Top Performers
Hedani, Moananu stepped up for Raiders, Spartans last week

Male Athlete of the Week: Brock Hedani, Iolani football
There was a time not so long ago when Brock Hedani played on the other side of the football. But the former linebacker saw a team need at running back and thought he could provide some aid.

Hedani, a 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior, approached the Iolani coaches about the prospect of a position change following the graduation of prolific ball carrier, Kaua Nishigaya, last spring.

"He kind of brought it up towards the end of last school year and in the summer," Raiders coach Wendell Look said of Hedani.

"He knew that we didn't have a true running back coming back and so he thought that he could help the team more on the offensive side of the ball and so he brought it up and I said, ‘let's try it, look at it over the summer and see how it goes,' " Look said. "It's really benefitted him as a player and us as a team."

It's certainly worked out to be a mutually beneficial move.

Hedani has run for a team-high 720 yards and 12 touchdowns for the 10th-ranked Raiders (10-2), who will play No. 5 Hilo for the First Hawaiian Bank/HHSAA Division I State Championship at 4 p.m. Friday at Aloha Stadium.

Against eighth-ranked Moanalua in a semifinal game last Saturday night, Hedani turned in one of his best performances of the season. He totaled three touchdowns, including one receiving, on 26 touches to help Iolani come away with the 35-9 win.

Hedani carried a season-high 24 times for 90 rushing yards and found the end zone on runs of 1 and 17 yards — both in the second quarter. He also caught two passes for 15 yards and scored on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Jonah Chong just past the midway point of the fourth quarter.

"There were times when there was no room to run inside, but he stayed within the game and what we've been telling him and what he does best and that's just go straight ahead and if we get two, three yards that's fine and if he can find a crease and get something that's a plus, but he stayed within himself, not trying to always make the home run play; four, five yards that's good positive yards," Look said.

Hedani and Brody Logan Bantolina, a 5-foot-8, 150-pound sophomore, have shared the running back duties. Bantolina has run for 538 yards and 10 TDs on the year.

"Brody has a different skillset. He's more of a slasher and he's got some speed and Brock is more of the straight-ahead type of guy, so they complement each other real well. Brock's been carrying most of the load these past couple of games and you just kind of roll the dice with the hot guy," Look said.

Look and the coaching staff reiterate Hedani's strengths to him on a regular basis.

"We try to emphasize to him that with his make-up, he's best going straight forward and making one cut here and there and not dance around too much, more of that straight ahead — I don't know if you can use the word ‘power' runner — but that's his strength," Look said. "Once he gets into the open field he's got some speed to him. He's not a shifty kind of guy, more of a straight-ahead kind of guy, but he's developing into a pretty hard-nosed runner."

With the Raiders recording five interceptions on defense, Hedani's steady 3.8 yards per carry Saturday kept the chains moving and limited the number of possessions for Moanalua's high-scoring air raid offense.

It's not just when he carried the ball that Hedani proved to be effective. He and Bantolina were also pivotal in the passing game as the sixth blocker for Chong, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 168 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

"They've got to pass (protect) and it's important when you've got a team like Moanalua, who's bringing some people and pressure, that they not only have to be able to run the ball, but they've gotta be able to pass pro," Look said.

Look added that the effectiveness of the Hedani and Bantolina running the ball has done wonders for Chong and the passing game.

"I think the run game takes a lot of pressure off of the passing game. If the run games gets going then it makes the whole offense run a little bit more efficient and be a little bit more productive. The two of them complement each other very well and to have two guys that are both essentially starters and both very capable is great. We're lucky to have some depth there, so they've done a great job of filling the void that Kaua left," Look said.

Hedani has also proven to be a threat in the passing game himself. Of his 13 receptions on the year, seven have gone for touchdowns, including two in a win over Kailua on Sept. 6, when he found the end zone a season-high four times.

"That's part of our game, but it's got to be kind of a blessing that he's able to catch the ball pretty well out of the backfield, so it's a credit to him and his athleticism and we're taking advantage of his athleticism," Look said.

As a sophomore in 2017, Hedani was in the rotation at linebacker, but an ankle injury early on last season largely hampered his ability to stay healthy as a junior. The third-year varsity player, who also competes in track and field in the spring, has not missed a game this year.

