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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Thrillers made for classic Iolani tourney

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Fairfax's Kevin Bell tries to draw a foul from Iolani's Derrick Low during last week's Iolani Classic, which featured one of its strongest fields. Fairfax (Los Angeles), ranked No. 17 in the nation by USA Today, whipped state defending champion Iolani, 58-40, Thursday and beat Franklin (Seattle), 63-56 in overtime, for the title.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

The 18 previous Iolani Prep Basketball Classics included players like Dennis Scott, Bobby Hurley, Sam Cassell, Jerry Stackhouse and Jacque Vaughn.

"But as far as the quality of the games," tournament director Glenn Young said, "this one was the best we've had."

Young, who started the nationally renowned tournament in 1983, was like the hundreds of fans who left Iolani gym last Friday and Saturday nights still talking about the exciting action in the semifinals and finals.

Friday night's semifinal between No. 2-ranked Miami (Fla.) Christian and Franklin (Seattle) featured buzzer-beating shots ending both regulation time and the first overtime.

Franklin won 103-90 in double-overtime, but only after Miami Chistian's Guillermo Diaz banked in a 3-pointer at the end of regulation and Franklin's Ricky Washington sank a fadaway 2-pointer to force the second overtime.

In the other semifinal, No. 17 Fairfax (Los Angeles) held off No. 14 Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.), 40-39. And in the championship game Saturday, Fairfax twice overcame 10-point deficits in regulation and defeated Franklin 63-56 in overtime despite 18 points, four steals, five rebounds and two assists from Franklin's quicksilver guard, Aaron Brooks.

It was the second straight Classic title for the Lions, who have made seven tournament appearances starting in 1988 (with future NBA player Chris Mills). It was the Classic debut for Franklin, regarded as one of the top programs in Washington.

"This is a great tournament," Quakers coach Jason Kerr said. "It's well-organized, with good accommodations and great teams."

Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said he and Young probably will wait until late January before discussing the field for the 2003 Classic. Hawai'i teams usually receive their invitations by summer.

More basketball: The Punahou Holiday Classic will feature 16 teams competing Thursday through Sunday at the school's Hemmeter Field House.

Participating teams include two from Orange County, Calif. — Fullerton and Fairmont Prep.

"We won't have the big Mainland powers like the Iolani tournament, but we're happy to have two of the top O'ahu teams in Kalaheo and Kaimuki, plus Kea'au — which is an up-and-coming team on the Big Island," Punahou coach Greg Tacon said. "It's also a chance to get some of the smaller schools involved and give them a chance to play in a big tournament."


Punahou beats Kamehameha: Satoshi Mitsuda scored two goals and Stephen Carlson and Callum Trigg-Smith each added one to lead visiting Punahou to a 4-1 victory over Kamehameha yesterday in a showdown of Interscholastic League of Honolulu leaders.

The Buffanblu are 5-0. Brandon Tario scored for the Warriors (4-1).