1. LAH (28-1)
2. PUN (15-2)
3. HIL (20-5)
4. MIL (22-3)
5. MS (18-5)
6. ROS (15-2)
7. KON (24-4)
8. KS (14-5)
9. HON (26-10)
10. IOL (12-10)
This is a first, right? We’re in the middle of the girls basketball state tournament, which is a two-week extravaganza (if you’ve seen these thrillers, you know what I mean) for the first time. That makes doing a ballot a little different from doing it all these other weeks and months leading into the final days of the season.
Of course, when favorites fall and Cinderella takes another step closer to the throne, I adjust. Head to head still rules my criteria.
Hilo deserves a 3 spot. Mililani does, too. For now, it’s Hilo right behind Lahainaluna and Punahou. The Vikings are still one of the smallest teams in the tourney, but they play BIG. Their underclassmen, WOW. Clutch, too. The difference between Hilo and Roosevelt, between losing and winning, is one point. A free throw. A missed layup. A turnover. To do it on the road, in Blaisdell Arena, that’s a big moment for Hilo girls basketball.
Mililani took care of business, too, knocking out BIIF champion Konawaena despite 27 points from Chanelle Molina. Sure, we can debate whether playing 17 miles from campus hurt or helped the Wildcats. I mean, if you’re used to playing before 500 or even 1,000 fans at home, but have to go drive for 25-30 minutes to another gym and have just a couple hundred (paid attendance) rooting you on, that might affect morale just a bit. Or not.
Mililani simply won it. Win Friday, fly out Saturday, win Saturday night. A huge win for the Trojans program.
The difference between 1 and 8 this year is miniscule, more so than any year I can recall. But someone’s got to win this thing. Someone’s got to be cool and composed under pressure.
Honokaa looked strong, deep and unified in sweeping through the D-II state field to take the title. I’d been voting Honokaa to my ballot for weeks while the Top 10 panel had Moanalua on the list. To me, head to head matters and Honokaa beat Moanalua in preseason. I thought Moanalua was poised to make a darkhorse run in the D-I tourney after that strong showing against Mililani, but Na Menehune let a 17-point lead slip away against a persistent, pressing King Kekaulike team.
I enjoyed watching Moanalua’s verve and hustle, and now LaChae McColor’s days in Menehune blue are done. She is, arguably, the most composed player in the state. Watch her shoot free throws. Always the same routine, and almost always all net.
Not much here. Kailua is young and talented. A lot of teams are young and will only get better next year: Hilo, Roosevelt, Punahou, Konawaena and, yes, Lahainaluna. The Lunas have just one senior.
Kalani is always scary for slower teams. King K? Pretty phenomenal against Moanalua, but ran out of legs the next day against Punahou. Leilehua and Kamehameha-Hawaii just weren’t deep enough in the post. Casey Poe of KS-Hawaii closed out one of the finest careers in state-tourney play memory. Here’s what Frank Mauz, a.k.a. the Wizard, collected.
Hey Pupule Paul,
Casey is one of the all-time great tournament players:
year games points average by game, in order
2014 4 91 22.8 24,28,20,19
2013 3 68 22.7 18,22,28
2012 3 53 17.7 22,15,16
2011 3 32 10.7 22, 4, 6
Overall 12 225 18.75
11 wins 2 losses