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Wildcats Sports

West Hawaii Today State Preview

Posted Monday, February 23, 2009 by Bobbie Awa
Title hunt begins
Wildcats head to oahu with eyes on third crown
by Bill O'Rear
Stephens Media

Monday, February 23, 2009 8:26 AM HST
Big Island Interscholastic Federation champions Konawaena and Kamehameha-Hawaii were awarded second seeds in this week's state girls Division I and II basketball tournaments on Oahu.

The seedings were released Sunday by the Hawaii High School Athletic Association.

The 12-team tournaments will be played concurrently, Tuesday through Friday at various sites, with the final round held at Blaisdell Arena.

Konawaena, under coach Bobbie Awa, finished the BIIF season with a 12-0 record. The Wildcats are seeded -No. 2 in the state D-I tournament behind Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion Punahou (11-1). Farrington (18-1), Oahu Interscholastic Association's champ, is seeded No. 3, followed by Maui Interscholastic League champion Lahainaluna (14-0) at No. 4.

"I had a feeling we'd be No. 2 or 3," Awa said. "Either one is good for us and Lahainaluna at No. 4 is a tough team. They could have been seeded 2, 3 or 4."

The Wildcats coach said her players are overcoming some colds and a week without a game, but she's confident the girls will play well.

"I feel good about how the girls have been playing," Awa said. "We'll just need to continue focusing and playing hard every minute. We don't want them to worry about the score. We just want them to play hard and we'll make the adjustment as coaches.

"If we can focus and play with a lot of intensity, we should be OK."

Under Awa and her husband and assistant, Donny, the Wildcats have won two state titles.

"The top four teams at the states are all even," Awa said. "We just want to play our style and see what happens. It's going to be fun and a learning experience for our young girls."

Kamehameha-Hawaii, under coach Kalani Silva, beat out Hawaii Prep for the BIIF regular season and overall league titles. The Warriors (10-1) are seeded No. 2 in the state D-II tournament behind top-seeded Kahuku (OIA champ, 14-1). ILH champion Maryknoll (12-0) is seeded third and MIL champion Molokai -(12-0) is seeded fourth.

"We're very happy with the No. 2 seed," Silva said. "In our bracket, we've drawn the lowest ILH and OIA seeds, and we're opposite No. 1 seed Kahuku.

"Everybody knows Kahuku is a definite Division I team. But if we can play well and reach the final, we won't have to play Kahuku until then."

Silva is also concerned about going a week without playing a game following the BIIF tournament.

"For us, it'll be about keeping the intensity up," he said. "I feel good about the team. It's a lot more focused, we're playing better together, and we have more defined roles. I also like that everyone that's getting into the game is giving us good minutes."

The Warriors have won two state D-II titles, including one with Silva at the helm.

The top four seeds in the D-I and II tournaments have first-round byes and play in Wednesday's quarterfinals.

In Tuesday's D-I opening round at Farrington Gym, Kalani (OIA No. 3, 9-8) will play Aiea (OIA No. 6, 11-5) at 5 p.m., followed by BIIF runner-up Waiakea (8-4) against Roosevelt (OIA No. 2, 11-7) at 7 p.m. At Kaimuki Gym, Baldwin (MIL No. 2, 10-4) will take on Moanalua (OIA No. 5, 6-11) at 5 p.m. and Iolani (ILH No. 2, 9-5) will battle Kailua (OIA No. 4, 8-9) at 7 p.m.

In Wednesday's quarterfinals at Kaimuki, Konawaena plays the Baldwin/Moanalua winner at 5 p.m. and Farrington meets the Iolani/Kailua winner at 7. At Farrington, Lahainaluna faces the Roosevelt/Waiakea winner at 5 p.m. and Punahou takes on the Kalani/Aiea winner at 7 p.m.

The D-I consolation and semifinal games on Thursday and the consolation games and final on Friday will be played at Blaisdell Arena.

In Tuesday's D-II opening round at Kalani Gym, Kauai Interscholastic Federation champion Kapaa (8-0) will look to hold off St. Andrew's (ILH No. 3, 9-4) at 5 p.m., and University (ILH No. 2, 11-1) will take on Hawaii Prep (8-3) at 7 p.m. At Radford Gym, Kaimuki (OIA No. 2, 13-4) battles Seabury Hall (MIL No. 9-3) at 5 p.m. and Kaiser (OIA No. 11-6) faces Hawaii Baptist (ILH No. 4, 10-5) at 7.

In Wednesday's quarterfinals at Kalani Gym, Molokai plays the University/Hawaii Prep winner at 5 p.m., followed by Kahuku against the Kapaa/St. Andrew's winner at 7. At Radford Gym, Kam-Hawaii will face the Kaiser/Hawaii Baptist winner at 5 p.m. and Maryknoll will have the Kaimuki/Seabury Hall winner at 7.

The D-II consolation and semifinal games on Thursday will continue at the Kalani and Radford Gyms. The division's fifth- and third-place games as well as the final on Friday will be played at Blaisdell Arena.

For more state tournament information, go to: http://www.sportshigh.com.

KHLO Radio (AM 850) will broadcast some of the state tournament games involving BIIF teams, with Rod Pacheco and Josh Pacheco calling the games.

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