HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Punahou is top seed in state basketball
The top-ranked team in the state cannot face an ILH rival before the final
Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Punahou has earned the top seed in the Hawaiian Airlines/ HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championships.
Division I Schedule
1. Punahou. 2. Kaimuki. 3. Kamehameha-Hawaii. 4. Kamehameha-Maui.
Game 1: Kalaheo vs. Honokaa, 6 p.m.
2: Radford vs. Moanalua, 8 p.m.
3: Saint Louis vs. Campbell, 6 p.m.
4: Iolani vs. Baldwin, 8 p.m.
5: Kamehameha-Maui vs. Game 1 winner, 6 p.m.
6: Punahou vs. Game 2 winner, 8 p.m.
7: Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Game 4 winner, 6 p.m.
8: Kaimuki vs. Game 3 winner, 8 p.m.
At Stan Sheriff Center
9: Game 1 & 2 losers, 10:45 a.m.
10: Game 3 & 4 losers, 12:30 p.m.
11: Game 5 & 6 losers, 2:15 p.m.
12: Game 7 & 8 losers, 4 p.m.
13: Game 5 & 6 winners, 6 p.m.
14: Game 7 & 8 winners, 8 p.m.
Consolation: Game 9 & 10 winners, 2:30 p.m.
Fifth place: Game 11 & 12 winners, 2:15 p.m.
Third place: Game 13 & 14 losers, 4 p.m.
Championship: Game 13 & 14 winners, 8 p.m.
Division II Schedule
1. University High. 2. Aiea. 3. Kohala. 4. Seabury Hall.
Game 1: Farrington vs. Pahoa, 6 p.m.
2: McKinley vs. St. Joseph, 8 p.m.
3: Molokai vs. Hawaii Baptist Academy, 6 p.m.
4: Kauai vs. Academy of the Pacific, 8 p.m.
5: Game 1 & 2 losers, 4 p.m.
6: Seabury Hall vs. Game 2 winner, 6 p.m.
7: University vs. Game 1 winner, 8 p.m.
8: Game 3 & 4 losers, 4 p.m.
9: Aiea vs. Game 4 winner, 6 p.m.
10: Kohala vs. Game 3 winner, 8 p.m.
Consolation: Game 5 & 8 winners, 4 p.m.
12: Game 6 & 7 losers, 6 p.m.
13: Game 6 & 7 winners, 8 p.m.
14: Game 9 & 10 losers, 6 p.m.
15: Game 9 & 10 winners, 8 p.m.
At Stan Sheriff Center
Fifth-place: Game 12 & 14 winners, 9 a.m.
Third-place: Game 13 & 15 losers, 10:45 a.m.
Championship: Game 13 & 15 winners, 6 p.m.
Thanks to its 13-1 ILH record, Punahou gets the bye that comes with being seeded and avoids the rougher road taken by unseeded teams. Three of the top four teams in the Star-Bulletin Top 10 are from the ILH -- Punahou, Iolani and Saint Louis. The latter two teams are in the opposite bracket from Punahou, meaning the Buffanblu could not face either before the final.
"That's huge for us, especially since Saint Louis is playing good ball lately," Punahou guard Miah Ostrowski said, mindful of his team's recent history. "At the state tournament, there really is no easy route. There's no easy game. The two years I've been there, we've been upset by Baldwin and Kalaheo."
Those two losses were heartbreakers for the Buffanblu, but nothing tormented them worse than missing the state tourney last year. A double-overtime loss to Saint Louis cut Punahou's season short.
"That was hard for us," said Ostrowski, who is one of the leading candidates for player of the year honors. "It took a while for me to get over it. It made us want to work harder this year toward what we want to accomplish. We know whoever we play, we have to play our best."
Saint Louis, ranked No. 4 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, could face Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Kaimuki in Wednesday's quarterfinals, a tough test for the second-seeded Bulldogs.
"If we have to beat three ILH teams in a row, so be it. I was expecting it that way. They can't really go around it," said Kaimuki coach Kelly Grant, who guided the Bulldogs to the state final last season. "We'll have to have a little more strategy if we play Saint Louis. They have a lot more size than us."
Third-seeded Kamehameha-Hawaii could face five-time defending state champion Iolani in that round.
Fourth-seeded Kamehameha-Maui, which won the Maui Interscholastic League for the first time, will face the Kalaheo-Honokaa winner.
As for Saint Louis, there won't be much looking past its first-round opponent. The Crusaders have to contend with Campbell in tomorrow's opening round -- the same team that eliminated Saint Louis from last year's state tourney.
This season brings the debut of the Division II state tournament, which in turn created Oscar-worthy playoff drama across the islands
University High was awarded the top seed after going 13-1 in ILH D-II play, but coach Walt Quitan is concerned because the Junior Rainbows have had a long layoff.
"I don't think the No. 1 seed means much. I am more worried about not playing for over two weeks," he said. "I was a little surprised, but I thought any of the top three teams that were seeded could have been No. 1."
The first two nights of the D-I tournament will be played at McKinley and Radford. The D-II tourney will play at Kaimuki and Farrington on the first two nights. The final two days for both Division I and II will be at the Stan Sheriff Center.
State Basketball Tournament Seeds
1. Punahou (22-3).
The Buffanblu, like Iolani, have been idle since closing out the ILH season with a title-clinching win over Iolani. Twelve days will have passed before Punahou finally puts the game uniforms on again.
"Radford played Kaimuki tough all the way to the end, and with Moanalua, anything can happen," said coach Dan Hale, who coached at Moanalua for three years before returning to his alma mater.
