Young, Injured Basketball Team Earns Trip to States
Photo by Andrew Nuibe
Despite scrambling to find a replacement for injured scoring guard Travis McGaughy ('01), the team still managed to earn a spot in the state basketball tournament.
By Billy Hull and Mark Oda
Despite being one of the youngest boys' varsities in recent years, this year's team has used its youthful energy to finish second in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, earning them a place in the state tournament.
The Raiders started off strong by finishing in sole possession of first place with a perfect 6-0 league record after the first-round of ILH play. They were even ranked as high as third on the statewide media poll conducted by hawaiisportsnetwork.com.
"Even though we might be ranked third, our team feels that we are the best in the state and we will try to prove to everyone else what we already know," said Joe Udell ('02)
The second round of the ILH season brought many hardships to the team. They lost the first game of their ILH season to Punahou by just three points. While many people saw this game as a setback, players thought this loss would help them grow tougher as a team, come playoff time.
"By spending a lot of quality time together, we have become close as a team and that should help us bounce back from the Punahou game," said Udell.
The Raiders got back on the winning track with a win against Maryknoll, but the games with Kamehameha and a second with Maryknoll handed Iolani three losses in league play, taking them out of first place.
"With the injury that Travis McGaughy ('01) suffered, we had to change the players' roles on the team, and with such a young group of players, that caused us to struggle as a team." said Coach Mark Muguishi.
McGaughy suffered a sprained left ankle during practice and played only a few minutes throughout the rest of the season. Even still, he was confident the team could stay strong without him.
"As long as they play together as a team, they'll be able to stick it out," he said.
On the brink of being knocked out of second place, the team defeated University High School and clinched second place in the ILH and, more importantly, a spot in the state tournament.
"Even though we have struggled towards the end, if you were to tell me at the beginning of the year that we'd finish second and go to the state tournament, I would have been happy with that," said Muguishi. "Even though we had a shot at being ILH champions, I'm still happy with the way this team has performed."
"Even with the series of loses our team went through, we're still confident that we will come back and perform well in the state tournament." said Leroy Nicholas ('01).
The team does not expect to change anything for the state tournament as the seedings and games will not be set up until right before the tournament is to begin.
"Since we don't really know who we will be playing, we're just going to go back and rework the fundamentals in order to prepare for the state tournament," said Muguishi.
The tournament will be held Feb. 24-27 at the Neil Blaisdell Center, where Iolani will be facing more experienced teams.
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