Johnson, Ko Lauded As OIA Basketball Standouts For 2012

In Hawaii prep basketball, the best teams invariably have a coach on the floor to help them stay the course over a long season, and Kahuku and Kalaheo had two of the best leaders around this winter in Kawehena Johnson and Josh Ko, respectively.

Their team contributions didn’t go unnoticed when the OIA Red Conference coaches voted for their annual all-league selections. Johnson and Ko were both named to the First Team, the only players so chosen from their schools.

Johnson, a junior with a year of eligibility left, averaged 11.9 points per game for the Red Raiders, who went 23-8, including their preseason. Coached by Darren Johnson, Kahuku went 16-1 against OIA foes, with its only loss coming to then-undefeated Kapolei in the first of a three-game championship round final in the conference tournament. The Red Raiders went on to defeat Kapolei twice to win the OIA and advance to the title game of the Division I state tourney the following week (where they lost 59-52 to Punahou).

Johnson also was selected to the DI All-Tournament team along with teammate Kuali’i-Moe. Together, they combined for 28 points, including five-of-11 three-pointers, to lead the way for Kahuku in the state title game.

Mekeli Fiso made the Second Team from Kahuku. He averaged 11.1 points per game to help provide an inside presence and finished strong, reaching double figures in eight of his last 10 games. Evan Ramirez, Sam Ching and Moe earned Honorable Mention.

Ko was one of the catalysts behind Kalaheo winning the Division II state championship as well as the OIA title. The senior averaged 11.6 points per game. Head coach Alika Smith was named East Coach of the Year by his peers. Mustang center Nainoa Frank made the Second Team after averaging 9.0 points per game, while Derick Morgan, Shem Sukumaran and Jordyn Reindollar received Honorable Mention.

Six of Castle High’s players – Faaesea Lakatani, Seth Tiumalu, Micah Maeda, Rudy Tyquiengco, Kela Shea and Kela Zuttermeister – made Honorable Mention.

Receiving Honorable Mention from Kailua were Kekoa Ford, Kirk Ronolo Jr. and Mason Youart.

The ILH also announced its All-Conference teams recently. Le Jardin Academy’s Sean McWhinnie and Juliun Perkins both were named to the Second Team, while team-mate Sam Spengler earned Honorable Mention.