2. Kaimuki (23-8).
The regular season (7-5) is long forgotten for the Bulldogs, who repeated as OIA champions. The trio of Daniel Colon, Keone Reyes and Beau Albrechtson have excelled to no surprise. It's the improvement of a young bench that has given coach Kelly Grant some relief.
3. Kamehameha-Hawaii (25-6).
The Warriors repeated as BIIF champion, but the second time around was far more difficult because of injuries and a stronger league. Mea Wong is the court general for a seasoned, deep and relatively undersized squad. Coach Nelson Wong has KS-Hawaii winning both uptempo and slow-tempo battles, very much in an ILH grind-it-out fashion.
4. Kamehameha-Maui (9-4).
Erwin DeCoite is the leading scorer for a Warriors squad that is on Cloud 9 after edging Baldwin in overtime for the MIL crown.
1. University (21-3). The Junior 'Bows have beaten quality teams like Moanalua and McKinley, even MIL teams Seabury Hall and Lanai. Coach Walt Quitan laments the long break, but there's nothing they can do about it.
"At least with the bye, we will get a chance to see both teams in action," he said of potential foes Farrington and Pahoa. Noah Chong-Viernes and George Bukes give them steady play in the post, but UHS is a deep team that also gets scoring from James Laui, Andrew Bayan and Kyle Nitta.
2. Aiea (21-4). Na Alii march to the beat of their own drum, a fast-breaking, pressure-defense unit that is probably the most athletic in all of Division II. Point guard James Buchanan sets the tone with his speed and wits, while Obie Woods scores inside and out. Josh Chung is a deadly 3-point set shooter and zonebuster. Aiea has size, but 5-9 Lofa Liilii is an amazing athlete who plays above the rim.
3. Kohala (20-6). One edge the Cowboys have over their foes is this: They played Division I teams throughout the regular season. Kohala, with 6-5 Ikaika Kahoopii in the middle, went 13-3 in the rugged BIIF. Coach Don Fernandez's team is battle-tested, to say the least.
4. Seabury Hall (12-9). The Spartans struggled in December, but showed signs of an uptick in a relatively close loss to University. Kasen Dudley and Sam Guard are streaky shooters who got hot in the MIL title win over the bigger Molokai Farmers.
Kalaheo vs. Honokaa -- The Mustangs (22-9) lost in the OIA final, but they've bounced back from defeat before. Their size, with Tyler Caswell (6-6), Chase Moses (6-3) and Cliffton Pires (6-2) is a key advantage. Kalaheo sharpshooter Cheynne Lishman had a two-game stretch of 11 3-pointers in nonconference games with Punahou and Kamehameha. Komakana Fernandez and Damian Sabater-Hart power the Dragons (22-3) under the glass, while Kien Aveiro has been steady in the backcourt.
Radford vs. Moanalua -- The Rams (17-10) get scoring from Gary Satterwhite, but defensive intensity and size put them over most foes. So'oso'o Taulelei is a 6-3 point guard, and 6-5 Antonio Williams has a solid mid-range jumper. Na Menehune (17-14) had to fight their way out of the OIA playoffs for the final state berth. Stevie Austin is one of the quickest guards in the state.
Saint Louis vs. Campbell -- It was a year ago that Campbell surprised Saint Louis, which had little rest after a draining ILH third-place tourney. This time, Saint Louis (21-5) had the playoff tourney plus a trip to the Big Island, where a win over Konawaena sealed a state berth. Scott Smith, a 6-7 senior, has been powerful under the glass. Campbell (17-12) runs hot and cold, depending on how well Mike Makinano is shooting.
Iolani vs. Baldwin -- If the Raiders (20-7) get past the Bears, a matchup with KS-Hawaii awaits. Ryan Dung and Case Miyahira are marksmen from the arc, while youngsters Liloa Nobriga (6-3) and Taylor Mounts (6-5) continue to improve. Baldwin (13-12) is young, but a trip to Oahu two months ago should help the Bears' composure this week. Junior Chase Nakamura has been sporadic, but if he's hot, anything goes.
Farrington vs. Pahoa -- The Governors, who went 10-5 in OIA play, have come a long way under positive-thinking guru Allan Silva. Christian Fernandez was clutch in a big win over Kaiser, scoring all 24 of his points from 3-point range. Pahoa, 8-9 in BIIF games, relies on Vincent Sanekane and Jordan Viernes for scoring punch.
McKinley vs. St. Joseph -- Coaches Bob Morikuni (McKinley) and Harry Scanlan-Leite (St. Joe) are true strategists who get the most from their players. McKinley (17-12) had a go-to scorer in Nainoa Lessary and a shot-blocking force in Earvin Sione. St. Joe has a plethora of scorers, including Jake Lee and Royden Masulit.
Molokai vs. Hawaii Baptist -- The Farmers will be on a plane for their second road trip in as many weeks. Eben Napoleon has been an offensive force, and with Manu Adolpho and Tyler Sullivan, Molokai, 9-4 in league play, has a front line that ranges from 6-2 to 6-4. HBA, the ILH runner-up, spreads the scoring around among long-range shooter Landon Herder, Dominic Hart, Phillip Sarubbi and others.
Kauai vs. Academy of the Pacific -- The Red Raiders have talent in Tyrus Ceria-Lux, Basil Walton and Jordan Cox, but will be severely tested by the Dolphins. AOP (15-5) has dominant rebounding from 6-5 Tri Bourne and Brad Foster, and strong guard play from Keoni Daniel.