Sports Division II tournament is wide open By Paul Honda Feb. 23, 2012 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. This is the land of mystery and intrigue. This is the Division II bracket of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships, where the top seed gets no opening-round bye and any underdog could end up taking the title. "There’s so much parity that anything can happen. Any one of these teams can take it," said Kalaheo coach Alika Smith, whose top-seeded squad has an intriguing draw in the run-and-gun Kohala Cowboys tonight. "This is the first time that an ILH 1 and OIA 1 are in the same bracket," Smith marveled. Here’s a look at today’s matchups. 1. Kalaheo (37-6, 14-2 OIA) vs. Kohala (14-9, 8-5 BIIF) On paper: Josh Ko and Shem Sukumaran have stepped up with clutch shooting from the field and the foul line. With 6-foot-6 Nainoa Frank in the post, Kalaheo has three effective juniors, and senior Jordyn Reindollar is a deceptively efficient rebounder. Kohala coach Don Fernandez goes nine deep and has myriad scoring options, including gunner Kala’i Kapeliela, son of former Cowboys sharpshooter Kenneth Kapeliela. The skinny: This is a contrast in styles. Kalaheo, with its thin bench, likes a walking tempo, the better to save the legs of Ko and Sukumaran and defensive stopper Derick Morgan. Kohala will press from the start. Smith’s team hasn’t faced a go-go-go team like this. "They press with a 1-2-2 and a 2-2-1, and they’ll press you off a miss. It’s a frantic pace and we’ll have to deal with that. We have to make them pay," Smith said. X factor: The Cowboys were 3-0 at a preseason tourney on Kauai, and stunned Pahoa in Hilo — after nearly 2 hours on the bus — to seize a state berth. 2. Hawaii Prep (13-5, 9-3 BIIF) vs. Hanalani (19-5, 12-2 ILH D-II) On paper: Former player Keoni Haole is the Hanalani coach, willing this Royals’ program into the higher echelon of ILH D-II. Kainoa Souza-Chaves is leading a balanced attack. The senior had 21 points in a playoff win over Le Jardin to seal the state berth. Fred Wawner has cultivated a powerhouse in his third season as HPA coach. Ka Makani toppled St. Joseph — which beat ‘Iolani in preseason — on the Cardinals’ home floor, then edged Kohala for the D-II league crown. Tyler Van Kirk, a 6-foot-3 forward, had 25 points and 13 boards in the win over Kohala. The skinny: HPA has not traveled off island this season, and has no state-tournament experience in the lineup. "In some ways, we don’t feel a lot of pressure because we haven’t had many high expectations," Wawner said. X factor: HPA’s sixth man is Keanu Yamamoto, a three-sport standout who played quarterback on the football team. 3. Kapaa (15-5, 12-1 KIF) vs. McKinley (21-8, 11-5 OIA) On paper: Kapaa coach Phillip Baclayon is optimistic, thanks to a senior-heavy squad. "Going to states year after year really helps. The kids know what to expect," he said. "I feel really good." Point guard Willis Batol is a seasoned, efficient playmaker and distributor for a team that can play slow or fast. The Warriors clinched the KIF title with an 80-62 win at Kauai nearly two weeks ago. Lance Miyashiro had 25 points and Batol added 21 in that game. McKinley is coming off a runner-up finish in the OIA White. Guard Alex Ironside suffered an ankle injury in the title game, but should be near full strength. Coach Bob Morikuni’s team has the benefit of depth at each position, with big Jared Malaga spelling starter Kui Williams in the post. He also has quickness in the backcourt with Jace Bolosan and A.J. Ortaleza. The skinny: The Warriors got a good look at McKinley during their preseason tourney. "Coach Bob runs a really good system," Baclayon said. X factor: The 10-day layoff could hurt the Warriors. 4. St. Francis (20-6, 11-1 ILH) vs. Seabury Hall (12-9, 8-0 MIL D-II) On paper: The Saints, guided by coach Sol Batoon, are still one of the youngest teams in the state. One of their wins came against Pearl City, which qualified for the D-I state tourney. Guards Austin Ursua and Shabir Lynton are ultra-quick, while Keoni Tom-Millare provides perimeter shooting and 6-6 sophomore Matthew Nuumanaia is a lean, aggressive attacker from the wing. Seabury Hall went unbeaten through the MIL under first-year head coach Louis Turbeville, a Waianae graduate and former Kamehameha-Maui assistant. Shane Jacob, a 6-2 senior, has scored 48 points in his past two games. "Shane’s had a good second half of the season, but Division II here (in the MIL) isn’t that strong, so it’s hard to gauge," Turbeville said. The skinny: This is the first off-island trip of the season for the Spartans, who outgunned Molokai 84-60 in the MIL final. X factor: Rocky DeLyon and Max DeLyon have been integral parts of the Spartans’ winning ways, but it’s been a while since they’ve seen a shot blocker with the wing span like Nuumanaia’s. Previous Story Lin, Knicks rout Hawks 99-82, head to Miami Next Story Jeremy Lin wants to own the term 'Linsanity'