HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Kaiser, Keaau, University jump into state rankings
There are newcomers and there are old faces in the Star-Bulletin Boys Basketball Top 10 today.
For newcomers like Keaau, Kaiser and University, a spot in the rankings could be savored. Kaiser and University, in particular, may enjoy the recognition of their sterling seasons even more since they are Division II programs.
For Saint Louis, however, No. 2 in the poll is the same as being second in their league. The Crusaders aren't lamenting their place just yet, though. After all, it took a comeback win over Kamehameha and a tough victory over Iolani for Saint Louis to remain in second place in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
With Iolani's defense swarming all over Saint Louis center Scott Smith, the Crusaders got a big boost from Kuli'a Aiona. The defensive stopper came up with 15 points, mostly on mid-range jumpers, to spark his team.
For Iolani, there isn't much opportunity to sit back and dwell on the loss, its first in league play. Mugiishi was a bit glum while trying to think of positives for his squad.
"A lot of it had to do with how well Saint Louis played," he said. "But I don't think we played very well. I'm not satisfied."
Iolani remained locked at No. 3 in the Top 10. Punahou was a unanimous choice at No. 1 with all 20 first-place votes.
Keaau's 55-43 win over Kamehameha-Hawaii last week was literally a battle of neighbors. Keaau point guard Kekai Cazimero and KS-Hawaii point guard Mea Wong are friends and roommates. When the two Keaau-based programs battle, there is as much respect as there is competition.
The Cougars vaulted back into the Top 10 at No. 8 today.
Kaiser, now 11-2 for the season, may have the toughest schedule of the three newbies in the poll. The Cougars visit McKinley, then Nanakuli and Waialua this week. McKinley and Waialua have enough talent and veteran coaching to give any team in the OIA, regardless of division, a hard time. Nanakuli has begun to show drastic improvement after a tough December.
University, meanwhile, is 12-1. The only blemish came in a 49-44 loss to No. 5 Kaimuki. The Junior Rainbows are playing in Division II of the ILH this year, but with a thin bench and one starter out indefinitely due to injury, Walt Quitan's team is benefiting from the change.