Kamehameha out to make Cockett’s 30th season a special one
They're deep, skilled and not willing to be bridesmaids again.
The Kamehameha Warriors were fabulous last season, going 19-4 with a lineup that included All-State swingman Analee Viena-Lota. The record included wins over Punahou and Iolani, but unlike those two rivals, the Warriors did not go to the state tournament.
A 50-47 overtime loss to Punahou in the final of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu tournament cut Kamehameha's season short. This season won't get any easier for Kamehameha nor any team from the ILH.
Over the weekend, the Warriors went to the Warrior Wahine Classic in Keaau, rolled to victories in the first two rounds and then were halted by nemesis Iolani, 46-34.
The immense hurdle of getting out of the ILH with a state berth is at the forefront of coach Clay Cockett's mind. That's why a No. 3 ranking in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Preseason Top 10 provides little consolation.
The Warriors will get a chance to delve into the world of mainland competition this week in the Iolani Classic. They'll face powerful Redondo Union (Calif.) on Thursday.
2006-07 record: 19-4 (11-4 ILH).
On paper: Shalisse Javillo, Casey Lum, Kylie Roy and Pualei Furtado are stepping up as consistent scorers. Furtado, a junior, is in her third season on the varsity and earned "hustle award" honors while making the all-tournament team over the weekend at the Wahine Warrior Classic.
Furtado and Tiana Abbley are excellent shooters from the arc. Under the basket, Lum will get help from Rhani Kaneaiakala off the bench. Lum and Kaneaiakala are 5-foot-7 forwards.
Volleyball standout Alex Akana, a 6-foot-1 center, did not return this year. Nani Kalakau suffered a shoulder injury while playing softball and will miss the season.
Freshman Kirsten Liana (5-7) is another plus.
"She's not very big, but she's strong," Cockett said.
The skinny: Cockett is in his 30th season in the program as a coach, including the last 12 as head coach.
"We're small. We gotta rebound. We gotta box out a lot better, more effectively," he said. "I think our team speed is a lot better than last year. We've got to put a lot of pressure because we're small. We don't want to get caught in halfcourt."
Furtado, who leads the fast break, had 19 points, including four treys against Kamehameha-Hawaii on Friday. Lum and Kaneaiakala limited KS-Hawaii's low-post star, Kanisha Bello, to 15 points.
"We have a number of players who can score," Cockett said. "It's just a matter of who has the right mentality that night to score. Pualei, when she has opportunities to shoot, we expect her to shoot. When she hits those shots, that helps us a lot.
"Analee gave us a lot of offense. We're still trying to find more offensive firepower. Pualei gives us some outside shots. Tiana is streaky. Our inside ... Ana could create a lot and get to the basket a lot. We don't have that threat."
X factor: Kaneaiakala could provide a boost on both ends of the floor.
"Rhani can play anywhere," Cockett said. "Right now, she's more team-oriented. We want her to be a little more aggressive offensively."
Top 10 countdown
With girls high school basketball season approaching, the Star-Bulletin is counting down its preseason Top 10, as determined in a poll of coaches and media members: