Boys basketball bank a banner

Joshua Ellis, Reporter

James Campbell High School’s boys basketball has remained under the radar and has not won a banner in school history. Their last go for the championship was in 2014. In spite of that, Campbellʻs 2022-2023 roster has a different look on their usual outcome from the previous years standing with a 9-1 record to end the season and being ranked second seed in the West. 

“ We have all the tools, the talent, and the hard work to get us there. We haven’t had the chance like this since 2016 when we were in states,” Wyatt Tau said, head coach for Campbell’s Varsity Boys Basketball.

In the 2021-2022 season, Campbell ended their season with a 6-4 record and went 1-2 in their playoffs for States (Hawaii High School Athletic Association  – State Tournament). The team was composed of seven seniors who later graduated which gave the upcoming seven juniors and seven seniors a chance to beat their last record.

“This year’s (2022-2023) team is different from last year because of the strong built bond made throughout the year, and we trust each other and have each others backs,” Rondell Blenman said, varsity returnee.

On January 27, Campbell played their first playoff game against Moanalua High School at home for the chance to move towards semi-finals where they’ll either challenge Kailua or Kapolei depending on which of those teams win in their own matchup. “We bond with each other really well, no matter if we win or lose, the bus ride back home is always in a good positive mood,” said Dacuycuy.

Everything will go down to the bone, Campbell either makes it or falls just short or a first time banner.

Advancing towards the championship game, Campbell has worked their way to beat Moanalua in quarter-finals and Kailua in semi-finals. Facing in the championship game for the D1 OIA Title will be Campbell and Mililani (2021-2022 OIA Champs). Mililani has remained undefeated, closest game being against Campbell with a six point win of 58-52. Campbells leading scorer Rondell Blenman-Villarreal will be returning back to face Mililani after struggling through a late game ankle injury against Moanalua. “We were gonna suit him up just to warm-up today (Kailua game), but we said, nah, rest another day, so he’ll go through treatment with our trainers (Tuesday) and then we go from there,” Tau said. 

Campbell against Mililani was heated all throughout the game, going back and forth trading buckets. The game was relatively close the whole time until the third quarter, Mililani were up by ten points which was the biggest lead of the game but Campbell was able to fight back and tie the game 42-42 at the end of the fourth quarter. Going into overtime with four minutes, both teams were fighting hard each possession but fortunately,  Campbell was able to outscore Mililani 50-45 and win their first OIA (Oahu Interscholastic Association) Championship in Campbell history. “In over 50 years, this is the third time that we ever went to the OIA championship. Finally,” Tau said. Over the past 5 years, Campbell hasn’t beaten Mililani til that day. Moving on to the next thing, the Campbell Sabers go into states with a first round bye challenging Kahuku.

Campbell made their way past the quarterfinals beating Kahuku 43-40 and semi-finals after two overtimes with the score of 46-38. Campbell went against #1 team in the state, Saint Louis at the Stan Sheriff Center and lost 39-41. Players of the game being Miles Hornage of Campbell and Pupualii Sepulona.