KIF Hoops Promise More Drama


If you hadn’t already, please go back and re-read that first line using your best Princess Bride voice inflection.

Unimaginable, unthinkable, impossible however you choose to define it, the sheer unpredictability of the basketball universe, both near and far, never disappoints in its ability to surprise.

That point was driven home once again as the NBA after all but dismissing the idea of a 2011-12 season somehow came to a resolution and ended its lockout. Both the owners and players handled negotiations with an ineptitude that made me wonder how these individuals made their millions in the first place.

But after the players union “disclaimed interest” (a term I still don’t really understand), which initially appeared to be the dagger for any hopes of a season, the two sides seemed to realize that killing a full year after the league had regained such immense popularity wasn’t a wise move.

It’s only fitting that such a stunning outcome occurs just as the KIF basketball seasons are tipping off, reminding us that nothing is ever really determined until the final horn sounds.

Even the nip-and-tuck nature of this past high school football season doesn’t really compare to what took place last basketball season, when both boys and girls championships were decided by buzzer-beating buckets.

Each time it was Kapa’a with the last-second heroics to snag the league title away from Kaua’i High, and not only do the Warriors come back with that mental edge, but both return plenty of experience from their championship teams. Yet without Jessilyn Artaho-Aki and Spam Lindsey, who were each team captains and made the thrilling final shots of the season, new leaders will have to emerge from the talentrich teams. Point guard and Player of the Year, Willis Batol, and top scorer Mahea HanieGrace are the likely candidates.

Waimea will have new identities for both its teams, as the girls graduated the majority of their squad, most notably three-point specialist and former KIF Player of the Year Jayme Jacinto, as well as physical center Brandee Victorino. The boys’ team graduated its inside-outside threat, top scorer and all-star, Vinda Carineo. Both will have to find new faces to fill those important roles for the Menehune.

For the Red Raiders, it was heartbreak last time around for the boys and girls, though there should be plenty of optimism in Lihu’e. Two-time All-Star and defending Player of the Year Kristle Henry looks to lead the Raider Wahine to another shot at the KIF crown. The boys graduated a pair of all-stars in Joe Duronslet and Bryan Andres, but will look to explosive senior Donovan Harrison as a playmaker.

Island School will not be fielding a boys varsity squad, while the girls continue to move closer to the big three power teams at the varsity level.

The girls regular season tips off Dec. 13 as Waimea hosts Kaua’i and Island School hosts Kapa’a. The boys follow suit Jan. 4 with the Menehune again hosting the Red Raiders on the West side. All evenings start with JV games at 5:30, with varsity to follow.