POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 18, 2011
While the rest of the state is enamored with No. 1 Konawaena, No. 2 Waiakea and No. 3 'Iolani, it's fourth-ranked Lahainaluna that is feeling forgotten.
With the girls basketball state tourney just two weeks away, defending champion Lahainaluna has reeled off 15 wins in a row. The defensive effort has been masterful: Baldwin managed to score a total of 14 points in three games against the Lady Lunas.
Without returning player of the year Maiki Viela, Lahainaluna nearly beat 'Iolani (50-47) and Waiakea (43-37) in November tournament play. The Lunas have jelled since, and Viela is at about "75 or 80 percent" since returning from a back injury.
"She's still getting in condition," coach Todd Rickard said of the Gonzaga signee. "We're coming to defend our title. We're not afraid of anybody. Kona is definitely a team to reckon with, but you only gotta play 'em once. Anything can happen in one night."
With a deep bench, the Hawaii Baptist Eagles could be a serious contender in Division II when the girls basketball state tourney tips off in two weeks.
HBA went deep into its bench to edge University 39-38 on Friday, wearing down the Junior Rainbows, who played six players. HBA can clinch the ILH Division II title with a win over Le Jardin.
"We've been fortunate to be able to go eight to 10 deep this year. That's been really a positive for us," HBA coach Keith Sugiura said. "Sometimes, if one player might not have her 'A' game that day, there's always someone who's ready and willing to step up."
Between football and basketball, Honolulu and American Samoa, Lancelot "Keke" Williams of the Farrington Governors has been busy enough this month.
He played in the Samoa Bowl and saw relatives for the first time since he left the island at 5.
"I didn't remember them until I went back. It was really touching, really touched my heart," the linebacker said. "We learned about our culture. It's all about respect in Samoa. It was really good meeting people from other schools and bonding with each other. We still keep in touch."