POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Feb 1, 2011
Talk surfacing about Damien and Pac-Five moving up to Division I in football is a mystery to one coach.
"That's news to me," Damien coach Punahou Aina said yesterday. "I haven't heard anything."
The word was that the two D-II programs would move up in classification, and 'Iolani would move up by necessity. Aina's father, Wally, is the athletic director at Damien, so any possibility of a change would've been passed on to the coach - if it were true.
But what if it were true?
"I'd be for it, in support of it," Aina said. "We had a rough year, but if we continue to move in the direction we want, I'd want to compete at the highest level, even if it might be hard."
A voluntary switch to D-I would be unlikely at 'Iolani, where coach Wendell Look was an early advocate of D-II.
The Konawaena Wildcats have been ranked No. 1 all year in the Star-Advertiser Girls Basketball Top 10, and a No. 1 seeding in this week's Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Girls Basketball State Championships was a given.
None of that matters, though.
"Our girls are hungry," coach Bobbie Awa said yesterday. "When they lost last year (in the final), it hurt every one of them. They're more focused this year, more serious about bringing a title back. Last year, we took it for granted, I think."
One change this season came at practice. Instead of teaming her starters together at practice, she split up her two best players, Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa.
"They battle every day, never on the same team," the coach said. "So the girls have to work hard every day."
Galdeira is coming off a two-game explosion with 50 points combined in wins over Keaau and Waiakea.
"Lia took a hard hit in the Waiakea game, but she played through it," Awa said.
Konawaena will play the Kaiser-King Kekaulike winner tomorrow, 7 p.m., at McKinley Student Council Gym.