Tough twosome


POSTED: Sunday, April 25, 2010

There is one team, but there is also one clutch player: Kainoa Chu.

Then there's the Warrior: Micah Christenson.

The argument for one or the other as the potential Star-Bulletin boys basketball all-state player of the year is compelling. Put to a vote, a panel of coaches and media surely could find some minute differences in their personal criteria.

Surely wasn't enough. The voters, for the first time in nine years, were split evenly down the middle, leaving 'Iolani's Chu and Kamehameha's Christenson as co-players of the year.

It's the first time in at least 50 all-state selections by the Star-Bulletin for various sports that voting for the top player ended in a stalemate.

This time, the process reflected what observers couldn't deny: Both Chu and Christenson played beyond expectations, especially when stakes were the highest.

A Chu-Chu train to the title








Isaiah EkauPahoa
Micah DunhourAOP
Kristian ManuelCampbell
Gabriel StietzelKaimuki
Hassan RichardsonMililani
Lancelot WilliamsFarrington
Josiah KauholaMoanalua
Taylor CrabbPunahou
Jordan DeCorteKailua
Marcus UmuSaint Louis
Thomas FairmanSt. Joseph
Andrew SwansonMid-Pacific
Corey LauKailua
Christian StormentCampbell
Brandon BautistaKohala
Scotty WongHilo
Jacob AndradeSt. Joseph
Richard HandyKeaau
Jarrett Arakawa'Iolani
Reece RacomaMoanalua
Terani RichmondKS-Maui
Michael PalmerSeabury Hall
Will Scanlan-LeiteSt. Joseph
Matt FeldmanPunahou



Mr. Clutch was Chu, a relentless, perpetual body in motion, both a decoy and a cog in 'Iolani's motion offenses. When the Raiders needed points, they set up their senior guard with double screens and backdoor plays.

But when defenses knew exactly how to defend the Raiders — as Kamehameha did in the state final — it took another gear, a boost to another level, for 'Iolani to win its first state title since 2006. Chu scored all 11 of his team's fourth-quarter points on the big stage, including a game-winning 3-point shot before the final buzzer as the Raiders prevailed 46-43.

Chu finished that battle with 27 points on 7-for-11 shooting, including 5-for-7 from the arc. He sank eight of his 10 free-throw attempts and didn't commit a single turnover for good measure.

After averaging 15 points per game during the regular season, his 23-point average in three state-tourney games was crucial. Perhaps most importantly, when defenses tightened up, Chu was always willing to attack the basket, take the punishment and put points on the scoreboard for his team — even as nagging knee and finger injuries continued through the season.

“;He was biggest in the biggest games,”; Raiders coach Dean Shimamoto said.

Micah the Machine

Christenson, a 6-foot-5 junior, was as smooth a shooter as there was statewide, but he added more to his arsenal this season. His rebounding was almost otherworldly thanks to an improved vertical leap — he plays on the junior national volleyball team — that resulted in a multitude of double-double performances.

No other baller could do what Christenson did with regularity, blocking shots from the weak side, stealing passes on the perimeter and in the post, and hitting spot-up jumpers from any distance within 22 feet. He added to his repertoire in the state final against 'Iolani, using his size advantage to post up effectively; he finished with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

“;Micah does everything. Every time you game-plan for Kamehameha, you game-plan for Micah. He gets 'em all every possible way,”; Shimamoto said, recalling a sequence in the final minutes of the state final when Christenson tipped in a putback, hit a mid-post jumper and swished a 3-point shot.

Shimamoto honored

By a solid margin, panelists voted Shimamoto coach of the year. Moanalua's Greg Tacon, Kamehameha's Jesse Nakanishi and Pahoa's Eric Yoshimura were among the top four vote-getters.



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