His final game for Iolani Friday afternoon will mark his first appearance in a state championship and the Raiders' first time back in the title game since 2016, when it lost to Mililani in the D1 final, 31-20.

"This senior group has really done a great job of kind of taking over the team and showing the team the way to reach their goals and they're one game away and to get to this spot is a great accomplish in itself. There's only six teams playing now and they're one of them, so hopefully we've got one more good game in us," Look said.

Friday's championship triple header at Aloha Stadium kicks off with the D2 final between Kapaa and Lahainaluna at 1 p.m. The Iolani-Hilo game will follow at approximately 4 p.m. and the Open Division final between Kahuku and Saint Louis will serve as the nightcap at 7 p.m.

Female Athlete of the Week: Serenity Moananu, Maryknoll basketball
With two seasons of varsity basketball already under her belt, the expectations upon Serenity Moananu have certainly evolved for the second-year Maryknoll starter.

Moananu, a 5-foot-8 junior forward, took a big step in her continued development over the weekend, when she scored a game-high 20 points to lead the Spartans to a 58-32 win at defending Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I champion Kahuku in a non-league game Saturday.

"She was really efficient," Maryknoll coach Chico Furtado said of Moananu.

"She was 2 of 5 (shooting) on 3-pointers, 6 of 7 on total field goals and three of those were like mid-range jumpers — 15, 16 feet — she got some stuff at the bucket and she hit a couple free throws to get the 20 (points), so she was really well-balanced, which is what we're trying to get her to do still," Furtado said.

Moananu is part of a group of juniors — including twins Aloha and Mahalo Akaka — who were promoted to the varsity squad as freshmen, after the completion of the JV season.

The Spartans reached the D1 state final that year, but lost to Konawaena.

"We had that last big senior group that that year so they practiced with us but didn't get much court time because of the amount of seniors we had," Furtado said.

Moananu saw action in just seven games and totaled just seven points as a freshman.

As a sophomore last season, she was thrust into the starting lineup, but was forced to play the center position after 6-foot-1 standout Bella Cravens completed her eligibility. She averaged 8.4 points per game and notched seven double-digit scoring games, including a season-high 18 points in a non-league game against Castle, on her way to All-Interscholastic League of Honolulu Honorable Mention.

This season however, Moananu has transitioned to the power forward position with the addition of 6-foot freshman center Taimane Faleafine-Auwae.

"She's kind of been stuck in our post position because of the lack of size, but we're taking advantage of our 6-foot freshman and allowing Serenity to open up a little bit more and play her normal position of a 3-4 (small forward-power forward), instead of a 4-5 (power forward-center)," Furtado said.

Furtado said Moananu's versatility allows her to slide back to the 5 when the Spartans go with a smaller lineup.

Despite the ability to hit the outside shot, Furtado said keeping Moananu from overly relying on perimeter jumpers will be key.

"Sometimes, like any other kid, when you hit a couple 3s you fall in love with the 3-point line, so we're just trying to keep her balanced and understand that if you don't hit a couple of those, go get some muscle points, some blue-collar points inside and she's done well with that. We don't want her to only be a perimeter player because I think there's still points to be hard for her from 10 feet and in. She can attack the basket off the dribble, she can spot up and hit the 3, she can even handle the ball when there's pressure," Furtado said.

The offseason departure of ILH first team all-star guard Jalen Tanuvasa (17.2 ppg last year), who moved to Las Vegas, is a loss that the Spartans are attempting to overcome collectively.

"I think it has an effect on our entire team because everybody now, we've got to replace 17 to 20 points a game and we've got to find a primary ball handler, so I think it impacts us as a team, but I don't think it impacts Serenity directly in any specific way, but I think our kids are relishing in the challenge," Furtado said. "I think as a team we're kind of relishing in this opportunity to become better at moving the ball, transitioning, running out and we're going point guard-by-committee until Aloha (Akaka) gets her bearings because it's a new position for her, but Mahalo, Serenity, Lily Koki off the bench, they can all help with ball handling," Furtado said. "We're trying to not have any one player handle the ball ball too much against pressure."

It's not that Tanuvasa's transfer has had zero effect on Moananu, however.

