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West Oahu Girls Battle For A Place In State Basketball Tourney

As the OIA season winds down this week, the league’s conference tournament and securing berths for the upcoming girls state basketball tournament will be the focus for area teams.

A look at the post-season prospects for both Aiea and Kapolei follows:

Aiea High: 5-2 (record before last weekend)

Signature wins: Kapolei (58-39) at home; at Campbell (57-43)

Players to watch: Mich’lae Higa (OIA White scoring leader at 15.7 points per game), Pumehana Beltran (13.5 ppg), Paula Mauga (5.7), Allysha Cooper-Tabisola, Mele Sitani, Natasha Maroney

Na Ali’i at a glance: Perhaps no team in the OIA had as tough a schedule in the last week of the regular season play as did Aiea, which played league-leader Mililani last Saturday and had to bounce back to play a red-hot Leilehua team Tuesday.

Regardless of the outcome of those games, Aiea was easily in line for the top seed out of the West for next week’s OIA DII tournament, since it defeated all of its DII opponents.

Indeed, Aiea’s only two losses came to Division I programs, Radford and Nanakuli.

A top seeding means a first-round bye for Aiea, which will play either the No. 2 seed from the West or the No. 3 seed from the East in its semifinal matchup. Defense has been Aiea’s forte to date, as only two opponents have topped the 40-point mark against it. Aiea is giving up an average of just 32.4 points per game, while scoring at a 46.4 clip.

Did you know? The OIA White has produced the Division II state champion twice in the last five years: Radford (2011) and Campbell (2008).

What’s next: Aiea was to host Leilehua Tuesday in its season finale. The OIA Division II tournament begins next week.

Make plans for the state tournament if: Na Ali’i continues to bring its “A” game on the defensive end.

Aiea’s best offense to date has been its defense, which is a good omen at tournament time. It is a safe bet to make the state tournament field and should be in the mix for the title.

Kapolei: 5-3 (record before last weekend)

Signature wins: Over Radford (43-31) and Campbell (50-37) at home

What’s next: The Hurricanes were to close out their OIA season on Tuesday with a road date at Waianae. The OIA Red tournament begins next week.

Players to watch: Amayha Dycus (9.4 points per game), Chermayne Yago (9.4), Anna Souza (6.6)

Hurricanes at a glance: The Hurricanes need to finish among the top six teams at the upcoming OIA tournament to make the field for the state tournament.

With 10 teams in the Red (including East and West) at .500 or better, that goal would seem within reach if Kapolei can continue to improve game by game as it has all season. The higher the seeding, the better, obviously, for Kapolei, which closed its regular season with key games versus Nanakuli over the weekend and Tuesday’s finale with Waianae.

In Dycus and Yago, Kapolei has a pair of goto players, offensively. Their post-season fate may be tied to finding more scoring elsewhere in the lineup to help balance out the Hurricanes’ attack.

Worth tracking: Kapolei is 5-0 when scoring 40 points or more.

Make plans for the state tournament if: the Hurricanes can tighten up their defense at the OIA tournament. Through its first eight games, Kapolei was second to last in the Red West in points given up.

Offensively, it has usually been able to manufacture the scoring it needs, topping the 50-point mark on five separate occasions.