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Leilehua And Mililani Ready For A Possible OIA Red Rematch

With the OIA Red girls basketball tournament set to begin next week, MidWeek‘s Central Oahu Islander looks at the prospects for Leilehua and Mililani. Pairings for the tournament, which runs through Jan. 29 at various sites, will be finalized Saturday.

Leilehua Mules

Record: 10-4 overall including preseason, 7-1 in OIA West

Best wins: Over Aiea 42-24 Jan. 3, over Waianae 53-47 Dec. 27

What to watch – Mules at a glance: The Mules still are riding high following their OIA title last year.

The defending champion has been more workmanlike than flashy this time around, but it’s continued its winning ways, having lost only one league game through its first seven outings.

That loss came in a 54-26 defeat to Mililani Dec. 26. A re-match between them in the OIA tournament is a real possibility, depending on pairings and first-round results. The Mules have relied on defense again this season, having kept all but two opponents (Mililani and Waianae) under the 35-point mark. Their offensive strength has been its balance to date, as Tywanna Abbott (12.9 points per game), Jerri Maluyo (9.6), Tiffany Reyher (9.0) and Chyel Palmer (6.6) all have done their part to provide the scoring.

Did you know? Leilehua entered last week’s action having won 18 of its last 20 games versus OIA opponents, dating back to the beginning of the 2012-13 season.

Mililani Trojans

Record: 16-2 overall including preseason, 8-0 in OIA

Best wins: Over Waiakea 53-51 Nov. 15, over Kona 49-41 Nov. 26, over Leilehua 54-26 Dec. 26

What to Watch – Trojans at a glance: With four starters lost to graduation from last year’s OIA runner-up team, Mililani was the mystery team entering the off-season with a rebuilding year ahead. Helped along by the addition of Hanalani transfer Sarah Livai, however, the team has quickly added to its status as one of the favorites to take this year’s OIA title. In its first eight games, Mililani outscored its opponents 61-25 on average.

Offensively, only OIA-East leader Roosevelt has scored more points than the Trojans, who are averaging 62.4 points per game. On the defensive side, the Trojans have been most impressive, giving up just 25.4 ppg.

Senior point guard Mikaela Limper sets the tone as the lone returning starter. With a different supporting cast around her, Limper has made herself more of a scorer this year and enters the tournament averaging 14.4 ppg, good for ninth-best in the Red West. Livai is averaging a team-best 16.6 ppg, meanwhile, and has given Mililani an added post presence to go with Shantell Appleby (8.1 ppg). Zyriana Davies (6.4), Summer Bolibol and Jerika Dacuycuy also figure big in the rotation.

Did you know? Mililani has only allowed one opponent to top the 40-point plateau during the season. That came on Jan. 3 in a 67-46 win over Waianae.

jackster.1969@yahoo.com

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