BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Kamehameha captures crown
|Photo gallery: Kamehameha vs. Kahuku Division I basketball|
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
By Wes Nakama
Kamehameha won its first Hawaiian Airlines/Hawai'i High School Athletic Association Boys Division I Basketball Championship since 1992 last night, rallying past Kahuku, 47-45, before a rock-concert-like crowd of 5,208 at Blaisdell Arena.
Senior Pi'i Minns scored a game-high 20 points, including 10 in the fourth period and the go-ahead basket with 1:22 remaining, as the Warriors finished the regular and postseason with a record of 14-1.
"This means everything, not just for our team and our school, but also for all the Hawaiians out there," said Minns, a 6-foot-3 guard. "It feels so good to take (the title) back to the hill (on Kapalama Heights). It's a privilege and an honor."
Kamehameha survived a 62-57 triple-overtime marathon against Kaimuki in Friday's semifinals, and had to fight through another huge obstacle in Kahuku (19-2).
The Red Raiders led 39-36 after Kona Schwenke's free throw with 5:15 remaining, but Minns eventually tied it 40-40 on a jumper with 2:44 left, and the Warriors took the lead with 2:02 remaining on a layup by Chaz Bajet.
Shairone Thompson tied it again at 42-42 on a layup 20 seconds later, but Minns put Kamehameha ahead for good on a layup with 1:22 left.
After free throws by Bajet and Micah Christenson stretched the lead to 46-42 with 15 seconds left, Irwin Ah-Hoy sank a 3-pointer that danced around the rim and fell in to make it 46-45 with 0:05.2 showing on the clock.
Auwae DeRego was fouled after the ensuing inbounds pass, and made the second of two free throws with 3.8 ticks remaining.
Following an inbounds pass and timeout with 2.5 seconds left, the Red Raiders could only manage a desperation heave from about 35 feet that fell short and off the mark.
"We hung in there, right to the last shot," said Kahuku coach Hiram Akina. "I'm proud of our boys, I love these guys, because they always fight to the end."
The Warriors jumped to a 10-3 lead in the first four-plus minutes, but Kahuku closed to 12-9 by the end of the first period and tied it on Kohl Nauahi's 3-pointer to start the second.
Minns hit a 3-pointer and then a baseline jumper to break a 13-13 tie, and then scored a layup with 2:35 remaining in the half to make it 22-15, which is how it stood at the break.
Kahuku suffered through woeful shooting in the first half, making just 3 of 23 field goals (13 percent), including 1 for 11 from 3-point range.
The Red Raiders managed to stay within reach, though, thanks to 8-of-10 accuracy from the free- throw line.
Kahuku warmed up in the third quarter, as a 3-pointer by Jray Galea'i with 2:12 left cut it to 28-27, and Akina's two free throws a minute later gave the Red Raiders their first lead (29-28) since the game's opening moments.
Blake Viena sank two free throws with 57 seconds remaining to give Kamehameha the lead back at 30-29, but Thompson answered with a short jumper in the lane 30 seconds later to make it 31-30 entering the fourth.
Akina opened the final period with a 3-pointer to stretch the lead to 34-30, and Schwenke matched free throws with Minns to keep Kahuku ahead, 39-36, with 5:15 left.
But Minns started a 10-3 run on a layup with 3:42 remaining, and then tied it at 40 on a 12-foot jumper from the left side of the lane with 2:44 left.
He later gave the Warriors the lead for good at 44-42 with 1:22 remaining.
"We gave Pi'i the ball at the end and told him to take over," Kamehameha coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "He came through for us."
Minns said he and the Warriors still had plenty of energy even after Friday night's triple-overtime thriller, a game in which he struggled with foul trouble and scored only seven points, well below his average.
"Last night was a true character test, and we felt if we got through that, we could get through anything," Minns said. "I felt I had to take over (in last night's fourth quarter), because everybody else was doing their part. I couldn't ask anything more from them, and I wanted to finish my career with no regrets."
Christenson, a 6-5 sophomore, added 11 points, five rebounds, three blocks and two steals.
"I'm so proud of the boys, they're so resilient," said Nakanishi, who was a junior on the Warriors' 1994 state runner-up team, the last one from Kamehameha to reach the final until last night. "I'm so happy for everybody because this team showed what hard work can do. Nothing is easy, but if you put in the work, things like this can happen."
'IOLANI 53, KAIMUKI 50
Pablo Warner scored 16 points, and the Raiders took control in the fourth quarter. With the score tied at 38 and 7:39 to play, 'Iolani went on a 6-0 run and never trailed thereafter. Desmond Tautofi led the Bulldogs with 18 points.
'IOLANI (13-3) 9 14 13 17 — 53
KAIMUKI (15-7) 13 12 11 14 — 50
'IOLANI — Kela Marciel 9, Ammon Baldomera 0, Andrew Skalman 0, Reid Saito 8, Jarrett Arakawa 2, John Foy 0, Kainoa Chu 12, Evan Sukita 0, Brandon Ball 0, Kainoa Scheer 2, Nicholas Christman 2, Gabriel Vega 0, Josiah Sukumaran 0, Adam Ching 2, Jourdan Simmonds 0, Pablo Warner 16, Seali'i Epenesa 0. Totals 20 12-14 53. KAIMUKI — Tevin Nishiyama 0, Rafael Vares 0, David Taulung 11, Gabriel Stietzel 6, Jason Nutter 6, Ryan Kakitani 9, Clay Montiho 0, Elijah Morita-Dudoit 0, Chad Kaaihue 0, Dayton Ortiz 0, Desmond Tautofi 18, Kelly Tobin 0, John Vave 0, Mason Kualii-Moe 0. Totals 17 10-14 50.
3-point goals: 'Iolani 1 (Warner). Kaimuki 6 (Stietzel 2, Nutter 2, Kakitani, Taulung).
PUNAHOU 51, KALAHEO 28
The Buffanblu outscored the Mustangs 21-5 in the second quarter to break a 10-all tie en route to a fifth-place finish in the Division I tournament. Matthew Feldman led Punahou with nine points, while Matt Gasparine-Young led Kalaheo with eight points.
PUNAHOU (12-7) 10 21 10 10 — 51
KALAHEO (14-8) 10 5 4 9 — 28
PUNAHOU — Dalton Hilliard 4, Robert Toma 0, Shane Yoshiyama 3, Sean McFadden 0, Henry Cassiday 5, Kimo Makaula 5, Manti Te'o 8, Malik Johnson 7, James Dowsett 1, Matthew Feldman 9, Casey Shibuya 2, Joshua Taylor 2, DeForest Buckner 5. Totals 21 7-13 51.
KALAHEO — Dwayne Mitchell 3, Kevin Leong 0, Richard Haynes 5, Zack Lovelace 0, John Bascuk 0, Christian Kepa 0, Kona Makaula 2, Shane Hipa 2, Shawn Hipa 0, Aaron Fernandez 6, Matt Gasparine-Young 8, Carlos Craig 0. Quincy Mason 2. Totals 10 6-9 28.
3-point goals: Punahou 2 (Feldman, Johnson). Kalaheo 2 (Mitchell, Fernandez).
Reach Wes Nakama at firstname.lastname@example.org.