Girls Battling For Basketball Playoffs

With the OIA girls basketball playoffs approaching, every game has a post-season feel to it as Wind-ward’s four public high schools look to bolster their hopes in the last week of the league play. Below is a look at important matchups at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Castle at Kalaheo

The back end of the Knights’ East slate comes against some of the league’s best teams, as Castle’s final three opponents include Roosevelt and Kalaheo on the road in addition to next Tuesday’s all-important matchup with Kailua. A win here would boost Castle’s playoff hopes, as it finds itself in a battle with Division II counterparts Farrington, Kalani and the Mustangs for tournament bids. The Knights entered late last week on a two-game win streak, defeating both McKinley and Kaimuki. Their most noteworthy win came early against Kahuku. The trio of Sheastel Tiumalu (11.5 points per game), Sierra Koki (11.2) and Shaney Tiumalu (10.7) currently rate fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, among the OIA White’s scoring leaders. For Kalaheo, this game with Castle is part of a tough three-game stretch that began Tuesday at Kahuku. A trip to Farrington next Tuesday follows. Tydra Meredith (11.0 points per game) and Sierra Yamaguchi (8.8) are among the leaders of the team, which was off to a 1-4 start through its first five games, with the lone win over Kaimuki.

Kahuku at McKinley

A 1-5 record left Red Raider playoff prospects far from certain as mid-season arrived. Following this game, Kahuku still has a home date next Tuesday against East leader Moanalua. A Kahuku win here would be huge to ensure a playoff berth, as McKinley was tied with Kahuku for the last spot in the East, heading into last weekend. Both teams had a full game lead over still-winless Kaimuki for the last berth. (McKinley and Kaimuki were to face off Tuesday in another game whose outcome could affect Kahuku’s post-season fate.) After beating Kalaheo to open its 2013 season, McKinley had lost seven straight games heading into last weekend’s action.

Kailua’s idle weekend

The Kailua team had the weekend off as it prepares for Monday’s finale with Castle. Much is on the line for both teams in that game, especially Kailua, which was 5-2 in the Red conference. The Surfriders had entered the weekend very much in the running for a favorable seed, pending the outcome of Tuesday night’s equally important road game at Moanalua. Kailua’s wins have come against Kalaheo (58-37), Kaimuki (55-30), Kahuku (50-49), Kaiser (94-90 in two overtimes) and Kalani (62-52), while losing to Roosevelt (65-49) and Farrington (50-49). Kailua’s Taufau Williams currently leads the entire OIA in scoring at a 17.4 points-per-game clip. Team-mate Patricia Vaimoana is sixth overall in scoring at 16.8 points per outing.