Monday, Aug. 8, 2022 |
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• Just not getting the breaks!
Just not getting the breaks!
By Duane Shimogawa Jr. – The Garden Island
If you ask Kaua‘i High School basketball head coach Brandon Fujita about his team not receiving any breaks this season, he’d have an earful for you, but he’s not going to complain about the lack of breaks, instead, he’ll talk about how lucky he is to have such a great bunch of players at his disposal.
The undefeated 2005 KIF champions breezed through the season with hardly a challenge, but that may be their biggest downfall for the upcoming state tournament, which starts today.
Yes the Red Raiders have been battled tested, but that was in the preseason, against top-notched OIA competition, but that was a long time ago and all the teams in the state have changed since the preseason, whether it be good or bad, so in essence, it doesn’t help very much to play top caliber teams during the start of the season and then move down a notch during the season.
On top of that, Kaua‘i gets the yearly slap in the mug from the HHSAA with no seed in the tournament. Plus, the Red Raiders get to face the top seeded Io-lani Raiders if they beat Kalaheo in the opening round.
Not only are they the top seed, they are the 3-time defending champs.
“We’re being set up for failure here and it’s totally unfair for the Kaua‘i teams and we’d like to see it change,” Fujita said. The Waimea Menehune boys soccer team, who shocked the state with a win over the 4-time defending state champion Mililani squad en route to a third-place finish, probably made the biggest impact for a Kaua‘i team in recent memory.
But it will take more teams to break the barrier and topple the state’s best teams year in and year out. Fujita mentioned that this year’s squad has probably the best chance of winning a state title than any other squad in the past.
But if a Kaua‘i team is going to win it all, it’s going to take some luck and some breaks.
“In the past 50 years or so, there hasn’t been a Kaua‘i team to have a break,” Fujita said of the lack of respect the rest of the state has for the KIF.
There has only been one Kaua‘i team to get past the first round of the state high school basketball tournament and that may be the biggest reason for the lack of respect.
It’s going to take a string of upsets before we see a Kaua‘i team seeded at the state tournament. In fact, it’s probably going to take a KIF team to win a state title, before we even smell a seed.
The odds are in favor of the other islands if they keep claiming the top four seeds. After all, a seed means a first round bye and a free ride into the quarterfinals, which translates to one less game to the road to the state championship contest. Chad Thompson and the Menehune soccer squad almost did it and so can Futi and the Red Raiders.
More importantly though, if Kaua‘i goes deep into the state tournament and doesn’t come back home with a state title, it won’t be such a big disappointment, because after all, it’ll mean that we can joust with the big boys. And if we can joust with the big boys, then we should receive the same treatment as the elite teams in the state, which means, a seed or two, or three or four!
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