Look for intensity to rise as ILH hoops race winds down
With five ILH teams in the basketball Top 10, the drama of close games hasn't been a surprise.
"That's how the ILH is this year. On any given night, anyone can beat anyone," Iolani guard Vinny Nip said.
Kawika Shoji, who scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds in the last-second loss at Kamehameha on Saturday, had a taste of joy and disappointment within seconds. He scored a game-tying layup with 10 seconds left, but saw Rykin Enos drive for the winning bucket.
"It just means that the ILH race gets more intensity now," the 6-foot-4 senior said.
Which could mean that the pecking order going into last night's games -- Kamehameha (6-0), Iolani (5-1), Saint Louis (4-2), Punahou (3-3) and Maryknoll (2-4) -- may change dramatically by season's end.
Trojan uprising: Mililani has had its share of big crowds en route to a 5-0 start in the Oahu Interscholastic Association West Division.
Last week's 61-54 win over previously ranked Radford was pivotal for the Trojans.
"This helps us a lot," senior guard A.J. Clark said. "We're 5-0 and we're going for it all."
Losing helps most coaches when teams go back to practice. In Mililani's case, losing hasn't been required.
A poor start against Campbell two weeks ago led to a comeback win and taught the Trojans a valuable lesson.
"We knew we couldn't come out flat against Radford," Clark said. "We had to play four quarters of basketball."
Best of the rest?: Radford, which has wins over ranked teams Baldwin, Maryknoll and Kalaheo, could be the best team not in the Top 10.
The Rams fell out of the poll after losing to Pearl City and then-unranked Mililani.
"Our coaches emphasize boxing out, all the little things to help keep possessions alive," said guard Mike So'oto, who expects his team to continue working hard at practice. "We'll learn from this."
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: