One Team, One Goal


Shoncin Revuelto, Staff Writer

When selecting your pick for the Hawaii High School Basketball State Championship, don’t count out the men of Kalaepōhaku. The Saint Louis Crusaders are a force to be reckoned with in this year’s basketball season. Although the team has not won  a state championship since 1986, this Crusaders team is more determined to achieve “championship status.” 

 The Crusaders are looking to rebuild this year, and with every great team, there is a great coach. In 2019, Saint Louis School hired former Punahou standout-player, Dan Hale. Hale’s athletic resume also includes his time at the University of Hawaii. As a former Punahou alum, Hale decided to return to coach the Buff n’ Blue, then relocated to Virginia and was honored as “Conference Coach of the Year five Times (and) Region Coach of the Year, (Virginia)” Hale explained.

It was Hale’s return from Virginia to Hawaii that gave him the opportunity to coach at Saint Louis School. “I saw it as a great opportunity to build a program to compete at the highest levels of the state competition,” says Hale. “I also had many friends who went to Saint Louis growing up, and I always admired the bond they had with their Saint Louis brothers.”

However, a team is more than just a coach. The Crusaders return several key veterans, including Aiva Arquette and Aj Bianco. Also, transferring from Damien School, Hayden Bayudan, an outstanding Point Guard, is a senior and has been playing Varsity basketball since he was a freshman. “I came to Saint Louis to mature and grow into a young man,” explains Bayudan.  “Being around other people with the same goal as me in terms of pursuing their passion for playing at the next level.” “I felt it was important for me to be in that atmosphere and be able to learn and develop good habits with those with the passion as me. I am also able to focus on becoming a better student as it’s an all-boys school.” Instead, I could focus on evolving into a better student and putting work into my school work,” Bayudan explains.  

Senior returnee, Aiva Arquette, feels like this team doesn’t compare to the past teams he has been on. Arquette said that “This year’s team is a lot closer. The team chemistry is way better than past teams because everyone knows who everyone is. In the past, our other teams would have their own groups which would separate the team instead of us being one team. We as a team know when to joke around and know when to be serious. We have great practices because we all have one common goal which is to win a state championship. There is nothing that is going to stop us this year only we can stop each other.”

This year will be Hale’s third year coaching and he thinks that his team can be competitive this year. “This is my 3rd year here and each team I have coached has been very different. My first-year guys were committed and worked very hard to learn my system. We were very competitive and were consistently ranked in the top of the state. My 2nd-year Covid forced the cancelation of the ILH season, but with the support from our president and administration, we put together our own league against the best club teams in Hawaii as well as Punahou. That team went 13-0 against the competition and I believe was the best team in the state. In this 3rd year, I have a number of players who have been with me since I arrived. Additionally, we had an all-state player transfer back to us for his senior year. We won our Summer league and just won our fall league so we should be very competitive. The ultimate goal this year would be to maximize our talent and be the best team we can possibly be” Hale explained.

The Saint Louis Crusaders all have the same ultimate goal which is to win a state championship. Arquette finished with “To win a state championship for basketball. “The ultimate goal for me will have to be valued every moment I can with my brothers. Coming off Covid puts things in perspective that anything can be taken away from us at any given time. The main focus is to enjoy and appreciate this season. As a team, we will win the ILH crown and the State Championship” Bayudan explained. 

The Crusaders have the mindset and the goals to win a state championship. In the end, there is nothing stopping the Crusaders from chasing one ultimate goal which is that state championship and bringing it back to the slopes of Kalepohaku.