"The leadership part is where it impacts Serenity the most because now I think she feels like she has to be the voice," Furtado said. "She's one of the elders on the team. Jalen led with her play and now I think Serenity is taking the opportunity to do that, so that's a good thing for us because we have three sophomores and a freshman on our team that sometimes need court direction and sometimes kids directing other kids is more effective than coaches directing kids. Sometimes the leadership of a peer is stronger than that of a coach and they're all close and they all get along with each other," Furtado said.

Moananu and Mahalo Akaka have been designated as the team captains this season.

"Serenity is beginning to embrace that a little bit and she's being more vocal on the court," Furtado said. "I think she's trying to lead by example by working hard, but she's trying to get everybody on the same page. She's come to my office twice now to talk about what we're running and how to help the younger players come around, so she's being a team leader and we hope that continues."

If there is any part of Moananu's game that could still use some work, it's on the defensive end, Furtado said.

"That's our entire team. I think with young people, that ability to grasp defense and being passionate about defense, I think that's what separates good teams from great teams, but she doesn't mind the work and she doesn't mind the critique, so I think that's something that she'll become better at," Furtado said.

Maryknoll, which missed out on the state tournament after going 8-5 in ILH play last season (19-5 overall), is off to a 4-1 start to the preseason. Moananu has scored in double digits three times and is averaging 10.4 points per game, second most on the team behind Aloha Akaka (13.8 ppg).

"I'm very happy with Serenity's start, (but) I think it's just a continued work in progress to make sure that she understand that the best of her is when she's balanced," Furtado said.

Moananu and the Spartans are in the midst of a 13-day break between games. They return to the court on Dec. 7, when close out the preseason at Sacred Hearts before opening up ILH play at Punahou on Dec. 9.

Pokii Adkins-Kupukaa, Campbell — Had 9 1/2 tackles in a loss to Kahuku

Kai Bookland, Lahainaluna — Caught five passes for 105 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Roosevelt

Jeffrey Brown, Kapaa — Had four tackles, including one TFL, and intercepted two passes in a win over Kaimuki

Lawaialani Brown, Saint Louis — Scored on a 70-yard interception return in a win over Mililani

Kaiser Cambra-Cho, Saint Louis — Recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown in a win over Mililani

Jonah Chong, Iolani — Threw for 168 yards and two touchdowns on 11-of-19 passing without an interception in a win over Moanalua

Kahanu Davis, Kapaa — Rushed 21 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another score in a win over Kaimuki

Dacyres Domingo, Moanalua — Caught 10 passes for 124 yards in a loss to Iolani

Jayden de Laura, Saint Louis — Threw for 99 yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-26 passing without an interception in a win over Mililani

Jonah Faasoa, Kaimuki — Caught seven passes for 115 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Kapaa

Blaine Hipa, Campbell — Threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns on 29-of-45 passing without an interception in a loss to Kahuku

Isaac Kaleikau, Roosevelt — Had 7 1/2 tackles and a forced fumble in a loss to Lahainaluna

Kaulana Kaluna, Kaimuki — Had 8 1/2 tackles in a loss to Kapaa

Nainoa Kulukulualani-Sales, Lahainaluna — Had 3 1/2 tackles, intercepted a pass, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a win over Roosevelt

Keanu Keolanui, Hilo — Made field goals of 44 and 37 yards in a win over Leilehua

Shepherd Kekahuna, Roosevelt — Had 8 1/2 tackles in a loss to Roosevelt

Jake Lambden, Kapaa — Had 7 1/2 tackles, including three TFLs and two sacks in a win over Kaimuki

Kainalu Lewis, Hilo — Had one sack, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a win over Leilehua

Brad Lilo, Moanalua — Had seven tackles, including one TFL and a sack, in a loss to Iolani

Kaiola Lingaton, Kapaa — Had 8 1/2 tackles and a pass break-up in a win over Kaimuki

Jayden Maiava, Kaimuki — Threw for 325 yards and four touchdowns on 28-of-42 passing with two interceptions in a loss to Kapaa

Zealand Matagi, Kahuku — Rushed 30 times for 133 yards and two touchdowns in win over Campbell

Kyan Miyasato, Hilo — Threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns on 16-of-29 passing with one interception in a win over Leilehua

Koby Moananu, Kaimuki — Caught 10 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns in a loss to Kapaa

Baba Na-O, Kapaa — Rushed 26 times for 136 yards and a touchdown in a win over Kaimuki

