Aiea’s Liilii turns heads
Aiea's explosive offensive weapon, Lofa Liilii, hasn't been silent in the offseason.
In fact, the elusive wide receiver wowed college recruiters at combines in Honolulu and San Antonio. His 4-second-flat time in the shuttle at the combines were part of the reason why Oregon State is interested.
"I played for Mike Riley," Aiea coach Wendall Say said. "He saw Lofa at both and he knows the times are legit. He's ready to offer him a scholarship."
Liilii, a Star-Bulletin All-State selection, saw a bit of action at quarterback late in the season. A former junior varsity QB, Liilii had reps at the position in the spring.
"If I had to decide right now, he'd be our guy," Say admitted. "You want the ball in the hands of your best guy."
Liilii said after last season that he prefers receiver, but has also played some running back. He said he'd play anywhere his coach asked him to. At just 5-foot-8, he's not the biggest offensive player around, but his skills and savvy make up for it.
Tacon trades places: Former Punahou coach Greg Tacon, released by Punahou after six seasons at the helm of the boys basketball program, is the new Moanalua coach.
Under an avalanche of high expectations, Tacon's Buffanblu team went 23-8 last season and did not qualify for the state tournament. Punahou later hired alumnus Dan Hale, last year's Moanalua coach, to take Tacon's place.
No extra clockwork: During the spring, the HHSAA explored the possibility of adding a shot clock to boys and girls basketball. Nothing formal was drawn up, but informal discussions gave Executive Director Keith Amemiya a sense of where the possibility stood.
The national federation plans to implement the shot clock for the 2007-08 year, but Amemiya considered bringing the clock to Hawaii a year in advance. In the end, Amemiya decided against taking a step toward early implementation.
The clock, however, is coming soon to a gym near you.
Honokaa loses longtime coach: The Honokaa girls basketball program lost Daphne Honma after 17 seasons of service.
Honma, who recently led the Dragons to the Big Island Interscholastic Federation championship, will be the first coach of the UH-Hilo women's basketball program. She will remain at Honokaa as a teacher until the end of the calendar year.
Honma, a Honokaa graduate, did more than coach during the school year. She organized the island's first summertime squad that traveled to the mainland for tournaments. Among her top players, going back to the mid-1990s, was Kahea Schuckert, the BIIF's all-time leading scorer.
With Keisha Kanekoa as her floor general the past three seasons, Honokaa rose again. This year, the Dragons ended a mammoth 61-game win streak in league play by Konawaena.
For much of Honma's 17 seasons, Honokaa has also drawn packed crowds to creaky old Lester Bryan Armory. The latest and most noteworthy turnout was a standing-room-only audience for the upset win over Konawaena.
Lady Panthers' loss is Kalani's gain: Courtney Gaddis didn't have any choice in the matter, but she couldn't help but giggle with delight.
The talented hoopster, who led La Pietra to a Division II state-tournament berth, will transfer to Kalani for her senior season. La Pietra won the Interscholastic League of Honolulu D-II crown this season and is slated by league bylaw to move up to Division I next season.
The Lady Panthers will have to do it without Gaddis, a lanky 5-foot-10 multi-position standout. Gaddis, who lives in the Kalani district, was unable to return to La Pietra due to financial restraints.
"It's great for me because I know all those girls," she said of her new Kalani teammates. "We all go to (Kalakaua) Clinic together."
Gaddis will step in at center, where the Lady Falcons lost Mana Camara to graduation. Gaddis' ball-handling and perimeter skills will give the run-and-gun Falcons a distinct advantage.
Kalani coach Darold Imanaka has already told Gaddis that he won't hesitate to bring her out of the low post and let her run the point when there is a severe mismatch.
"He said, 'If you're open and you don't shoot the 3, I'm taking you out,' " Gaddis said. Her grin widened from ear to ear. "I can't wait."
Will she or won't she?: Hilo's outstanding freshman, Vicky Tagalicod, is showing no signs of leaving the Lady Vikings despite rumors that Punahou is still open to accepting her.
Tagalicod, a 5-9 center, has the skills and quickness of a point guard.
Tagalicod isn't the only talented player -- she was voted No. 8 in the recent Star-Bulletin All-State Fab 15 -- to have interest in Punahou. Roosevelt sophomore Iwalani Rodrigues, No. 6 in the Fab 15, wanted to attend Punahou as a freshman.
Miller's time done at KS-Hawaii: The Warriors have released their only girls basketball coach to date, Kimo Miller.
Under Miller, they won the Division II state championship in 2005 and placed second this season.
No replacement has been named yet.
To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: