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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kahuku eliminates Baldwin

State basketball photo gallery
 •  Shoji helps No. 1 Iolani pull away from Kalaheo
 •  Kaimuki's post play throttles Campbell
 •  Kamehameha reaches semifinals

By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer

Kahuku's Kevin Unga soared above Baldwin's Jordan Helle in last night state tournament quarterffinal.

REBECCA BREYER | The Honolulu Advertiser

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Devin Unga hit a clutch free throw and made a key steal as Kahuku defeated No. 4 Baldwin, 50-46, in overtime last night in a Hawaiian Airlines/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Tournament quarterfinal.

O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Kahuku (12-2) won its second consecutive overtime game and advanced to the semifinals against Iolani at the Stan Sheriff tonight at 8. Iolani beat Kalaheo, 59-38.

At Radford High's James Alegre Gymnasium, the Red Raiders the defending state runner-up wouldn't be denied against Maui Interscholastic League champion Baldwin (11-2).

"I just thought defense was the key," Unga said. "We lost to these guys earlier in the preseason, and we thought this was our only chance. If we lose, we're out. We had to play big."

In the four-minute overtime with the score tied at 44, Unga hit the go-ahead free throw with 2:23 remaining, and made a steal and was fouled on a layup attempt with 1 minute remaining. He made both foul shots for a 47-44 lead.

"I wasn't thinking about anything but getting them in," Unga said of his free throws. He finished with five points, including 3 of 7 free throws in overtime.

Baldwin committed two consecutive turnovers, and then fouled Junior Ale, who made one of two free throws for a 48-44 lead with 25.6 seconds remaining.

"I think it was some jitters, we just couldn't hold on to the ball," said Baldwin's Matt Heyd, who finished with a game-high 19 points.

A putback by Chase Nakamura cut Baldwin's deficit to 48-46 with 6.2 seconds, and the Bears fouled Ale on the ensuing inbounds play. Ale made both foul shots for a 50-46 lead, and he then intercepted the Bears' inbounds pass to end the game.

"We played our heart out there," Heyd said. "But it's a good learning experience. We've got a lot of young guys. We can build on that next year at states."

With the score tied at 23 in the third quarter, Heyd scored 12 consecutive points for his team during a 12-8 run for a 35-31 Baldwin lead. He had two 3-point baskets during the surge.

The Bears took a 37-34 fourth-quarter lead on Nakamura's turnaround jumper in the lane, but the Red Raiders used a 7-1 run led by Shiloah Te'o's five points for a 41-38 lead with 4:28 remaining.

After Heyd hit a basket and sank a pair of free throws, Kahuku went ahead 44-42 on Te'o's 3-pointer with 2:46 remaining.

Baldwin came right back and tied the score at 44 on John Salmo's 15-foot jumper.

Kahuku had a chance to win the game in regulation, but Te'o's last-second shot from the left baseline under heavy pressure was off the mark.

Ale, who scored a game-high 34 points in a 67-63 overtime victory over Honoka'a in a first-round game on Tuesday, finished with a team-high 16 points.

Reach Brandon Masuoka at bmasuoka@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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