Boys Top 10: Kahuku reigns despite ILH shuffle
Kahuku’s Kesi Ah-Hoy defended against McKinley’s Jerry Coloyan at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium,, Jan. 17, 2017. Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser
Running a bit short of time with the OIA girls semifinals coming up tonight. My girls Top 10 ballot follow-up took more time than I expected, but here’s the Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 and my ballot below.
Honolulu Star-Advertiser Boys Basketball Top 10 Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017 1. Kahuku (15), 166 1 2. Punahou (2), 154 3 3. Maryknoll, 127 4 4. ‘Iolani, 125 2 5. Lahainaluna, 103 5 6. St. Francis, 59 6 7. Leilehua, 50 8 8. Kapolei, 47 NR 9. Kamehameha, 43 9 10. Kalaheo, 35 7 Also receiving votes: Kailua 10, McKinley 9, Mid-Pacific 5, Seabury Hall 2
Here’s how I voted.
Pupule ballot 1/23/17 1. Kahuku (18-3, 9-0 OIA East) > Won at McKinley 63-46; beat Roosevelt 91-50. > Not the typical No. 1 team. That means they are smarter than most top dogs, not dependent on one player, one style, one trait as a team. Their bigs are smart and active and love to pass the ball as much as they like to score. They have a supreme PG who can attack left or right, and he can kill the clock with his handles if told to do so. They have defensive stoppers who take a special pride in their ability to lock down on opponents. A selfless, tough, intelligent, tall and skilled team that treats every game like a championship game is extremely difficult to game plan for. It’ll take a 79-percent shooting night, like Villanova versus Georgetown for the NCAA title in the 1980s, to beat this team. Sumo rank: Yokozuna. The Chiyonofuji of Grand Champions.
2. Punahou (19-3, 6-1 ILH) > Won at Kamehameha 62-44; beat ‘Iolani 51-49. > Mastering the grind game has been coming for the Buffanblu, and the win over ‘Iolani substantiates what they’ve strived for all season. They can win playing fast and slow and every speed in-between. Sumo rank: Yokozuna.
3. Maryknoll (18-3, 5-1 ILH) > Beat ‘Iolani 37-35; beat Mid-Pacific 69-46. > The Spartans are one of those ILH grind teams, just tall and big enough to match up with bigger teams like ‘Iolani, and with enough ballhandling and backcourt skill to execute against quick teams. After a long stretch of preseason games without facing a Top 10 team, the Spartans are proving that time and repetition build the kind of confidence that wins at the elite level. Sumo rank: Yokozuna.
4. ‘Iolani (13-7, 4-2 ILH) > What gives? The girls started to sink during finals week, and now the boys are in a rut. It’s the nature of the ILH, and the teams that morph and evolve end up winning titles. Those who don’t adjust fall by the wayside. Brutal and traditional. The defending state champs are being pushed to the limit, but there’s still lots of basketball ahead. Sumo rank: Yokozuna.
5. Lahainaluna Lunas (17-1, 9-0 MIL) > Won at Baldwin 60-23; won at Kamehameha-Maui 53-31. > Disciplined, tall, precise. The Lunas are the 2017 version of what the Baldwin Bears once were, with a style of their own. The one hazard of the MIL today is that there’s nobody to give the Lunas a serious challenge and make them improve. Baldwin and Maui were once powerhouses. King Kekaulike had a nice run for several years. Hana and Molokai have had success in the past. What is going on with boys basketball in Maui County? Sumo rank: Ozeki.
6. Kamehameha Warriors (14-11, 2-5 ILH) > Lost to Punahou 62-44; won at Saint Louis 58-41. > The ILH is merciless. The margins are swinging wider, even though there’s no real big favorite in any matchup. Fatigue, injury, everything takes a toll. A true gauntlet. Sumo rank: Ozeki.
7. St. Francis Saints (19-4, 6-0 ILH D-II) > Beat HBA 76-60; beat University 66-55. > By far, the favorite in D-II statewide. But they must stay healthy. Every player in the rotation has a specific role, and the Saints need every part to remain a cog in the machine. Sumo rank: Ozeki.
8. Kapolei Hurricanes (15-5, 8-0 OIA West) > Beat Aiea 72-53; won at Mililani 58-34. > The Hurricanes have 6-foot-4 thoroughbreds in Marquis Montgomery and Zoar Nedd, plus a quality backcourt. Since losing to Mid-Pacific to end the ‘Iolani Classic, they haven’t been closely challenged in the West; the smallest margin of victory is 11 points. Sumo rank: Ozeki.
9. Kailua Surfriders (14-8, 6-3 OIA East) > Beat Moanalua 68-42; won at Kaiser 60-45. > Christian Mejia is back from his trip and all is well once again for Big Blue. Sumo rank: Ozeki.
10. Leilehua Mules (11-6, 8-0 OIA West) > Beat Nanakuli 51-43. > The young Mules are getting big sparkage from Trey Boatwright and Liam Fitzgerald. Sumo rank: Ozeki.
* * * * *
On the Cusp (no particular order)
Kalaheo Mustangs (10-9, 6-3 OIA East) > Lost to Kalani 41-38; won at Farrington 66-51. > Top scorer Captain Whitlock did not play in the loss to Kalani, but the bigger surprise is that none of the Mustangs scored at least 10 points. Nobody really stepped up. Whether it’s injuries or other factors, the question for all voters is, from week to week, game to game, which Kalaheo team will show up? Sumo rank: Sekiwake.
Saint Louis (10-11, 1-5 ILH) > Beat Mid-Pacific 58-42; lost to Kamehameha 58-41. > The ILH playoff system is ripe for a team that gets hot late in the season. I’ve been waiting to see if someone can step up, or whether everyone on the roster can improve 1 percent every day — which is how struggling teams turn into state-tournament entries. Sumo rank: Komusubi.
Mid-Pacific (6-8, 1-5 ILH) > Lost at Saint Louis 58-42; lost at Maryknoll 69-46. > The team that loses momentum in the ILH is often the team that regains it plus more. That’s the normal pendulum effect of playing in such an unforgiving schedule. Sumo rank: Komusubi.
Sorry this ballot follow is so short, ran out of time. More next week. Much more.