HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
ILH opens with a bang
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu tips off regular-season play with plenty of fireworks this week.
Thursday's openers pit No. 2 Iolani and No. 3 Kamehameha, and No. 1 Punahou and No. 10 Mid-Pacific.
Kamehameha lost to Iolani on Dec. 8, 46-34, in the Wahine Warrior Classic on the Big Island.
"I hope the score's gonna be different," Kamehameha's Clay Cockett said.
The 18th-year head coach saw his Warriors contain formidable foes like Kahuku and Kamehameha-Hawaii in nonconference play. His team also lost to Roosevelt at the Iolani Classic.
Cockett is no Scrooge. Kamehameha has today and tomorrow off, and will get one more practice in before the Iolani game. The Warriors, he said, are more unified now.
"A lot of it has to do with chemistry. I like to give a lot of people responsibility. If they can handle it, we play them," he said.
Getting an inside track to the ILH's regular-season title and first state berth is always key. So is stopping Iolani's Star-Bulletin All-State senior, Jamie Smith, who scored 18 points in their Dec. 8 battle.
"We have to do a better job defending Jamie. I don't know if we have the athletes who can. If you can't guard her, then Chanel (Hirata) will shoot 3s on us," Cockett said.
Rhani Kaneaiakala, a senior forward, has picked up her offense and may be the most valuable sixth man in the islands.
"Rhani gives us a lot of energy coming off the bench," he said.
One plus for the Warriors may be activity. They're coming off a 55-39 win over Mililani on Friday. Iolani has not played since Dec. 15.
"I'm sure (Iolani) has been practicing hard," Kamehameha guard Pualei Furtado said. "It won't make that much of a difference. We're just pumped up and excited to play on Thursday."
Odds and ends
Peculiarities never cease in polling, especially in a season that promises parity.
While Punahou and Iolani remained locked in the top two spots of the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10 today, Kamehameha and Konawaena advanced higher with little reason. Kamehameha got past Mililani in a nonconference game -- not a surprise for the powerful Warriors -- and moved up two notches to No. 3.
Konawaena, though, did not play at all and still jumped two spots to No. 5. The Wildcats moved in front of Radford by a point, which may be puzzling to Lady Rams fans. Radford won at Konawaena two weeks ago, even though All-State center TaNitra Byrd did not play.
Hilo suffered its second loss in nonconference play to cross-town rival Waiakea. The Lady Viks slipped to No. 4, but Waiakea has yet to crack the top 10.
Kalani dropped three spots to No. 7 after losing to Roosevelt. The Rough Riders were the only team to drop out of the poll. Though they beat Kalani, losses to Kahuku and Moanalua did not impress the voting panel of coaches and media.
Star-Bulletin Top 10
The top 10 high school girls basketball teams, according to a poll of coaches and media.
| 1. Punahou, 7-5 (13)
||lost to Narbonne
| 2. Iolani, 9-2 (2)
||did not play
| 3. Kamehameha, 6-3
| 3. Hilo, 7-3
||lost to Waiakea
| 5. Konawaena, 3-1
||did not play
||vs. Ocean View
| 6. Radford, 6-5
| 7. Kalani, 9-3
||lost to Roosevelt
| 8. Farrington, 8-1
| 9. KS-Hawaii, 6-2
||vs. Hawaii Prep
|10. Mid-Pacific, 5-2
||did not play
» Voted on by coaches and media from around the state
» First-place votes in parentheses
» 10 points for first-place vote, 9 for second, 8 for third; etc.
» Also received votes: Waiakea 19, Roosevelt 14, Lahinaluna 8, Moanalua 7.
» No longer in Top 10 (previous rank): Roosevelt (No. 9)