Moanalua responded to last week’s one-point loss to McKinley by going on the road and overpowering Castle 68-46 on Tuesday. A nice 24 points by Raven Rosa-Lasco and 14 for gunner Sienna Ho.
>> And speaking of the Tigers
McKinley had its first regular-season home game and lost to Kailua 42-39. Tau Williams, previously listed on team rosters as Delcie, had 11 points and point guard Tara Takata scored six. I thought Takata would score in the high teens every night — she spent the fall playing in a varsity boys league, lighting it up from deep — but the Surfriders apparently do have some new talent up to help fill the void left by now-graduated all-state player Patria Vaimaona. Tiare Akiona-Simeona scored 10 points and Jasmyn Keohohina-Malina tallied eight.
Could the Surfriders actually be more balanced after Vaimaona graduated? It’s happened before, this pattern of teams getting stronger and more balanced after a dominant scorer graduates.
That’s two wins in two OIA games for Kailua. Williams, you may recalled, scored 44 points a game during her sophomore season. She’s a multi-sport super-athlete. Yes, if anyone besides Keala Quinlan is going to crack 40 or 50 this season, it might be Williams. I’d say “should” but that’s a tough expectation on any multiple-sport athlete.
>> And speaking of scorers
I really am looking forward to seeing Tywanna Abbott have a huge season for Leilehua. She’s powerful in the paint, has an explosive first step on her drive, and has the kind of motor that can rev up an entire team. Even in the Mules’ preseason loss to Punahou, she blew past defenders.
She had eight points in a 44-32 Mules win over Campbell on Tuesday. The scoring attack was balanced. Nine points apiece for Tianna Hanohano and Kaylen Kamelamela. That’s good news for a team that lost all-state guard Jerry Maluyo to graduation.
>> The Battle of Honokai Hale
Or not really, but when Kapolei and Nanakuli meet in any sport, I can’t help but wonder about the kids of yesteryear (and possibly today) who chose one school or the other. Kapolei’s got some of the top players year after the year in soccer and softball, but basketball has been catching up. A case could be made that it’s done just as well in some years.
Right now, though, Nanakuli has bragging rights. The Golden Hawks got 19 points from Alana Nuuanu in a 54-28 taming of the Hurricanes on Tuesday. Nanakuli’s hoops program has enjoyed a resurgence in recent seasons. Maybe it’s hard work. Maybe their best athletes chose basketball over soccer, which is also played in the winter. What they have for sure is this: 14 players saw playing time on Tuesday, and I can’t really recall the last time a school with a small enrollment fielded a basketball team with that many players. In a famished OIA West, they might push Leilehua and Mililani. Hard.
There are a lot of great things happening in many sports at Nanakuli these days. It’s fun to see.
>> Speaking of futbol impact…
Pearl City. The land of fantastic soccer and softball has experienced a decline in girls basketball since Michael Morton stepped down as coach a few years ago. On Tuesday, the Chargers scored 3 points in the first three quarters against Mililani.
Granted, the Lady Trojans have a solid program under Patrick Basilio, but standout forward Shantel Appleby did not play. She injured a knee last week in the league opener against Waipahu.
It’s kind of painful to see once-flourishing programs struggle, but times change. Pearl City is one of many communities on Oahu that have matured. Families grow up and kids move out to other communities. The facilities are there, which can’t be said for all districts.
Mililani? Six Lady Trojans scored at least seven points. Jazmina Lafitaga, their transfer from Leilehua, is already one of my favorite players to watch. She will haul in rebounds and take off coast-to-coast every time she can. Velisa Meleisea gives Mililani a strong presence in the post.
Looking ahead is rarely good for players, but for roundball fans, Leilehua-Mililani is already whetting the appetite. The rivals will meet on Saturday at Mililani.