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Castle has its Hiro, so Knights take aim at D-II title


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Much has happened in the world of boys basketball since Jeff Hiro was a hero for the Castle Knights back in the day.

One thing that hasn't changed, though, is Hiro's perspective of winning basketball. Unselfishness trumps bad shot selection. Smart passing triumphs over sloppiness. Most of all, tough defense wins when all else stumbles.

Castle, champion of the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference, is the Division II top seed in the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships.

It's a measure of Coach Hiro's grasp of the game that the Knights won their league without the presence of a tall sharpshooter, which is what Hiro was some two decades ago.

“;It's teamwork. There's no individual who's way better than the other guys on the team,”; Hiro said yesterday. “;Everyone's just doing what he's supposed to do.”;

Kohala, unbeaten in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation, is the No. 2 seed. Hawaii Baptist, like Kohala, has some size in the paint, and is the third seed. Molokai, champion of the Maui Interscholastic League, is the fourth seed.

Here's a look at the seeded teams.

1. Castle Knights (18-6)

Quarterfinal foe: Kapaa vs. Word of Life.

Tip-off: Thursday, 7 p.m., Richard Kitamura Memorial Fieldhouse, Farrington.

On paper: Isaiah Tilton has been another steady scorer, while K.J. Aipia is a key playmaker.

The Knights have won 11 of their last 12 games. Not a shock, considering they upset Kalaheo 61-56 at the Merv Lopes Classic in late December.

The skinny: As always, the Knights are physically tough and athletic. In years past, all that speed and up-tempo play meant turnovers were a liability. This season's team can run with the best of them, but will be deliberate, too. The Knights used that patience to edge rival Kailua 37-36 on Saturday. Nick Tuamoheloa's clutch 3-point bomb won it for Castle.

Hiro is familiar with WLA coach Murphy Kealoha.

“;I know Murphy very well, but his team? I have no idea,”; said Hiro, who added that he doesn't know much about Kapaa, either.

X factor: The Knights played five games in a nine-day span during the OIA playoffs. If they're still worn out by tomorrow's game, the Warriors or Firebrands could surprise.

2. Kohala Cowboys (20-4)

Quarterfinal foe: Hanalani or Roosevelt.

Tip-off: Thursday, 5 p.m., Earl C. Holmer Gym, Kalani.

On paper: Brandon Bautista has been one of the BIIF's top point guards since he stepped on Kohala's campus. He is a blazer on both ends of the floor. In the league final against Pahoa, he collected 11 points, seven steals and 11 steals.

The Cowboys have talent galore with forwards Cameron Naihe-Tabiolo and Kapana'ia Carvalho, a transfer from Honokaa. The addition of hometown product Djavan Cackley added depth to the backcourt. Cackley grew up playing with many of the Cowboys, but attended Parker for his first three years.

“;He gives us great hustle. He realizes a lot more about defense this year,”; coach Don Fernandez said.

The skinny: The Cowboys have been loaded before, only to come out flat. Last year's team finished fifth, but the year before, Kohala was steamrolled in the final against McKinley.

“;It's mental and physical,”; Fernandez said. “;The game up (on Oahu) gets a lot more physical and our (officials') calling on this side isn't that way. If you can fight through it, you can win.”;

X factor: If Kohala's success depends on adjusting to the officials, Bautista should have enough experience and savvy to lead the Cowboys. He is, as Fernandez has said before, their quarterback on the floor.

3. Hawaii Baptist Eagles (16-5)

Quarterfinal foe: Kailua or Seabury Hall.

Tip-off: Thursday, 7 p.m., Earl C. Holmer Gym, Kalani.

On paper: Coach Keith Sugiura did a masterful job of guiding the Eagles through the rough terrain of the ILH. HBA won the league title outright, finishing ahead of the league's I-AA teams (Kamehameha, Punahou, Saint Louis). HBA hadn't won the league title since 1996.

Since an early loss to Punahou I-AA, the Eagles have won 10 in a row. Last year's team reached the D-II state tournament semifinals.

The skinny: HBA has found plenty of success in volleyball, and basketball is primed to catch up. The Eagles have annual basketball clinics and the results are bearing fruit.

X factor: The Eagles have a force under the basket in Kyle Barretta (6-4). He should be able to neutralize opposing scorers and grab enough offensive boards to offset any dry stretches by HBA's shooters.

4. Molokai Farmers (13-4)

Quarterfinal foe: Pahoa or University.

Tip-off: Thursday, 5 p.m., Richard Kitamura Memorial Fieldhouse, Farrington.

On paper: Coach Lee DeRouin's team showed plenty of grit this season, particularly in the second half of MIL play.

Scottie Rapanot scored 17 points in the league final against Seabury Hall, capping a remarkable nine-day stint for the Farmers. They stayed on Maui for the duration of the MIL playoffs and seemed to get better the longer they were away from home.

Micah Ritte-Manangan, a first-team MIL pick last year, missed the regular season with an injury but returned to practice yesterday.

