High School Beat

Ranking the top 10
teams not so simple

Maybe it's an old-school mentality.

Or perhaps it's just simple humility. Either way, when coaches were contacted to vote in this week's Star-Bulletin Baseball Top 10 poll, not a single one was willing to elect his own team as the No. 1 squad on his ballot.

In fact, of the three teams that received first-place ballots, one coach left his own team off the ballot completely.

Nobody wants to have the mantel of a top ranking around his team's neck. Any semblance of publicity before league play can sometimes feel like a collective bull's-eye.

For now, at least, defending state champion Punahou leads the Top 10, which was released in yesterday's edition. After the Interscholastic League of Honolulu regular season begins Friday, voters will be tested. The talent-rich ILH has five of the Top 10 teams, but once those clubs knock each other down in league play, the tendency could be to squeeze one or two of those teams out of the poll.

That's been the case in Top 10 polls for volleyball, football and basketball. Teams in the ILH are used to feeling the squeeze, but at least this year, they'll have two state berths instead of the usual one.

Johnson to coach: Leslie Johnson, a member of Punahou's 1996 state title team, is the first girls volleyball coach at Le Jardin Academy. The Bulldogs have fielded a junior-varsity team for the past two seasons.

Johnson played at William & Mary and was a member of the school's NCAA tournament team in 2002. She is a math teacher at Le Jardin.

Dragon for life: During the mid-1990s, Dominic Yagong patrolled the sidelines of Honokaa football games, doing the public address announcer's job on his feet. Rain, wind and cold never stopped the longtime Dragon fan.

Yagong later became a councilman, and not long ago, was unsuccessful in his bid to become mayor of the Big Island. His enthusiasm for Honokaa sports, however, has never waned. He was among those who noticed Honokaa's presence in the Star-Bulletin Girls Basketball Top 10 poll. The Dragons are ranked No. 8 after a 7-2 start in nonconference play.

"No question in my mind that Honokaa will be at states this year," Yagong e-mailed. "I'm glad to see Honokaa in your poll. This is the best Daphne Honma-coached team I've ever seen. Keisha Kanekoa is the real deal, and Kari Heers has come a long way."

Yagong, 45, didn't stop there.

"The big improvement has been the development of (Jerrika) Peachy Lorenzo. Peachy, along with Hawaii Prep transfer Wila Lavea, will make Honokaa very tough on the boards," he wrote.

Yagong also mentioned the possible matchup of Honokaa and second-ranked Konawaena in the finals of the Saint Joseph Invitational Tournament this weekend at Hilo Armory. "This game will definitely set the tone for the season," he added.


Athletes of the week


Cameron Bayne, Saint Louis baseball: Hurled the Crusaders over Mililani in a 6-2 win at the Glenn Nitta Invitational.


Kelci Fushikoshi, Lahainaluna basketball: A week after scoring 29 against Maui, the senior point guard made a 45-foot shot at the buzzer to beat Kaiser in overtime 45-43.

Honor roll


Sherice Ajifu, Mid-Pacific: Named to the First Hawaiian Bank Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Aisha Ale, Kahuku: 21 points against Iolani.
Kilioe Aliifua, Kaiser: 15 points against Kamehameha II.
Jazzmin Awa-Williams, Konawaena: 17 points against Kapolei.
Terina Blue, Moanalua: Named to the First Hawaiian Bank Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Shanna-Lei Dacanay, Punahou: 15 points, 5 assists, 4 steals against Kalaheo. Named MVP of the Lady Mustang Classic.
Nicole Enos, Waipahu: 15 points against Keaau, 20 against Hawaii Prep.
Nicole Fu, Maryknoll: 18 points against Baldwin.
Taryn Fukuroku, Maui: 15 points against Kapolei.
Leilani Galdones, Kamehameha-Hawaii: 18 points against Maui.
Jessica Hanato, Konawaena: 16 points against Maui; 21 (3 treys) against Kohala.
Alise Hatch, Lahainaluna: 16 points, including 4 treys, against Kamehameha.
Chelsie Kadota, Roosevelt: 17 points against Punahou; 17 against Kahuku.
Keisha Kanekoa, Honokaa: Named to the Lady Mustang Classic all-tournament team.
Kisha Kaya, Kamehameha-Maui: Named to the Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Hina Kimitete, Konawaena: 15 points against Kapolei.
Shawna Kuehu, Punahou: 15 points against Roosevelt, 16 against Iolani. Named to Lady Mustang Classic all-tournament team.
Lili Laoulu-Saleimo, Maui: 15 points against Kamehameha-Hawaii.
Haunani Liftee, Konawaena: 17 points against Kapolei.
Darlyn Livae, Campbell: Named to the First Hawaiian Bank Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Alana Matayoshi, Iolani: Named to the Lady Mustang Classic all-tournament team.
Jamie Mattos, Kamehameha-Hawaii: 17 points against Maui, 17 against Kohala, 15 against Kealakehe.
Yacine Meyer, Seabury Hall: 16 points against King Kekaulike.
Karis Moi-Simeona, Sacred Hearts: 16 points against Hilo.
Tereva Moore, Radford: 16 points against Kalaheo.
Sierra Nakea, Nanakuli: Named to the Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Kara Onosaki, Hawaii Baptist: 16 points against Christian/Redemption.
Lynelle Paranada, Hilo: 16 points against Mid-Pacific. Named to the Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Chelsey Ramirez, Waialua: 22 points against Kamehameha-Maui.
Samantha Saito, Sacred Hearts: 16 points against Campbell. Named to Lady Menehune Peek all-tournament team.
Taylor Smith, Kalaheo: Named to the Lady Mustang Classic all-tournament team.
Shannon Spencer-Kennedy, Kamehameha II: 22 points against Kaiser.
Hennasea-Sue Tokumura, Iolani: 17 points against Kahuku.
Antonette Ventura, Keaau: 16 points against Waipahu; 15 against King Kekaulike; 21 points against Kailua.
Jasmine Vieira, Mid-Pacific: 17 points against Kamehameha-Maui, 19 points against Moanalua.
Lisa Yang, Kamehameha-Hawaii: 18 points against Kohala.

To nominate ...

To nominate an athlete of the week, contact the Star-Bulletin Sports Department by 11 p.m. Sunday:
Phone: 529-4782
Fax: 529-4787
E-mail: sports@starbulletin.com

E-mail to Sports Desk


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