Hard Work, High Expectations
MIL champs head to Honolulu with quiet confidence.
By Sean Aronson
,” says Rapanot. “We now need to prove we can advance at this level.”
Last year, the Farmers fell in their first game to Hawaii Baptist School.
This year, because of restructuring to the divisions, there are many new teams contending. Former powerhouses like Farrington and Aiea, both of Oahu, were bumped up to Division I, because of their size. Newcomers such as Castle High and Word of Life are unknowns.
The team has played through some hardships as well. They have been without senior Micah Ritte-Manangan for most of the season. Ritte-Manangan, an MIL selection last year, has been sidelined with a severe ankle injury. In the past few weeks he has been shooting around a bit and was expected to get the green light to begin practicing this week.
Whether he will be available for Thursday’s game is a mystery, but at a recent practice he assured coaches and players that he was ready to go.
“We’ve been playing well without him, and that’s a testament to our players,” says DeRouin. “But there is no doubt he would be huge spark for this team.”
All of the players agreed that having been to the states previously, helps take some of their nervousness away. They are less inclined to be intimidated by the larger basketball courts and the hoopla that surrounds the state tourney.
It was also help that the boys started their season by playing Division I teams like Baldwin and Lahainaluna from Maui. And even though they didn’t win those games, it introduced them to the high level they will have to play at to be successful in Honolulu.
“This team is much more balanced than last year – both physically and mentally,” says DeRouin.
To follow the progress of the boy’s team at States, visit our website – www.themolokaidispatch.com – where we’ll be posting daily updates of the team’s time in Oahu.