Memorable feats, events highlight 2005-06 season
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
The 2005-06 high school sports year began and ended with familiar results: Kahuku winning a big football game, and Punahou winning state championships in girls basketball and baseball.
But in between, there were events and feats that made this school year unlike any other.
After nine months and thousands of games, matches and races, here are some of the most memorable moments from '05-06:
In 2004-05, a total of 14 teams (in football, softball and girls basketball) participated in state tournaments to decide a Division II champion. In '05-06, that number almost quadrupled — to 54 — thanks to the addition of DII boys and girls volleyball and the expansion of the Division II softball and girls basketball tournaments from four teams each to 12.
Suddenly, programs that had struggled in the past to drum up victories and fan interest were aiming for the added state berths that were now within reach.
Hawai'i High School Athletic Association executive director Keith Amemiya said all DII state tournaments either came close to breaking even or made a profit, which bodes well for the future.
Out of the thousands of games and matches played throughout the year, several stand out — Roosevelt's 20-25, 26-24, 29-27 victory over Kalani in the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's girls volleyball semifinals; Mililani's 11-inning, 3-2 win over Baldwin in the softball state quarterfinals; Saint Louis' 80-77 triple-overtime victory over Punahou for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's final boys basketball state tournament berth.
But as far as a game that many will remember, the best may have been Kahuku's 28-21 comeback win over Punahou for the state football title at Aloha Stadium.
Punahou, the ILH champ for the first time since 1977, had taken a 21-12 lead early in the fourth quarter. But the Red Raiders rallied for two touchdowns and a safety to go up, 28-21, with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. The Buffanblu then marched all the way to the Kahuku 3-yard line, only to be thwarted by an interception in the end zone with 20 seconds left.
Rain had postponed Castle's first-round game in the baseball state tournament, forcing the Knights to play the next morning. They advanced, 1-0, behind Royce Diaz's no-hitter.
A few hours later, Castle — which barely qualified for the tournament as the OIA's fifth-place team — shocked No. 1 seed 'Aiea, 2-0, in the quarterfinals as 5-foot-8 sophomore Glenn Silva tossed a three-hitter. Silva, who was called up from the JV just a couple weeks before, was making only his second varsity start.
"I played a hunch and went with the young boy," Knights coach Joe Tom said. "He pitched his heart out."
Kahuku's boys volleyball roster was dwindling one player at a time because of academic, personal and disciplinary reasons, until on the eve of the OIA's fifth-place match, the Red Raiders were left with only five players.
They were forced to forfeit, and suddenly the state tournament berth they earned was in jeopardy.
"I told our athletic director we might be done," said Kahuku coach Howard Kaulula'au. "Then (basketball standout) Junior (Ale) called me and said, 'Coach, what can I do to help? Can I help by (joining the team)?'"
In Kahuku's state tournament first-round match, Ale had 14 kills, 10 digs and two blocks as the Red Raiders upset OIA runner-up Radford. He then had eight kills in a quarterfinal victory over Moloka'i.
Kahuku's magical run — with the minimum six players — finally ended in a semifinal loss to eventual champion Punahou.
BEST INDIVIDUAL PERFORMANCES
Kealoha Pilares, Damien football — Against Iolani in the regular-season finale, he rushed 50 times for 300 yards, including four touchdowns, and also had a 76-yard kickoff return for a TD in a 57-49 loss.
Junior Ale, Kahuku basketball — In an OIA semifinal win over Campbell, he scored a career-high 38 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, dished out five assists and made two steals.
Stephanie Kono, Punahou golf — In the first round of the state tournament, she shot a personal best and course-record score of 8-under-par 64, including a 6-under 30 on her first nine holes at Turtle Bay's Fazio course.
Shawna-Lei Kuehu, Punahou basketball — In a state championship victory over Roosevelt, she set a tournament record with 37 points, to go along with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. She scored 11 points in the first three minutes, 16 in the first period, 25 in the half and 37 by the end of the third quarter.
Iolani's boys basketball streaks of 105 consecutive victories against Hawai'i opponents and 61 straight wins in the ILH came to an end at the hands of Punahou and Kamehameha, respectively. But the Raiders extended their record streaks of ILH titles (six) and state championships (five). ... Punahou won its 16th straight boys tennis team state title and third straight baseball state championship.
Saint Louis senior Brandon Low became the first in Hawai'i to win individual wrestling state championships in four different weight classes, and Ka'u's Dylan Rush became the first Big Island wrestler to win three individual state titles. ... Moanalua became the first OIA school to win the girls golf team state championship. ... Other first-time team state titles: Baldwin (boys golf), Farrington (girls judo), Iolani (DII football), Kahuku (boys track and field), Kamehameha (water polo, boys swimming), Kamehameha-Maui (mixed paddling), Kalani (DII girls basketball), Kapa'a (DII boys volleyball), Mililani (boys and girls bowling), Pac-Five (DII softball), Punahou (boys air riflery, girls paddling, boys judo), Radford (cheerleading) and St. Francis (DII volleyball).
Reach Wes Nakama at email@example.com.