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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Friday, February 27, 2004

Top-ranked Iolani pulls away from Kaimuki in second half

 •  Mililani, Punahou, Kalaheo, Iolani advance to semifinals
 •  Kalaheo holds off Kamehameha

By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer

Iolani's Todd Blankenship puts up a scoop shot while being closely guarded by Kaimuki's Tony Fa'asoa in their quarter final game last night at Blaisdell Arena. Iolani won, 63-41, to advance to the semifinals.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Shaking off 14 days of rust, the Iolani School boys basketball team needed one half to find its fast rhythm last night and then raced past Kaimuki, 63-41, in the Hawaiian Airlines state quarterfinals before a crowd of 2,074 at Blaisdell Arena.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion and No. 1 seed Raiders (15-0) will play O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Mililani (14-1) at 7 in tonight's semifinals. OIA champ and No. 2 seed Kalaheo (14-1) will play ILH runner-up Punahou (14-2) in the other semifinal at 8:30.

Last night's victory was the Raiders' 70th straight against a Hawai'i opponent, but they did not take control until midway through the third period. That's when Iolani guard Ryan Hirata drained back-to-back 27-foot 3-pointers to spark a 10-0 run to stretch the Raiders' lead to 43-29.

The Bulldogs (12-5) finally broke the spell with Jimmy Miyasaka's 3-pointer with 4:05 remaining in the quarter, but they never got closer than 11 points the rest of the way.

"When Hirata hit those bombs, it really hurt us," Kaimuki coach Stephen Lee said. "And after they started picking up full-court pressure, I think we got winded and started making a lot of mistakes."

Hirata finished with a game-high 16 points, Kyle Pape added 15 points and point guard Derrick Low finished with 12 points — including eight in the first period — and five assists.

Iolani built a 25-16 lead midway through the second period but Miyasaka closed it to 25-21 with two free throws with 2:21 left.

The Raiders then stepped up the pace to their liking and Pape's 3-pointer with 39 seconds remaining gave them a 30-23 lead at the half.

Hirata stole the inbounds pass to begin the second half and sank a free throw after being fouled, signifying Iolani's renewed energy.

"I think in the last four minutes of the first half, we finally started to pick it up," said Raiders coach Mark Mugiishi, noting their previous game was the ILH finale on Feb. 12. "I think a little bit (of the slow start) was being nervous. Playing this first game after the long layoff is always a bit of a disadvantage. But with this team, our defensive intensity helps us get into our up-tempo game, and (at halftime) I told the guys to remember how they played in the last four minutes and carry that over into the second half. A guy like Jon Yasuda (four rebounds, three steals off the bench) probably gave us 7-8 extra possessions just by grabbing rebounds or going to the floor for steals."

Iolani also limited Miyasaka and Nick Milan, the Bulldogs' top two scorers, to 10 and eight points, respectively.

"We put Kyle and Jon on Jimmy, and they've been shutting down scorers all year long," Mugiishi said. "Against Milan, he's very agile and quick for his size (6 feet 3) so we went with shorter but quicker guys — Sean Carney and Todd Blankenship — on him."

Lee said the Raiders' team defense proved suffocating in the end.

"Our game plan was to attack their defense and look for the openings on the backside, and it worked in the first half," Lee said. "But we don't have a lot of depth, and eventually their intensity got to us."

  • Kaimuki (12-5) 14 9 9 9—41
  • Iolani (16-0) 19 11 17 16—63

Kaimuki—Davey Nguyen 0-0 0-0 0, Kekoa Onaga 1-8 6-6 8, Dexter Tautofi 2-4 0-0 4, Isaiah Ano 0-0 0-0 0, Jimmy Miyasaka 2-12 5-6 10, Reginal Palfrey 0-0 0-0 0, Keanu Lockwood 0-0 0-0 0, Tony Fa'asoa 4-5 3-5 11, Nick Milan 4-7 0-0 8. Totals 13-36 14-17 41.

Iolani—Ryan Hirata 4-10 5-8 16, Vinny Nip 1-1 0-0 3 , Todd Blankenship 4-8 2-2 10, Jon Yasuda 1-2 0-0 3, Derrick Low 5-8 1-1 12, Jon Takamura 1-1 0-0 2, Zach Tollefson 0-4 0-1 0, Kawika Shoji 0-1 0-0 0, Kyle Pape 5-114-5 15, Barry Kang 0-1 0-0 0, Sean Carney 1-2 0-0 2, Wes Eberlin 0-0 0-0 0, Brandon Young 0-1 0-0 0, James Street 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 22-51 12-17 63.

3-point goals—Kaimuki 1-7 (Miyasaka 1-4, Onaga 0-2, Milan 0-1). Iolani 7-16 (Hirata 3-6, Nip 1-1, Yasuda 1-1, Pape 1-3, Low 1-3, Tollefson 0-1, Shoji 0-1).

Reach Wes Nakama at wnakama@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2456.