KJ Navares, Kaimuki — Had 8 1/2 tackles in a loss to Kapaa

Meki Pei, Iolani — Had nine tackles and intercepted two passes, including one returned 28 yards for a touchdown, in a win over Moanalua

Kiaka Pio, Leilehua — Had one sack and recovered a fumble in a loss to Hilo

Matthew Rabinno, Roosevelt — Had two sacks and recovered a fumble in a win over Roosevelt

Stirling Sakashita, Iolani — Had eight tackles and intercepted a pass in a win over Moanalua

Micah Shikada, Iolani — Had three tackles, intercepted two passes and broke-up two others in a win over Moanalua

Esekielu Storer, Lahainaluna — Threw for 202 yards and four touchdowns on 9-of-13 passing without an interception in a win over Roosevelt

Sione Taufa, Kaimuki — Had seven tackles, forced a fumble and recovered a fumble in a loss to Kapaa

Stetson Telles-Kelekoma, Kapaa — Had 7 1/2 tackles, including one TFL, and a pass break-up in a win over Kaimuki

Joshua Tihada, Lahainaluna — Rushed 27 times for 162 yards and a touchdown in a win over Roosevelt

Jamil Vereen, Leilehua — Rushed 18 times for 124 yards in a loss to Hilo

Roman Wilson, Saint Louis — Caught nine passes for 74 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Mililani

Jansen York, Moanalua — Caught 16 passes for 168 yards and a touchdown in a loss to Iolani

Hayden Bayudan, Damien — Scored 16 points in a win over Leilehua

Maka Brede, Hawaiian Mission — Scored 18 points in a win over Friendship Christian

Frank Camacho, McKinley — Scored 22 points in a win over Hawaii Baptist

Jake Holtz, Damien — Scored 19 points in a win over Leilehua

Justin Ishida, Hawaii Baptist — Scored 20 points, including four 3-pointers, in a loss to McKinley

Jordan Ke-A, Leilehua — Scored 16 points in a win over Punahou II

Halelu Kuamoo-Castro, Nanakuli — Scored 20 points, including five 3-pointers, in a win over Castle

Jared Moran, Hawaiian Mission — Scored 20 points in a win over Friendship Christian

Luke Pardini, Kalaheo — Scored 18 points with 11 rebounds, six assists and six steals in a win over Le Jardin and scored 22 points, including four 3-pointers, with eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in a win over Campbell

Nainoa Peters, Kailua — Scored 24 points in a win over Pearl City

Niko Robben, Maryknoll — Scored 18 points in a win over Kaiser

Kanoa Smith, Kalaheo — Scored 17 points with two rebounds, six steals, one assist and one block in a win over Le Jardin

Deltha Viena, Pearl City — Scored 18 points in a loss to Kailua and scored 18 points in a win over Kaimuki

Aloha Akaka, Maryknoll — Scored 18 points in a win over Moanalua

Victoria Canencia, Leilehua — Scored 16 points in a loss to Roosevelt

Mariah Galletes, Leilehua — Scored 19 points in a loss to Kapolei

Destiny Hicks, Nanakuli — Scored 15 points in a win over Kailua

Kaylie Kamark, Castle — Scored 16 points in a win over Waialua and scored 15 points in a loss to Waipahu

Erica Lee, Pearl City — Scored 13 points in a win over Island Pacific

Lyxc Liana, Nanakuli — Scored 15 points in a loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii and scored 13 points in a loss to Kekaulike

Te'Hiwa Medeiros, Sacred Hearts — Scored 16 points with 15 rebounds, four assists and five steals in a win over McKinley

Taelor Mesa, Kapolei — Scored 13 points in a loss to Kekaulike

Dominique Pacheco, Kamehameha-Hawaii — Scored 16 points in a loss to Kamehameha-Maui, scored 18 points in a win over Nanakuli and scored 20 points in a win over Kapolei

Ledjan Pahukoa, Kekaulike — Scored 16 points in a win over Kailua and scored 23 points in a win over Nanakuli

Julien Parado, Campbell — Scored 14 points in a loss to Molokai

Kianna Ponce, Mililani — Scored 22 points in a win over Kalani

Taylor Tateyama, Roosevelt — Scored 17 points in a win over Leilehua and scored 14 points in a win over Kapolei

Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].



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