Winter Break Sports Round-Up

The Molokai High boys’ paddling team took advantage of calm waters in Lahaina two weeks ago by posting their best time of the year en route to a second place finish in the Dec. 19 tournament.

“The team was really pumped, they were all very happy with the results,” said head coach Jonathon Smith.

Smith said this team – made up of Mahi Kan-Hai, Punohu Seitz, Ka`ili Levi, Ka`oli Place, Gaig Yap and Eric Gilliland – is off to the best start since he has been coaching.

“We expected to do pretty well, but we are definitely pleased with where we are at right now,” he said.

The boys took first place in the first heat of the day with a time of 3:56. That put them in lane two for the finals where they slowed down due to choppy waters. They finished the finals race with a time of 4:14, nine seconds behind Seabury Hall who took first place overall.

Seabury has struggled in past years and surprised everyone with the win.  The Farmers were happy to surpass King Kekaulike and Kamehameha, both of which had made a habit of finishing just ahead of the Molokai wa`a in recent years.

Smith said the team still left plenty of room to improve. In fact, last week in practice the team cut nearly 15 seconds off of their best time by finishing a run in 3:42 on Molokai waters. The next meet will be this weekend in the choppy waters of Kahului Harbor.

Girls Paddling
The girls’ crew also competed at Lahaina on Dec. 19 and was able to overcome a tough starting position to pick up a respectable fourth place finish in a field of over 10 schools.

The team was given the short straw and forced to start in the furthest outside lane in their first heat.

“[The outside] just doesn’t run. The first three lanes run really nice, but we were stuck on the outside,” said head coach Tanya Kaholoa`a. “We were pretty stoked that we came in third from the outside lane.”

The Farmers posted a fast enough time to qualify for the finals, but were once again on the outside lane looking in. Kaholoa`a said she and the team were pleased with what they were able to do, but knew there was room for improvement.

“I think the girls just got too excited because they finally had someone to race against,” Kaholoa`a said. “At practice there is no one really to push you.”

She said that the extra adrenaline caused her team to work a little too hard, turning in a much higher stroke count than they were used to in practice.

The Farmers also put together a mixed team of three boys and three girls and finished in fifth out of eight teams. The results were pretty impressive considering it was the first time that all six members had sat in the same boat. Steersmen Natalia Levi was the only paddler to compete for both the mixed team and her single gender team.

All three crews will be on Maui for the first of three consecutive weekends this Saturday. The next two meets will take place in Kahului with the third being held at Kihei.

Boys’ Basketball
The boys’ basketball team also kicked off their season over the holiday break by playing in the Lahaina Holiday Tournament on Dec. 18-22. The Farmers played in four games in the tournament and also scheduled a game with Maui Interscholastic League (MIL) foe King Kekaulike while they were there. They came back to Molokai with a 2-3 record.

Molokai coach Lee DeRouin said the record is a little deceiving because his team uses the preseason tournament as a basketball camp rather than worrying about wins. This year was especially focused on giving each player a chance to prove himself with seven new faces on a 13-man roster. After leading the Farmers to back-to-back MIL championships and falling just a game short of the state championship last year, DeRouin lost over half his roster graduation last season.

“For how we did Friday compared to how we finished Tuesday I think the guys did great,” DeRouin said. “This weekend was more about getting everybody meaningful minutes so now we can come back and finalize our rotation.”

Molokai started the trip well with a win over King Kekaulike, but then struggled against tournament host Lahainaluna and Cresenta Valley from California. The Farmers were able to keep things close in the first half against Cresenta, who recently played in the California state football championship, but ultimately couldn’t keep up with their size.

The Farmers bounced back by overpowering Richmond High School from British Columbia, Canada in a 63-33 win Sunday. Senior Alvin Ringor led the way with 18 points for Molokai. DeRouin said he was also impressed with how returners Ryan Rapanot and Kamakana Douvachelle-Andrade played on the interior defense.

“Every game we played was a physical contest, which I think is going to make us better. We are expecting the same kind of games out of the better MIL teams,” DeRouin said.

The boys start their regular MIL season next weekend with a pair of games at St. Anthony on Maui.

Girls’ Basketball
The girls’ team capped off a very successful and busy preseason with another impressive showing in the Lahaina Holiday Tournament. The Farmers went 3-0 in round robin play before falling to Konawaena from the big island in the championship game.

The girls started out strong with double-digit victories against Chino (California) and MIL opponent Baldwin High. Next, they took on Kamehameha-Hawaii for the third time since ending last year’s regular season. And as it has the two previous matchups the game came down to the wire.

Molokai narrowly defeated Kamehameha in a tournament in Kona earlier this month and also edged the same team 45-42 for the state championship last March. This time, the Farmers needed overtime to secure a victory. Molokai led by as much as 13 during the game, but let their opponents back in the contest late. The Farmers top two scorers, junior Kalei Adolpho and senior Danna-Lynn Hooper-Juario, took over in the overtime and the Farmers held on for a 61-55 win.

The following day Molokai lost 54-37 in the championship game to Konawaena. Konawaena won last year’s Div. I state championship and beat the Farmers earlier this year during the tournament in Kona.

“The girls were happy to compete against those kinds of teams, but at the same time they know we still have plenty of work to do,” said assistant coach Michael Hooper. “If we take what we learned in preseason and don’t get too overconfident during out Div. II schedule we should be in good shape.”

Hooper originally said he would be happy if his team won three of their 13 tough preseason games. The Farmers finished 8-5.  They will start their regular season on Jan. 15 against St. Anthony at The Barn. 

Girls’ Soccer
The Farmers continued to struggle on the soccer field during the past few weeks dropping two games to Lahainaluna and two more to Baldwin. The girls were held scoreless in the four contests.

“We missed a lot of girls who were on vacation or on different islands visiting family for the holidays,” Molokai coach Scott Shelton said. “Some of our main starters were absent for those games and that hurt us.”

Shelton did say there is hope in the future for the now 0-8 Farmers. The team’s first eight games have all been played against Div. I schools. Molokai is forced to play the bigger schools because the MIL soccer league only has three Div. II teams.

This weekend the Farmers will be hosting one of the other two teams in their division, St. Anthony. The games at Kaunakakai Ball Park will start at 3:30 on Friday afternoon and 10 a.m. the following morning.


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