Kahuku no sure thing in tournament


POSTED: Tuesday, February 24, 2009

One of the smaller schools in the Oahu Interscholastic Association has a big appetite for championships.




Girls D-II State Tourney

        Seeds: 1. Kahuku; 2. Kamehameha-Hawaii; 3. Maryknoll; 4. Molokai

        At Kalani High gym
        Game 1: Kapaa vs. St. Andrew's Priory, 5 p.m.


2: University vs. Hawaii Prep, 7 p.m.


At Radford High gym
        3: Kaimuki vs. Seabury, 5 p.m., Radford


4: Kaiser vs. Hawaii Baptist, 7 p.m., Radford


        At Kalani High gym
        5: Losers Game 1 and 2, 3 p.m.


6: Molokai vs. Winner Game 2, 5 p.m.


7: Kahuku vs. Winner Game 1, 7 p.m.


At Radford High gym
        8: Losers Game 3 and 4, 3 p.m.


9: KS-Hawaii vs. Winner Game 4, 5 p.m.


10: Maryknoll vs. Winner Game 3, 7 p.m.


        At Kalani High gym
        11: Consolation final: Winners Game 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 Radford High gym
        14: Losers Games 9 and 10, 5 p.m.


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


        At Blaisdell Arena
        16: Fifth place: Winners Games 12 and 13, 9 a.m.


17: Third place: Losers Games 14 and 15, 11 a.m.


18: Championship: Winners Games 14 and 15, 5 p.m.




Kahuku's move from Division I to Division II caught plenty of fans, coaches and players by surprise. There's no surprise, though, that the Red Raiders are the top seed in the D-II portion of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships, which tips off today.

For most of the season, Kahuku was outranked in the Star-Bulletin Top 10 by only one other OIA team: Farrington. Despite a roving lineup hit by the occasional absence of club volleyball players on tournament trips, Kahuku went 20-2 while employing a frenzied pace reminiscent of the Showtime Lakers.

Kahuku, though, is no easy favorite. One of its nonconference losses came against Sacred Hearts, which was a top-10 team in early January. Sacred Hearts, which is in D-I, has similar peers in the state D-II field.

Kamehameha-Hawaii, the No. 2 seed, will spread the floor and slow the tempo when necessary. Third-seeded Maryknoll was unbeaten in league play under savvy guru Bobby Samson. Molokai, the fourth seed, likes to run, but has the size in 6-foot Kalei Adolpho to stay close with big teams like Kahuku.

Beyond the seeded teams, Kahuku also had some difficulty with OIA runner-up Kaimuki, which qualified for states.

Here's a look at the Division II seeded squads:

KAHUKU (14-1)
Quarterfinal foe: Kapaa or St. Andrew's Priory.

On paper: From top to bottom, coach David Te'o has a team that can cover every square inch of the floor. Sophomore point guard Rachel Tailele, younger sister of former All-State guard Karla, is at her best in transition and loves driving through traffic for buckets.

Lama Tito and Nile Te'o bring experience and 3-point range to the wings, while versatile, 5-foot-11 Hi'ilei Cummings goes end to end in a flash.

The skinny: The Red Raiders will sometimes leak out a guard to get the fast break started early. They also crash the offensive glass as well as any team in the state, regardless of classification.

Tailele is young and prone to occasional missteps in a slowdown tempo, but has plenty of help in the backcourt. Since losing at home to Kaimuki on Jan. 3, Kahuku has won 14 in a row, including three over Kaimuki.

X factor: Kahuku lives and dies by the 3-pointer. When Te'o is on, few teams can stop the Red Raiders from taking big leads early. Even when Kahuku's perimeter shooting is off, few teams have been able to contain the offensive rebounding. That would include Molokai, which lost to Kahuku 82-63 in December.

Quarterfinal foe: Kaiser or Hawaii Baptist.

On paper: With a new scheduling format—no crossover games between divisions in the Big Island Interscholastic Federation—coach Kalani Silva loaded his nonconference slate with tough competition. The young Warriors were 1-3 against top-10 teams, losing by single-digit margins to Kaimuki and 'Iolani.

They also improved as the season progressed, avenging their lone BIIF loss to Hawaii Prep by beating Ka Makani three times en route to the league title. Two of those wins were at HPA, a 130-mile round trip from the KS-Hawaii campus.

The skinny: Kayla Lacaran-Costales is having a solid senior season as the team's most consistent scorer. Sophomore Katelynn Paleka-Kennedy and freshman Chelsea Poe have stepped up since the departure of Kanisha Bello, who transferred to Waiakea in the offseason.

