Kahuku girls disappointed in Division II


POSTED: Sunday, December 07, 2008

This season, the Kahuku girls basketball team is in the OIA White (Division II), a decision that didn't digest well.

“;I was upset. I know that we belong in D-I, especially because we have a good team,”; said senior Nile Te'o, who drained six 3-pointers in a win over Molokai last week. “;We went to ask about moving back to Division I, but we lost.”;

Speculation was that Kahuku moved down when projected starting center Taeja Afalava moved to Utah with her family, but the Lady Raiders don't seem to miss her much. They've averaged 81.5 points in their first two games and look every bit the powerhouse that lit up the OIA Red for years.

Te'o, a Star-Bulletin All-State/Fab 15 volleyball selection, is clearly the best long-range shooter among her talented siblings and cousins—a group that includes former Kahuku guard Shiloah Te'o and current Punahou standout Manti Te'o.

“;Now we want to win the state D-II title,”; she said.

Kahuku, with an enrollment of roughly 1,100 students, is one of the smaller schools in the OIA.


Roller-coaster roundball

The first week of games was an eye opener for many girls basketball teams. The boys don't tip off games until this week, but the girls side was heavy with action.

Waiakea, which was unbeaten last year before the state tournament, struggled without leading scorer Kamie Imai in lopsided losses to Punahou and Kamehameha. However, the Warriors bounced back to beat host Farrington 61-53 yesterday in the Maroon and White Classic.

That was slightly perplexing because Farrington had already beaten Kamehameha and lost a close one to Punahou 53-47. The Govs have size in the paint and a handful of long-distance bombers, but missed a ton of putbacks against the smaller Warriors.

Defending state champ Punahou, with three wins at the tourney, looked very much like a team in midseason form.

Meanwhile, freshman Leah Galdeira scored 16 points in Konawaena's 61-43 win over 'Iolani on Friday. She also had nine boards and five steals. Kara Hanato-Smith added 10 points for the Wildcats.

Lori Yamashita led the Raiders, who graduated all five starters from last year's state runner-up team, with 14 points.


Hoops wipeout

Start dates were moved to later dates for girls and boys this season in prep basketball.

That's why every team is still in a “;What's-your-name?”; phase to some extent. In fact, the change in start dates is not enjoyable for many public-school teams.

Instead of tipping off in mid-November, boys teams began on Monday. With grade-checks due tomorrow, it is nearly impossible for basketball coaches to give struggling student-athletes enough time to make up below-standard grades.

That's why a lot of coaches are feeling tense about tomorrow. As many as half, sometimes more, of public-school teams statewide will have ineligible players until late January.

“;It's great that we have a uniform starting date now,”; Kaimuki coach and teacher Kelly Grant said. “;But the timing is really hard on us.”;

Coaches have been creative with tryouts and currently ineligible players. Grant has stretched out practices to accommodate student-athletes who are in classrooms after school trying to resurrect their grade-point averages.

Staying out until late January means many players will miss all nonconference games and roughly half of the regular season.