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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, December 22, 2006

'Iolani bounced in Classic semifinal

'Iolani vs. LeFlore photo gallery

By Kyle Sakamoto
Advertiser Staff Writer

'Iolani's Pablo Warner dribbles against LeFlore's Zack Winton in the first quarter last night in the 'Iolani Prep Classic semifinal. LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) beat 'Iolani, 58-27, and advanced to play Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) for the title at 8 tonight.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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'Iolani's Liloa Nobriga squeezes between LeFlore defenders Demario James, left, and Melvin Paynes in the fourth quarter.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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It's not very often the 'Iolani boys basketball team gets manhandled.

But the Raiders also hardly ever face a team the quality of LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.), ranked No. 11 in USA Today's Super 25 rankings.

The Rattlers were simply bigger, quicker and more aggressive as they routed 'Iolani, 58-27, last night in the semifinals of the 'Iolani Prep Classic.

LeFlore will play Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) in the final tonight at 8.

This one was decided in the first half as LeFlore got to the rim at will and its full-court press overwhelmed 'Iolani, the five-time defending state champion. The Rattlers led 16-5 after the first quarter and 36-9 at halftime.

"They are so athletic and quick and long," 'Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said. "They play at a tempo where you can't change what they're doing."

The Rattlers finished 26 of 52 from the field with most of their points coming on point-blank attempts. They also forced 20 turnovers.

"These kids are a really close-knit group, they love each other," LeFlore coach Otis Hughley said. "They fight for each other out there and that's something you can't coach. You can only hope and pray for it."

Chris Blake, the No. 2 ranked player in Alabama, and Nick Williams each finished with 18 points for LeFlore. Derrick Young added 14.

"They know if they defend there is a chance they'll get the ball. That's why there's three or four people every game in double-figures," Hughley said.

'Iolani finished 7 of 36 from the field, including 2 of 14 on 3-point attempts.

"Their internal clocks were off. I definitely think we were disrupted," Mugiishi said. "The way they close out and rotate, even if you are open you don't feel like you are. That always makes it harder on your shot."

The Rattlers, who started players between 6 foot 4 and 6-7, dominated the boards and scored repeatedly in transition. The Raiders started one player taller than 6-2.

Blake's most spectacular field goal came in the third quarter when he stole the ball near half court, cupped the ball in his right hand as he approached the basket and slammed it with an 'Iolani player bearing down on him. The play put LeFlore up 43-13 midway through the quarter. The lead reached 55-18 early in the fourth quarter.

"Chris Blake is a special kid. He's the only kid I've had for four years," Hughley said.

In the first quarter, Blake and Young alternated scoring on drives to the basket as each finished with eight points.

LeFlore hit 17 of 30 field-goal attempts in the first half. 'Iolani was 2 of 18, including 0 of 7 in the second quarter, when it was outscored 20-4. The Raiders also hit only 1 of 9 3-point attempts and committed 11 turnovers in the half.

LEFLORE 16 20 12 1058

'IOLANI 5 4 9 927

LEFLORE Christopher Blake 18, Jamrion Leashore 0, Montrez McCants 0, Derrick Young 14, Joshua Wesley 0, Zack Lucas 2, Akeem Seltzer 0, Jeremiah Hughley 0, Jelani Figures 4, Zack Winston 1, Nick Williams 18, Demario James 1, Jeremy Bush 0, Marcus McCants 0, Melvin Payne 0. Totals 26 4-6 58.

'IOLANI Kela Marciel 2, Andrew Skalman 0, Nick Christman 0, Ryan Dung 5, Case Miyahira 3, Liloa Nobriga 7, Lionel Fujioka 2, Berton Wong 2, Brandon Ball 2, Bricen McCartney 0, Pablo Warner 4. Totals 8 9-13 27.

3-point goals LeFlore 2 (Williams 2). 'Iolani 2 (Dung, Miyahira).

ROMAN CATHOLIC 55, VINCENT 30

Roman Catholic (Philadelphia) turned a close game into a rout by scoring the final 24 points in a victory over Vincent (Milwaukee) in the semifinals of the 'Iolani Prep Classic.

The surge began when Will Kirkland scored on a tip-in with 2:28 left in the third period. It ended when Brian Wanamaker hit a free throw with 11 seconds left in the game.

Kirkland scored eight of his 10 points during the run and Courtney Stanley added six.

Roman Catholic plays LeFlore (Mobile, Ala.) in the final at 8 tonight.

The Cahillites hit 8 of 10 field-goal attempts in the fourth period, while the Vikings went 0 of 8.

Bradley Wanamaker scored 13 points and Maalik Wayns added 10 for Roman Catholic.

Roman Catholic surged to an 11-3 lead with three minutes remaining in the first quarter behind seven points from Bradley Wanamaker.

Vincent answered with a 14-0 run to take a 17-11 lead two minutes into the second quarter. Marvin Fitzgerald and Dominque Sharp each scored four points during the rally.

There were three lead changes in the final 1:26, and a steal and layup by Brian Wanamaker as time expired made it 24-21 Cahillites at halftime.

VINCENT 10 11 9 030

Reach Kyle Sakamoto at ksakamoto@honoluluadvertiser.com.