Defending state champion Kamehameha gets its shot this week.
The Warriors are one of five local teams in the ‘Iolani Classic girls tournament, which tips off on Thursday. Led by point guard Tiare Kanoa and swingman Alohi Robins-Hardy, Kamehameha has its hands full in the opening round against Riverdale (Tenn.).
“I think it’s between Riverdale and Long Beach Poly,” tournament director Glenn Young said on Wednesday. “Riverdale ended last season No. 1 in the nation. Long Beach Poly is really strong.”
Riverdale finished the 2012-13 season at the top of the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings with a 35-0 mark.
Riverdale is currently 6-1 and ranked 17th by MaxPreps. The Murfreesboro school has the same nickname as Kamehameha — Warriors — and features Tennessee signee Alexa Middleton. They are coming off a recent loss to No. 12 Homewood-Flossmooor (Ill.) that ended a 62-game win streak — their first loss in three years.
Another national powerhouse in the tourney is Long Beach Poly (Calif.), which is at No. 11 in the MaxPreps poll. The Jackrabbits have guard Arica Carter, who will play at Louisville next year. They also have transfers Emoni Jackson, a 6-foot-1 post, and Lajahna Drummer, the No. 3 post in the nation according to ESPN. Jackson has committed to Michigan and Drummer has committed to UCLA. Drummer will not be eligible to play until Jan. 6 according to CalHiSports.com.
Long Beach Poly will meet Maryknoll, which has dominated local competition in preseason.
Hilo, which finished third in the state last year, makes the trip to Honolulu as a darkhorse contender in the Classic. Led by slashing guard Aliyah Pana, the Lady Vikings open the tourney against Westview (Ore.) at 3:30 p.m.
That game will be followed by Kamehameha-Riverdale (5 p.m.) and Maryknoll-Long Beach Poly (6:30 p.m.). Host ‘Iolani will meet McKinley in the nightcap (8 p.m.).
Westview, out of Portland, is ranked No. 3 in Oregon by MaxPreps. Jamie Nared, another Tennessee recruit, averaged 24 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game last season.