Seed or no seed, there’s no easy road in HHSAA state tournament
Parity will spark plenty of fireworks when the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships tip off tomorrow.
The top seeds -- Iolani, Konawaena, Mililani and Kamehameha-Maui -- will have first-round byes. However, regular-season heavies Kalaheo and Kamehameha-Hawaii will clash at McKinley.
Kalaheo (23-6) was unbeaten in OIA play until falling to Moanalua in a semifinal. The Mustangs, with high-scoring Cheynne Lishman, had been on a roll since losing to mainland powers Our Lady of Good Counsel (Md.) and Bishop Gorman (Nev.) at the Merv Lopes Classic. But among Kalaheo's nonconference battles was a 61-45 win over Kamehameha-Hawaii.
"That was a long time ago. They're a quality program that's been here many times," Kalaheo coach Chico Furtado said. "Our team knows that it's tough to beat anyone twice."
Kamehameha-Hawaii (21-5) lost to Konawaena 42-41 in the final of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation playoffs. The senior-heavy Warriors, with high-scoring Hogan Rosehill and Kealoha Kramer, reached the state semifinals last time.
Kalaheo's third-place finish in the OIA left Furtado expecting a slightly different route. Instead, the seeding committee apparently honored Kalaheo's 14-1 mark in league play.
"Instead of just looking at how you finish, I think the committee finally began to take a look at total body of work," Furtado said. "You gotta be ready for everyone at this point.
"When you look at all the first-round games and all the rules the committee had to deal with, we either play Kahuku, Campbell or Kamehameha (Big Island). You have to put the 2s and 3s (from the same league) away from the league champion," he said. "It's the same spot we had last year (as the OIA's runner-up)."
Moanalua (23-12), this year's runner-up in the OIA, will face Campbell (21-10). That winner will play Iolani.
Kamehameha's matchup with Kahuku is also intriguing. The Red Raiders (16-6) took the back door into the tourney after an OIA playoff loss to Mililani. Their athleticism and full-court press is matched by few teams, but Kamehameha (22-6) has seen pressure all season; Pii Minns' height and handles are a valuable combination against traps. Kahuku's trio of guards -- Jack Damuni, Irwin Ah-Hoy and Jray Galeai -- can bust a zone defense if they're hot. The winner will face Konawaena (25-6).
Star-Bulletin Top 10 Poll
The Top 10 high school boys basketball teams as voted on by coaches and media from around the state. First-place votes in parentheses. Ten points for first-place votes, nine for second, eight for third, etc.
| 1. Iolani (25), 16-8
||none last week
| 2. Punahou (2), 20-4
||none last week
| 3. Kalaheo (1), 23-6
| 4. Kamehameha, 22-6
| 5. Konawaena, 25-6
| 6. Mililani, 20-9
| 7. KS-Hawaii, 21-5
||lost to Konawaena
| 8. Moanalua, 23-12
||lost to Mililani
| 9. Campbell, 21-10
||lost to Kalaheo
|10. Saint Louis, 11-10
||lost to Kamehameha
» Also receiving votes:
Aiea 26, Kahuku 25, Kamehameha-Maui 3, Maryknoll 1, Mid-Pacific 1