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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 24, 2005

Kalaheo turns aside Kaua'i

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Basketball photo gallery

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kalaheo has improved a lot since late December.

In an all-too rare moment for Kaua'i's pressure defense, Josh Bradbury steals the ball from Kalaheo's Chris Tumaneng.

Eugene Tanner • The Honolulu Advertiser

Case in point: The Mustangs beat Kaua'i, 66-53, yesterday in the first round of the HHSAA/Hawaiian Airlines Boys State Basketball Championship at Blaisdell Arena.

In a preseason game two months ago, Kaua'i beat Kalaheo by 23 points.

Last night, David Moore scored 14 points, including 10 of 10 from the free-throw line, and Tyler Caswell added 13 points for the Mustangs, who shot 23 of 44 from the field.

"Offensively, we just shot the ball well, got a lot of stuff to the bucket," Kalaheo coach Chico Furtado said.

Kaua'i, the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation champion, went with a full-court press, which Kalaheo (12-3) repeatedly broke to score easy baskets.

"That's the key to handling pressure, you have to make them pay on the back end so that pressure slows down a little bit," Furtado said.

Kalaheo, the O'ahu Interscholastic Association's third-place team, will play top seed Iolani (14-0) of the Interscholastic League of Honolulu in the quarterfinals tonight at 7:30.

"Today our theme was 32 minutes to Iolani and every quarter was like, OK, 24 minutes, 16 and we worked our way down to now we got them," Furtado said.

Furtado said a key this time around against Kaua'i (8-1) was getting production from the 6-foot-5 Caswell.

"The last time we played them we didn't get our big guy involved at all," Furtado said. "He's a sophomore ... preseason ... Iolani Classic ... he wasn't ready. Tonight he showed he was ready."

Over the first three quarters, the Mustangs shot 14 of 22 from the field.

"We're making no excuses," Kaua'i coach Brandon Fujita said. "We got outplayed tonight. They shot the ball better than us tonight and for that reason they're the better team tonight."

Kalaheo took its largest lead at 47-33 on a 3-pointer by Jason Tanaka with four seconds left in the third quarter.

Kaua'i got as close as 53-47 with two minutes left after back-to-back 3-pointers by Josh Bradbury and 6-8 center Va'afuti Tavana, but the Mustangs hit 8 of 8 free throws in the final 1:19 to seal it.

As for his team's improvement since the preseason, Furtado said: "The kids started to believe in what we were trying to do. They started to trust each other and we settled into a rotation and that's a lot of it."

Reach Kyle Sakamoto at ksakamoto@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8041.