Giving credit to Raiders
He wants a state championship. Badly.
No matter what, though, Punahou senior Miah Ostrowski is still a student of the game. Even with his oral commitment to play football for the University of Hawaii, basketball is the sport he has loved most.
That's why, even after a loss to Iolani that bumped Punahou from first place, he gave props to the Raiders.
Iolani, always tinkering, always masterful with new ideas, gave Punahou a different look.
"They used some good defensive schemes," Ostrowski said. "They forced me to the baseline and had help underneath."
Iolani also collapsed constantly on Punahou center Spencer McLachlin, limiting him to seven points. Ostrowski finished with 19, but it wasn't enough as the Raiders won 72-63.
The chess match between Iolani guru Mark Mugiishi and Punahou coach Dan Hale has just begun. The teams will meet at least once more before the ILH schedule is done. For now, Iolani is back at No. 1. After five state championships in a row, there's no mistake that the Raiders are not exactly underlings in a league they have ruled for half a decade.
Yet, with Punahou and Saint Louis looming larger, literally, and with more experience, how does Iolani keep pace, let alone beat the big boys? They do it with precision (marksmanship from 3-point range), ingenuity (new offense) and a complete devotion to the team concept.
Iolani did it in the fire, winning before a frenzied crowd, perhaps the largest in five years at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
Wonder of wonders, there have been notable feats as the winter season rolls along. Here are just a couple.
» Campbell softball: Two years ago, they struggled mightily. Then some homegrown talent, i.e. Manuma sisters, began staying home. They came within one win of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference championship on Saturday. David Perreira and his staff get a thumb's up. This is the same Sabers program that fell to Kailua 30-0 two years ago. Since then, Campbell has beaten the Surfriders twice, including Friday's OIA semifinals.
» Ka'u vs. Parker, basketball: Sure, if there were Division III, these two tiny schools would be perfectly comfortable.
Fairly even in talent, the teams could have played close to the vest, aiming for a rare victory.
Instead, their coaches let their kids go out and play the game. The Trojans, playing at home, won 99-79. The halftime score was 62-53. It was the highest-scoring game of the season, so far, anyway.
These two teams play some of the smallest, yet loudest gyms in the islands. Think plantation era, where everybody works at the front door knows everybody walking through. Performing stage at courtside optional.
For Ka'u, four players scored in double figures. Skyler Torres had 23. For Parker, only three scored in double-digits, but Djavan Cackley scored a season-high 41. That ties Tristan Sealy of Thompson, another D-II team, for the single-game high this season.
Athletes of the week
Obie Woods, Aiea basketball:
scored 23 points in a victory over Waipahu and 25 in a win over Thompson.
Makani Duhaylonsod, Mililani softball:
hurled the Trojans to back-to-back wins, including an OIA title-game victory over Campbell.
Alika Borabora, Lanakila Baptist:
scored 25 points in a win over Christian Academy.
Joshua DeLeon, Kealakehe: scored 20 points in a victory over Ka'u.
Robert Donley, Waipahu: scored 27 points in a win at Waialua.
Jray Galeai, Kahuku: scored 26 points against Kalaheo.
Jordan Ho-Ching, Maryknoll: scored 30 points against Punahou.
Ikaika Kahoopii, Kohala: scored 30 points in a win at Hilo.
Scott Keiter-Charles, Castle: scored 22 points in a win over Kahuku.
Jason Ko, Christian Academy: scored 34 points in a win over Redemption.
Joshua Ko, Christian Academy: scored 20 points against Assets.
Cheynne Lishman, Kalaheo: scored 23 points in a win at Kahuku.
Michael Makinano, Campbell: scored 23 points in a win over Leilehua.
Devin Marquez, Kohala: scored 20 points in a win over Waiakea.
Spencer McLachlin, Punahou: scored 20 points in a win over Maryknoll.
Keawe Ochman, Lanakila Baptist: scored 26 points against Christian Academy.
Miah Ostrowski, Punahou: scored 24 points against Maryknoll.
Hogan Rosehill, Kamehameha-Hawaii: scored 20 points in a win over Christian Liberty.
John Salmo, Baldwin: scored 20 points in a victory at Lahainaluna.
Gary Satterwhite, Radford: scored 24 points in a win over Campbell.
Tristan Sealy, Thompson: scored 32 points against Aiea.
Skyler Torres, Ka'u: scored 23 points in a win over Parker.
Austin Wakinekona, Saint Louis:
scored four goals in a win over Damien.
Jacqueline Watkins, Aiea: scored four goals in a win over Radford.
Kayla Alcoran, Kaiser:
batted 4-for-5 against McKinley.
Brittney Brackenridge, Kapolei: hit a double and drove in four runs against Waipahu.
Dawn Dela Cruz, Moanalua: hit 3-for-4 with a double against Kailua.
Brittney Fesolai, Kahuku: batted 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBIs in a win over McKinley.
Allison Hanaoka, McKinley: hit 3-for-4 against Kaiser.
Kelly Imada, Iolani: hurled a shutout against St. Francis.
Janna Tokuhama, Iolani: batted 4-for-4 as the Raiders defeated St. Francis.
Brittany Tokunaga, Kailua: homered and drove in three runs in a win over Moanalua.
Shaleese Javillo, Kamehameha: hit 3-for-5 in a win over Sacred Hearts.
Tehani Kaaihue, Kapolei: batted 3-for-4 with a triple, double and RBI in a win over Kalani.
Amber Kamaka, Kapolei: hit 3-for-3 with an RBI in a win over Waipahu.
Kishti Kamaka, Kailua: hurled a shutout against Kapolei.
Courtney Senas, Mililani: finished 2-for-4 with a HR and two RBIs in the OIA title-game win over Campbell.
Kaili Smith, Kapolei: hit 3-for-5 with three doubles and an RBI against Waipahu.
Neti Ulugaono, Kailua: batted 3-for-4 with a double against Moanalua.
Tatiana Vaimoui, Kahuku: hit 4-for-4 with a home run, two doubles and three RBIs against McKinley.
Skye Virtudes, Mililani: hit a three-run homer in a win over Moanalua.
Amber Waracka, Kamehameha: fired a two-hit shutout against Maryknoll.
TO NOMINATE ...
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To nominate ...
To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday: