Nip helps Iolani hold off Saint Louis, 60-57
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Iolani won its 57th consecutive Interscholastic League of Honolulu boys basketball game last night, holding off visiting Saint Louis, 60-57, in the regular-season opener for both teams.
The four-time defending ILH and state champion Raiders (9-6 overall) took a 55-47 lead with 1:04 remaining after two free throws by Vinny Nip, but the Crusaders (5-1) closed to 58-55 with 16 seconds left on Jeremiah Masoli's putback.
Freshman Liloa Nobriga then sealed the game with two free throws with six ticks remaining. Scott Smith's banker at the buzzer accounted for the final margin.
Nobriga, a 6-foot-3 forward, made 13-of-14 free throws — including 9 of 10 in the final period — and finished with 21 points.
"I thought Liloa showed a lot of courage tonight, scoring in the paint and knocking down big free throws at the end," Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said. "You can't ask for much more from a freshman."
The veteran Raiders — having lost only two seniors from last year — needed the big effort from Nobriga and senior guard Nip (23 points) to get past the athletic Crusaders. The teams went into halftime tied 21-21 before Iolani took a 39-33 lead into the fourth period helped by Nip's 11 points, including three consecutive 3-pointers.
His third trey gave the Raiders a 36-27 lead with 3:43 remaining in the period.
"We came out in the second half with the big men setting good screens, and we finally started hitting our shots," said Nip, in his fourth varsity season.
Mugiishi said the Raiders looked to pick up the pace after halftime, in order to create better spacing against the physical Crusaders.
"The first half was more of a grind-it-out tempo, and it's tough to play Saint Louis in that kind of game," Mugiishi said. "I figured if we tried to push the ball more, that would help us get more looks. In our motion offense, we take what is given to us and our guys realized Vinny could get open off those staggered screens.
"But Saint Louis is a good team — we knew we would be in for a dogfight."
The Crusaders proved Mugiishi correct, fighting back despite trailing by as much as nine (51-42) with 2:40 left. Cole Shidaki's jumper with 53 seconds remaining closed it to 55-49, and Masoli made three free throws eight seconds later to make it 56-52.
Masoli scored 16 points to lead Saint Louis, Smith added 13 points and Kulia Aiona contributed 12 points.
"After the first half, I thought we had a good shot at winning," Saint Louis coach Delbert Tengan said. "But in the third quarter, Vinny really gave them a boost and we made some unforced turnovers. They were able to get a little pad on their lead and made us chase. That's what we need to work on — we need to learn to buckle down in the third quarter."
Iolani, which had a 105-game win streak against Hawai'i opponents snapped by Punahou last month, has not lost an ILH game since the 2001 season, when Saint Louis upset the Raiders in the second round. Mugiishi acknowledged that the streak could be in jeopardy given the competitive balance in this year's ILH.
"I don't think the team that wins the championship will be undefeated," Mugiishi said. "That's how good this league is. But it's also what makes it fun."
SAINT LOUIS (0-1) 11 10 18 21 — 57
IOLANI (1-0) 8 13 12 24 — 60
SAINT LOUIS — Jeremiah Masoli 16, Cole Shidaki 12, Cameron Bayne 7, Kulia Aiona 8, Jacob Barit 0, John Quindara 0, Scott Smith 13, Kawika Kekuawela 0, Johua Yuen 1, Kalua Noa 0, Ricksson Pacarro 0, Elliott Purcell, Jr. 0, Jamison Miller 0. Totals 21 11-21 57.
IOLANI — Kela Marciel 0, Vinny Nip 23, Barry Kang 3, Ryan Dung 2, Case Miyahara 0, Taylor Mounts 0, Kekai Kealoha 0, Kawika Shoji 7, Jon Takamura 1, Liloa Nobriga 21, Wally Marciel 2, Kiran Kepo'o 0. Totals 17 22-29 60.
Coach: Mark Mugiishi
3-point goals—Saint Louis 4 (Aiona 2, Bayne, Masoli). Iolani 6 (Nip 4).
PUNAHOU 73, DAMIEN 53
Miah Ostrowski scored 20 points to lead three teammates in double figures as the Buffanblu raced to a 40-24 halftime lead and never looked back in beating the Monarchs.
Keali'i Frank added 16 points, Spencer McLachlin 14 and Danny Cho 12 for Punahou.
Nikko Romauar, Kama Bailey and Mana Mikaele each scored nine points to lead Damien.
DAMIEN (0-1) 13 11 15 14—53
PUNAHOU (1-0) 23 17 23 10—73
DAMIEN—Nikko Romauar 9, Kama Bailey 9, Winnie Gapuz 0, Tony Cerezo 2, Aminis Thompson 5, Haku Correa 2, Kenneth Rossi 2, Mike Sipili 7, Mana Mikaele 9, Sione Tau 0, Duncan Ebert 8. Totals 23 5-10 53.
PUNAHOU—Trenton Zane 0, Jeremiah Ostrowski 20, Dalton Hilliard 0, Ed Wong 0, Danny Cho 12, Brandon Kapana 0, Kyle Whitford 0, Brenton Lee 0, Kimo Makaula 2, Freddie Hart 0, Kameron Steinhoff 9, Ted Hawkins 0, Trevor Krabb 0, Spencer McLachlin 14, Kealii Frank 16. Totals 32 4-10 73.
3-point goals—Damien 2 (Romauar, Bailey). Punahou 5 (Ostrowski 3, Cho 2).
Reported by Steve Lewis
KAMEHAMEHA 58, MID-PACIFIC 39
Jacob Ho scored 15 points and Kanoa Mokiao added 13, leading the Warriors past the Owls.
Trailing 20-19 at halftime, the Warriors used a 19-8 third-quarter to take a 38-28 lead into the final period.
Marcus Holyfield led Mid-Pacific with 10 points.
KAMEHAMEHA (1-0) 7 12 19 20—58
MID-PACIFIC (0-1) 5 15 8 11—39
KAMEHAMEHA—Randy Cummings 0, Jesse Moniz 2, Brandon Ahlo 0, Andrew Godinet 7, Mitchell Kauweloa 4, Jacob Ho 15, Pono Hanson 0, Rykin Enos 8, Conrad Scheidt 1, Jay Kauka 2, Kanoa Mokiao 13, Kea Smith 4, Treston Rego 2. Totals not available.
MID-PACIFIC—S. Won 7, J. Mun 0, M. Holyfield 10, J. Rivera 2, D. Gordon 7, J. Yasui 3, K. Ellsworth 7, T. Hill 3, J. Grant 0, R. Fujimoto 0, S. Pale 0. Totals not available. 3-point goals—Kamehameha 4 (Ho 3, Godinet 1). Mid-Pacific 4 (Won, Gordon, Yasui, Ellsworth).
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.