The skinny: The Farmers' traveling success is remarkable, but has been limited to MIL sites. How will they fare against taller competition on Oahu?

X factor: Ritte-Manangan may not be at 100 percent in terms of his role right from the opening tip. Or he could be on fire right away. How he fits into a team that went 13-4 without him is a big question.

Boys Division I states

Seeds: 1. Kamehameha 2. Kahuku 3. Waiakea 4. Baldwin.

Wednesday

At McKinley

Game 1: Kaimuki vs. Keeau, 5 p.m.,

2: Kalaheo vs. Radford, 7 p.m.

At Radford

3: 'Iolani vs. Lahainaluna, 5 p.m.

4: Punahou vs. Campbell, 7 p.m.

Thursday

At McKinley

5: Losers Games 1 and 2, 3 p.m.

6: Baldwin vs. Winner Game, 5 p.m.

7: Kamehameha vs. Winner Game 2, 7 p.m.

At Radford

8: Losers Games 3 and 4, 3 p.m.

9: Waiakea vs. Winner Game 3, 5 p.m.,

10: Kahuku vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.

Friday

At Blaisdell Arena

11: Consolation championship—Winners Games 5 and 8, 11 a.m.

12: Losers Games 6 and 7, 1 p.m.

13: Losers Games 9 and 10, 3 p.m.

14: Winners Games 6 and 7, 5 p.m.

15: Winners Games 9 and 10, 7 p.m.

Saturday

At Blaisdell Arena

Fifth place: Winners Games 12 and 13, 1 p.m.

Third place: Losers Games 14 and 15, 3 p.m.

Championship: Winners Games 14 and 15, 7 p.m.

Boys Division II states

Seeds: 1. Castle 2. Kohala 3. Hawaii Baptist 4. Seabury Hall.

Wednesday

At Farrington

Game 1: University vs. Pahoa, 5 p.m.

2: Kapaa vs. Word of Life, 7 p.m.

At Kalani

3: Roosevelt vs. Hanalani , 5 p.m.

4: Kailua vs. Molokaii, 7 p.m.

Thursday

At Farrington

5: Losers Game 1 and 2, 3 p.m.

6: Seabury Hall vs. Winner Game 1, 5 p.m.

7: Castle vs. Winner Game, 7 p.m.

At Kalani

8: Losers Games 3 and 4, 3 p.m.

9: Kohala vs. Winner Game 3, 5 p.m.

10: Hawaii Baptist vs. Winner Game 4, 7 p.m.

Friday

At Farrington

11: Consolation championship—Winners Games 5 and 8, 3 p.m.

12: Losers Games 6 and 7, 5 p.m.

13: Winners Games 6 and 7, 7 p.m

At Kalani

14: Losers Games 9 and 10, 5 p.m.

15: Winners Games 9 and 10, 7 p.m.

Saturday

At Blaisdell Arena

Fifth place: Winners Games 12 and 14, 9 a.m.

Third place: Losers Games 13 and 15, 11 a.m.

Championship: Winners Game 13 and 15, 5 p.m.

Boys Basketball Top 10

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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Team, RecordLast gamenext gamePTS.PVS.
1. Kamehameha (23), 19-3none last weekstate quarters2571
2. Kahuku (2), 22-2beat Kaimukistate quarters2214
3. 'Iolani (1), 20-5none last weekvs. Lahainaluna2122
4. Kaimuki, 18-9lost to Kahukuvs. Keaau1703
5. Punahou, 16-10beat KS-Hawaiivs. Campbell1606
6. Kalaheo, 18-9lost to Kahukuvs. Radford1107
7. Waiakea, 21-4none last weekstate quarters878
8. Saint Louis, 14-7lost to Punahouseason over555
9. Baldwin, 18-4none last weekstate quarters5410
10. Campbell, 17-7lost to Kalaheovs. Punahou459

» Also receiving votes: Radford 28, Kohala 5, Castle 4, Hawaii Baptist 2, Lahainaluna 2, Mid-Pacific 2, Keaau 1, Mililani 1, Molokai 1.

Girls Basketball Top 10

The final Top 10 high school girls 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.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Team, RecordLast game PTS.PVS.
1. Konawaena (15), 28-2beat Punahou1502
2. Punahou, 18-4lost to Konawaena1351
3. Lahainaluna, 23-2beat Farrington1204
4. Farrington, 25-7lost to Lahainaluna1053
5. Roosevelt, 19-11beat 'Iolani 906
6. 'Iolani, 15-12lost to Roosevelt745
7. Kalani, 14-10beat Kailua 348-t
8. Molokai, 14-3beat KS-Hawaii28
9. Kamehameha, 10-11none last week278-t
10. (tie) Aiealost to Roosevelt14
10. (tie) Mid-Pacific, 16-8none last week1410

» Also receiving votes: Kahuku 11, Kailua 8, Kamehameha-Hawaii 5, Baldwin 2, Kaimuki 2, Sacred Hearts 2, Waiakea 2.

» No longer in top 10 (previous rank): Kahuku (No. 7).