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Buffanblu grind along


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POSTED: Thursday, December 31, 2009

EIGHTH IN A SERIES » Through the years, Punahou girls basketball coach Mike Taylor has never stopped moving forward, and his Buffanblu followed with every step.

This season is no different. In fact, it could become Taylor's most challenging at Punahou.

With four state crowns in the past seven years, expectations are always sky high. Punahou is ranked No. 3 in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Preseason Top 10.

“;They all work hard for their teammates and work together,”; Taylor said. “;It comes down to finishing plays for us. Making layups, making free throws. They know that. It's also experience. A lot of these kids haven't been relied on.”;

On paper: Taylor extracted every ounce of energy and passion from last season's 18-4 team (11-1 Interscholastic League of Honolulu), which lost to Konawaena in the state final in double overtime.

This season, Punahou is 4-5 overall, including three losses at Nike's Elite tourney in Arizona last week. The Buffanblu are 1-1 in the ILH following a win over Maryknoll and an overtime loss to Mid-Pacific.

The skinny: Sophomore Mysha Sataraka is coming into her own as a playmaker with a quick first step to the basket.

Junior center Hailey-Ann Maeda, a transfer from 'Iolani, has a combination of finesse and power.

X factor: Freshman guard Khaliyah Thompson is one of the most explosive young players in the state. She led Punahou with nine points against MPI despite a mid-game knee injury.