Despite a lack of overall height, the Warriors adjust well on the fly. They figured out how to slow down HPA's high-scoring gunner, Tayler Wang, just enough to win the BIIF.

X factor: KS-Hawaii has not traveled off-island yet this season.

Maryknoll (12-0)
Quarterfinal foe: Kaimuki or Seabury Hall.

On paper: The girls state tournament originated in 1977 with Maryknoll in power. Russell Dung led the Spartans to a pair of state titles long before there was a Division II.

This year's team, led by Samson, would've fared pretty well in D-I. Thanks to the ILH's decision to use enrollment as a key criteria, the Spartans were allowed to move to D-II. That didn't change their approach to nonconference play. Though the Spartans struggled with Kalani and McKinley (both D-I), they beat Leilehua, Kalaheo and Mililani, and nearly upset Mid-Pacific.

The skinny: Always defensive-minded, Samson won't permit his team to play soft on defense. Offensively, Kristen Canencia and Ashley Agcaoili have been proven scorers all season.

X factor: As always, the lack of an on-campus gym has been an inconvenience for the Spartans. However, playing on the road on a regular basis becomes a strength come state-tournament time. Couple that factor with Maryknoll's solid schedule, and the Spartans could surprise.

Molokai (12-0)
Quarterfinal foe: University or Hawaii Prep.

On paper: Behind Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario, one of the top guards in the state, the Farmers breezed through the Maui Interscholastic League. The lack of competition probably didn't help Molokai and center Kalei Adolpho, who is one of the most naturally gifted sophomores in the state.

Coach Doug Furlong brought his squad to Oahu twice in December. The Farmers went 2-1 in Farrington's Maroon and White Tournament, and 2-2 in the St. Francis tourney.

The skinny: Hooper-Juario can direct traffic and score in transition with just about any guard, but state-tourney opponents will likely find ways to smother her.

Adolpho (6-1), who also plays volleyball, gives Molokai a second scoring threat. Her strength, though, is on defense, where her long arms and athleticism dominated the MIL.

There hasn't been a consistent third scorer in the Farmers' lineup. They didn't need a lot of scoring in the MIL, but will have to find someone to step up in Honolulu. Puna Kawamae is a likely candidate.

X factor: Molokai shot 5-for-18 from the foul line in the MIL final against Seabury Hall.



Girls Basketball Top 10

The Top 10 high school girls basksetball 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, Overall RecordLast gamenext gamePTS.PVS.
1. Punahou (12), 16-3beat Kamehamehastate quarters1731<
2. Konawaena (5), 25-2beat Waiakeastate quarters1602<
3. Farrington (1), 24-5beat Rooseveltstate quarters1464<
4. Lahainaluna, 21-1beat Baldwinstate quarters1383<
5. 'Iolani, 13-10beat Kamehamehavs. Kailua1075<
6. Roosevelt, 16-10lost to Farringtonvs. Waiakea936-t<
7. Kahuku, 19-2beat Kaimukistate quarters508<
8. (tie) Kalani, 12-9lost to Farringtonvs. Aiea4610<
8. (tie) Kamehameha, 10-11lost to 'Iolaniseason over469<
10. Mid-Pacific, 16-8lost to Kamehamehaseason over336-t<

» Also receiving votes: Waiakea 22, Maryknoll 5, Moanalua 5, Kailua 4, Sacred Hearts 2, Aiea 1, Hawaii Prep 1, Kaimuki 1, Kamehameha-Hawaii 1.


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, Overall RecordLast gamenext gamePTS.PVS.
1. Kamehameha (23), 19-3beat Damienstate tourney2572<
2. (tie) 'Iolani, 20-5beat Punahoustate tourney2153<
2. (tie) Kaimuki, 18-7beat KahukuOIA tourney2154<
4. Kahuku, 18-2lost to KaimukiOIA tourney1941<
5. Saint Louis, 24-6beat MaryknollILH tourney1497<
6. Punahou, 13-10beat Mid-Pacificvs. Mid-Pacific1085<
7. Kalaheo, 17-8beat Radfordat Campbell968<
8. Waiakea, 21-4beat Keaaustate tourney659<
9. Campbell, 17-6beat Mililanivs. Kalaheo4910<
10. Baldwin, 18-4beat Lahainalunastate tourney29—<

» Also receiving votes: Mililani 24, Moanalua 4, Kailua 3, Hawaii Baptist 2, Kohala 2, Radford 2, Castle 1, Molokai 1.

» No longer in top 10 (previous rank): Mililani (No. 6).