HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Lazarou a late bloomer for Moanalua hoopsters
This is a small world, and it doesn't get a lot smaller than the basketball battles of the Oahu Interscholastic Association.
Case in point: Moanalua guard Chris Lazarou. The senior was cut at Kalaheo a few seasons ago and wound up with Na Menehune.
In his team's league opener, he was scoreless and sitting on the bench much of the time when coach Greg Tacon called his number.
He drilled a pair of big 3-point shots and finished with nine points as Moanalua upset Kalaheo, 54-48.
"Chris didn't play four games ago," Tacon said. "I've got guys who were playing a lot back then who aren't playing much now."
That is what makes the nice start and the ongoing work of coaching this team a puzzle and joy for Tacon, their first-year coach who came over to Moanalua after coaching Punahou.
"I can't figure us out," he said. "Nobody can."
That may be true, but media and coaches like Moanalua enough to rank Na Menehune No. 8 in today's Star-Bulletin Top 10.
Tacon's squad has the benefit of perhaps the quickest point guard in the league, Stevie Austin.
"When you have a good ballhandler who's smart, it helps a lot," he said.
A lonely number: Punahou remained a lock at No. 1 with 14 of the 15 first-place votes.
The Buffanblu did as good a job as any foe has against Saint Louis and center Scott Smith during their showdown last week.
Smith managed 11 points against a smothering, collapsing defense, and a cold-shooting night by his teammates compounded the Crusaders' offensive woes.
Coach Delbert Tengan's team had just one practice to prepare for Maryknoll, and the Crusaders edged the Spartans 54-48.
With the usual home-and-away slate in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, the Crusaders can look forward to a rematch with Punahou in the not-so-distant future.
Rugged road: Neither the OIA Red West nor the Big Island Interscholastic Federation guarantees smooth pavement for its better basketball teams.
Radford fell at home in its OIA league opener to Leilehua, 44-43 in overtime.
Keaau lost 50-46 at home to Honokaa.
The Rams and Cougars dropped out of the Top 10 today, replaced by Moanalua and Baldwin.
University garnered more votes than any other Division II team and nearly landed at No. 10. The Junior Rainbows are 10-1 overall. Their only blemish is a 49-44 loss to Kaimuki.