The Hawaii High School Athletic Association tipped off the 2017 Snapple Boys Basketball State Championships Monday, Feb. 13, with a new format in the Division I bracket.
League runner-ups have the benefit of home-court advantage for the first round in a do-or-die situation. The winners move on to the remaining three-day tournament on Oahu, while the losers end their bid for the state title.
Three of four home teams won in the opening round with Leilehua posting the only upset, having beaten Kapolei in overtime.
Top-seeded Kahuku (14-0) is making its 28th Division-I appearance in the HHSAA Boy’s Basketball Championship Tournament, but its first ever as the No. 1 seed. The Red Raiders have never claimed a state title, and have finished second on three occasions (2005,2009,2012). But Kahuku has its eye on the prize behind a trio of players averaging double digits per game and a stifling defense.
No. 2 seeded Punahou (11-3) is making its 42nd state tournament appearance and has played more games than any other team (137) and a 71% win percentage (90-47). The Buffanblu have the second-most state titles (10) and the most runner-up finishes (10).
No. 3 and MIL champ Lahainaluna is making its 22nd appearance, coming into the tournament with an unblemished 14-0 record. While the Lunas traditionally have not done well in the Division I tournament (0.191), this season they went 6-0 in non-league play outscoring OIA, ILH and BIIF opponents, 338-217.