Historic efforts earn honors

Chase Iwata-Bartelme’s basketball career at King Kekaulike High School has been all about making history. Kaleb Palmer learned about Seabury Hall’s hoops legacy growing up and then added to it.

This season, the rest of the Maui Interscholastic League saw just how much the pair meant to their teams. Iwata-Bartelme is The Maui News MIL Player of the Year for Division I, and Palmer is the choice for Division II.

Iwata-Bartelme, a 6-foot-1 junior, developed from primarily a scorer in his first two years to an all-around performer who averaged 14.1 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 3.3 steals per game last season. He shot 55 percent from 2-point range and 49 percent on 3-pointers.

“It feels good. I want to thank a lot of people, first and foremost my teammates, my coach (Bill Naylor) and my family,” Iwata-Bartelme said. “That is just something that they worked for, too, because I couldn’t have gotten anywhere without them.”

Na Alii have had three of the best seasons in school history with Iwata-Bartelme on the roster. They made their state-tournament debut last year and won the MIL championship for the first time this year.

Iwata-Bartelme was the only nonsenior starter for King Kekaulike, which had eight seniors on the roster altogether. Point guard Jansen Agapay and center Jacob Havron also made the MIL D-I first team.

“I have known a few of them since I was little and most of them since 6th grade,” Iwata-Bartelme said. “It has been a great honor to play with them because they are not only my teammates, but they are really close friends. They are great players and they are going to make it far and I’m just glad to be able to share a team with them.”

The other two D-I first-teamers are Baldwin’s Teva Eldridge and Lahainaluna’s Emil Cariaga.

Iwata-Bartelme was an honorable mention all-state selection by the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Eldridge was the No. 8 pick on the state’s top-15 list after scoring 83 points in four state-tournament games.

Iwata-Bartelme, Agapay and Eldridge were also first-team MIL honorees in 2012. Iwata-Bartelme and Eldridge are the only nonseniors on the first unit this year.

“Teva is a great player and I can’t wait to go against him and Baldwin next season,” Iwata-Bartelme said.

Naylor was named the MIL D-I Coach of the Year.

“My freshman year, I found out he was going to be our coach,” Iwata-Bartelme said. “He is actually more of a mentor than a coach for most of the players. He is not only there as a coach – he helps us with our problems, he has always been there for us and him coming to be our coach really made a difference.”

Palmer’s senior season was his arrival party as he got the chance to make full use of potential that had been in place for his entire career. He played on four MIL title teams, the first with his brother Michael, now a junior on the team at California Lutheran University, and two with Dylan King, currently playing at Regis University in Colorado.

Kaleb Palmer led a Seabury Hall team that started nine different players during the season, five of whom scored 20 points in a game, eight of whom have reached double digits in a game, and five of whom have had 10 rebounds in a game.

Kaleb Palmer vaulted from honorable-mention status a year ago to the best player in the division, averaging 14.6 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists. The 6-4 center also led the team in blocks and steals, according to Spartans coach Louis Turbeville, the MIL D-II Coach of the Year.

“When I was younger, my brother and Dylan were the team leaders,” Kaleb Palmer said. “Last year when they were gone, I tried to do more, but this season I was able to do a lot more.”

Palmer, a four-sport standout for the Spartans, played soccer for the MIL D-II champions at the same time he was leading the basketball team.

“It is my senior year, so I wanted to take advantage of everything,” he said.

Palmer is joined on the D-II first team by teammate Max DeLyon, Molokai’s Paka Adolpho and Oli Falealii and Lanai’s Marcus Koep.

Palmer is now playing baseball for the defending MIL champions, but basketball is his first love.

“I will miss playing basketball here,” he said. “It has been unbelievable.”

Each of the players of the year enjoyed seeing the other’s skills.

“I watched Chase play when I can and he is amazing,” Palmer said. “He does everything on the basketball court.”

Iwata-Bartelme said, “Kaleb really got it going this year and I’m proud of him.”

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com