Kamehameha bounces back to defeat Lahainaluna, 51-49
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By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Jacob Ho banked in an 8-foot putback with three seconds remaining to lift Interscholastic League of Honolulu runner-up Kamehameha to a 51-49 victory over Lahainaluna in the first round of the Hawaiian Airlines/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association tournament.
The Warriors advance to play their sister school from the Big Island, No. 3 seed Kamehameha-Hawai'i, in today's 6 p.m. quarterfinal at McKinley's Student Council Gym.
The game will be televised live statewide on OC-16.
Last night at McKinley, Kamehameha (11-3) survived despite trailing Maui Interscholastic League runner-up Lahainaluna 16-7 after the first period. The Warriors came back to take a 33-30 halftime lead, but the Lunas (7-6) hung tough and never trailed by more than four in the second half.
"We didn't know too much about them before the game," said Ho, who finished with 11 points and two steals. "But we quickly found out they could shoot and they could play. We were on a (three-game) losing streak, and I think we forgot how to win."
Lahainaluna, which started league play 0-2 and finished the regular season 4-5 before winning the MIL's postseason tournament, stayed in the game by sinking 9 of 12 shots from 3-point range. Julio Arvizu, Paul Salvador and Mau Ah Hee each made three 3-pointers in the first three periods.
"They were hitting 3s, and then they were giving us a different zone look on defense which gave us some problems," Kamehameha coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "We rely on our defense to get our offense going by making steals or blocks or getting rebounds, but when they make their outside shots it kind of slows things down. But give them credit — they played and coached a great game, and they're in the state tournament for a reason."
The Lunas tied it at 49 on Saia Taufa's putback with 57 seconds left, and the Warriors worked the clock down for the last shot. After Rykin Enos drove the lane and missed a short shot, Ho grabbed the rebound on the right side and quickly banked it in.
Lahainaluna called timeout and then tried a three-quarter court pass, but Enos intercepted it.
"We wanted to tip (Enos' shot) out, but they got to it quicker than we did," Lunas coach Eric Balinbin said. "On the inbounds pass, we wanted to get a 3-pointer or a foul, and we wanted to get it downcourt quickly so we have time to catch it, shoot or drive. Our kids can play and I liked our chances until the end, but we were a little disorganized at times and Kamehameha took advantage of that."
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.