Saint Louis gets top seed, Leilehua second seed in state basketball

Feb. 17—For a third year in a row, ILH champion Saint Louis is the top seed in the Heide & Cook /HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships.

For a third year in a row, ILH champion Saint Louis is the top seed in the Heide & Cook /HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships.

Saint Louis (24-5 ) is the two-time defending state champion.

The four seeded teams, all league champions, have opening-round byes. OIA champion Leilehua (22-4 ) earned the second seed. BIIF champion Kamehameha-Hawaii (17-3 ) is the third seed and MIL champion Baldwin (14-6 ) is the fourth seed. Seeded teams do not play until the quarterfinal round on Thursday.

The opening round is on Monday, with intriguing matchups. Among them is Mililani (21-5 ) and Kalaheo (19-13 ). Mililani was undefeated in OIA play until losing to Leilehua in the title game on Wednesday.

As the OIA's second-place team, Mililani is designated to play the league's sixth-place team, Kalaheo. The teams met in a preseason battle at Mililani. The Trojans pulled away in the final quarter for a 73-62 win.

The Kalaheo-Mililani winner will play Baldwin.

Former No. 1 team Punahou (20-6 ) is unseeded after losing to Saint Louis in the ILH title game. The Buffanblu get to host their matchup with Kailua (21-5 ), a team that was in the Top 4 for most of the regular season. Kailua beat Maryknoll in preseason when the Spartans were at No. 1.

The Punahou-Kailua winner meets Kamehameha-Hawaii in the quarterfinals.

Nanakuli's third-place finish in the OIA was rewarded with a trip to the Big Island. The Golden Hawks (18-11 ), playing in the D-I state tourney for the first time in 47 years, will play at BIIF runner-up Hilo (13-4 ) on Monday.

The Nanakuli-Hilo winner will play Saint Louis on Thursday.

Kahuku (20-5 ), which finished the regular season tied in first place with Kalaheo and Kailua in the OIA East, will travel to play Kamehameha-Maui (9-11 ) on Monday.

The Kamehameha-Maui /Kahuku winner will meet Leilehua.

The pairings generally mirror the setup of the 2023 state tourney. The biggest difference is that the third seed this year is from the BIIF (KS-Hawaii ) instead of the MIL. That means BIIF runner-up Hilo is in the 1-4 sub-bracket, aligned with Saint Louis and Baldwin.

Mililani's matchup with an OIA sixth-place team is interesting in more ways than one. Last year, the Trojans lost to Campbell in the OIA final, finished second, then lost to OIA sixth-place team Moanalua, 60-56, at the Trojans' gym in the state tourney.

By finishing fifth in the OIA again, Kahuku travels off-island and is in position to play the OIA champ (Leilehua ) on Thursday with a win on Monday. This is Kahuku's third-straight opening-round off-island trip.