ballot, teams are very much in the middling section of D-I and elite D-II teams. The Lady Tigers improved significantly this season with a fairly young roster. They were 0-7 against Top 10 teams, but 12-2 against everyone else. That’s better than average status. That’s promising. There’s much work to be done if the Tigers want more than just to be competitive.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

26. Honokaa Dragons (6-8, 6-3 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 26.
Last week’s games
W 47-28 @ Hawaii Prep 01/17 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-4 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 4 of 14 games (29 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Campbell, Waiakea, Waiakea, @ Hilo*, Konawaena.

Skinny: The Dragons have since defeated Pahoa to reach the BIIF D-II title game against KS-Hawaii. They have a state berth. The title game will be intriguing; the Dragons beat the Warriors 29-28 in Honokaa on Dec. 29.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

27. Nanakuli Golden Hawks (9-13, 6-4 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 27.
Last week’s games
L 50-41 Kaiser 01/16 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 0-6 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 0 of 22 games (0 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Hawaii Baptist, Kapolei*, @ Kamehameha, @ Kaiser*, @ Moanalua*, Kapolei*, Punahou, @ Kalani, Radford*, @ Campbell, Leilehua*, @ Mililani, Kaiser*.

Skinny: Competitive, but a dropoff from last year’s deep squad. The Golden Hawks are a mid-sized school with just enough talent to stay competitive in D-I, but not quite there yet skill-wise to win a D-I league title. Yet. Any team that gets closer to 60 percent at the free-throw line has a much better chance. That takes a lot of reps, and right now, Nanakuli girls basketball is somewhere in that D-1.5 gray area. Lord knows the athletic talent is there. The sub-50 percent FT shooting is telling. Ultimately, skills are the separator.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

28. Kapolei Hurricanes (13-6, 6-4 OIA West)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 28.
Last week’s games
L 38-22 Moanalua 01/16 OIA playoffs
Vs. Top 10: 0-3 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 3 of 20 games (15 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Roosevelt*, St. Francis, Nanakuli*, @ Campbell, Mililani, @ Radford*, Moanalua*.

Skinny: After closing their West schedule with five wins in a row, the ‘Canes weren’t able to take care of the ball against Moanalua. The West has three teams that would be a fit in ILH D-III: Pearl City, Waialua and Aiea. Communities where, for at least the past several years, soccer and softball, and volleyball to an extent, are more valued. The imbalance in distributing playoff berths is real, but that’s Kapolei simply hasn’t become a basketball force despite physical talent. Someone will become that breakthrough player and influence the next generation of area hoopsters. It’s a matter of when.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

29. Kamehameha-Maui Warriors (10-6, 7-5 MIL D-I)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 29.
Last week’s games
W 83-70 @ King Kekaulike 01/16 MIL
W 37-27 Baldwin 01/18 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 0-4 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 4 of 16 games (25 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Lahainaluna, Kamehameha, @ Lahainaluna, @ Maui*, Maui*, Lahainaluna.

Skinny: Where do the Warriors go from here? If they have to face Maui in the MIL playoffs, that’s potential kryptonite.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

30. King Kekaulike Na Alii (6-7, 5-6 MIL D-I)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 30.
Last week’s games
L 83-70 Kamehameha-Maui 01/16 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 0-3 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 3 of 13 games (23 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Kapolei*, Lahainaluna, @ Lahainaluna, Kamehameha-Maui*, Lahainaluna, @ Kamehameha-Maui*.

Skinny: Unlike KS-Maui, Na Alii have been able to fend off Maui in league play.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

31. Kamehameha II Warriors (13-8, 9-2 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 31.
Last week’s games: None.
W 44-30 @ Punahou II 01/16 ILH D-II
W 40-31 ‘Iolani II 01/20 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 0-4 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 4 of 21 games (19 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): King Kekaulike*, @ Campbell, Kapolei*, Mid-Pacific, @ Kaiser*, Kamehameha-Hawaii*, St. Francis, @ Hawaii Baptist.

Skinny: The Warriors are still ruling ILH I-AA.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

32. Keaau Cougars (6-8, 4-5 BIIF)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 32.
Last week’s games
L 56-40 @ #7 Waiakea 01/17 BIIF
@ Kohala 01/20 BIIF
Vs. Top 10: 0-6 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 6 of 14 games (43 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ Waiakea, Hawaii Baptist, Konawaena, Honokaa*, @ Konawaena, @ Hilo, Kamehameha-Hawaii*, @ Waiakea.

Skinny: The Cougars lost their BIIF D-I playoff game to Konawaena on Wednesday. They had a solid season with wins over Maui, Baldwin, Kealakehe. Getting over the hump and competing with the BIIF’s traditional powers takes development from the youth level. That blueprint has been in play on the Big Island for decades.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

33. Maui Sabers (5-7, 5-6 MIL)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 30.
Last week’s games
W 31-29 @ Baldwin 01/16 MIL
L 66-28 #4 Lahainaluna 01/18 MIL
Vs. Top 10: 0-1 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 2 of 12 games (17 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): King Kekaulike*, Keaau*, @ Kamehameha-Maui*, Lahainaluna, King Kekaulike*, @ King Kekaulike*, @ Lahainaluna.

Skinny: The Sabers have beaten Baldwin three times this season. Nothing like beating a traditional rival.

Sumo rank: Maegashira.

34. Farrington Governors (5-9, 4-6 OIA East)
Pupule ranking last week: No. 35.
Last week’s games
Vs. Top 10: 0-4.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): Punahou, Sacred Hearts, ‘Iolani, @ Kahuku*, Kalani, @ Moanalua*, Roosevelt*, @ Kaiser.

Skinny: The lone East team to miss the playoffs is better than at least three West teams.

Sumo rank: Juryo.


35. University Jr. Bows (10-11, 6-8 ILH D-II)
Pupule ranking last week: Unranked
Last week’s games
W 45-41 @ Damien 01/16 ILH D-II
W 39-29 Hanalani 01/20 ILH D-II
Vs. Top 10: 0-3 (.000).
Strength of schedule: 3 of 21 games (14 percent) were vs. Top 10 teams.
Top 10 wins: None.
Losses (Non-Top 10*): @ McKinley*, Nanakuli*, McKInley*, Punahou II*, @ St. Francis, Damien*, Hawaii Baptist, Kamehameha II*, @ Hawaii Baptist.

Skinny: Since losing to ‘Iolani II on Jan. 13, the Jr. ‘Bows have won four in a row. That includes a win over ILH D-III champion Christian Academy on Wednesday. Meanwhile, ‘Iolani II lost to Le Jardin and Kamehameha II last week.

COMMENTS

  1. Burgla January 27, 2018 1:13 am

    This makes very little sense sir.


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