Iolani's super-subs spark 54-41 title-game victory
|||'One team' delivers Iolani 5th title in row|
By Brandon Masuoka
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Brandon Masuoka
Iolani proved there's no substitute for solid reserve players in winning its fifth consecutive Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball Championship last night.
A Stan Sheriff Center crowd of 5,437 watched as the Raiders' role players took starring roles by sparking a key first-half surge in the 54-41 victory over Kaimuki.
With its starters struggling early, Iolani fell behind 4-0, before its reserves contributed 11 points during a 15-0 run that spanned the first and second quarters to take a 15-4 lead.
"The first team came out a little flat," said Iolani's Kawika Shoji, the tournament's most outstanding player. "The second team stepped right in and held their own. They scored and got us the momentum. They did a great job tonight."
During the 15-0 surge reserves Case Miyahira sank two 3-pointers, Kekai Kealoha had one 3-pointer and Liloa Nobriga added a basket.
"I saw open looks, so I just took the shots," Miyahira said. "I knew that Kaimuki was a good team, and they could pound it inside and score. So I knew that I had to make those shots. They were crucial."
Iolani's 10 reserve players finished with a combined 16 points, five assists and eight rebounds.
"That's Iolani basketball," Iolani reserve guard Ryan Dung said. "We're one team. The team doesn't click without everybody coming together."
Miyahira and Nobriga had six points each. Nobriga also had four rebounds and two assists.
"The reserve players have been important all year long," Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said. "They actually have a lot of shooters on that squad, so when they're clicking, they bring a spark to us.
"All year, it's been one unit or the other that has always picked up the other one," Mugiishi continued. "That's been part of our success, that why we've been able to play an uptempo game because we don't lose a lot when we substitute."
Moreover, the Raiders will return seven players from this year's championship team — freshman guard Kela Marciel, junior guard Dung, junior guard Miyahira, sophomore forward Taylor Mounts, sophomore guard Berton Wong, freshman forward Brandon Ball and freshman forward Nobriga.
"Playing our second five, and having no seniors on that second five, it's a great experience for everyone," said Dung, who finished with a team-high three assists. "Everyone knows what it takes to get back here. That's our goal to get back here and win another one."
Iolani will lose eight seniors, including Shoji and sharpshooting guard Vinny Nip. Shoji finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists, while Nip finished with 11 points, three rebounds and one assist last night.
"This was a heck of a game," said Kaimuki's Keone Reyes, who finished with a game-high 18 points. "We put up a fight, they put up a fight, but they were the better team tonight."
Reach Brandon Masuoka at firstname.lastname@example.org.