Punahou clinches state tourney berth
• Photo gallery: Punahou-Kamehameha hoops Feb. 22
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Intent on taking the short road to next week's Hawaiian Airlines Boys Basketball State Championships, Punahou raced past Kamehameha, 65-59, last night before a raucous home crowd of about 1,200 at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
The Buffanblu finished 11-3 in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play and earned the ILH's second automatic state tournament berth with the victory. Defending state champ Kamehameha fell to 10-4 and now must win games in the league's postseason tournament Wednesday and Thursday plus a road game Saturday against the Big Island Interscholastic Federation's third-place team in order to punch its state tournament ticket.
"We went through that last year and didn't want to go through it again," said Punahou senior wing Henry Cassiday, who finished with a game-high 24 points last night. "We knew if we won tonight, it would put us in a good position because we have some injuries and this gives us a chance to rest."
The Buffanblu will need it after last night's fast-paced action, which never slowed down after the opening tip.
Cassiday scored on three straight short jumpers to spark a 10-1 run that put Punahou ahead, 17-8, late in the first period. The Buffanblu stretched the lead to 33-20 after DeForest Buckner's turnaround jumper with 1:29 remaining before halftime.
Cassiday finished the half with 13 points and his team ahead, 35-24, after he also helped limit Warriors All-State forward Micah Christenson to three points.
"Henry is a key catalyst for us on both ends of the floor, and he wants the challenge," Punahou coach Alika Smith said.
Kamehameha found energy in the second half and eventually closed it to 55-51 on Charlton Tang's baseline jumper with 2:50 left in the game, but Buckner's slam dunk 17 seconds later started a 6-0 run to make it 61-51, and the Warriors never got closer than six points after that.
"We dug ourselves a bit of a hole (in the first half), and maybe it was too little, too late, although I don't like saying that," Kamehameha coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "But much like 'Iolani did (in a 50-49 comeback victory over Kamehameha) on Saturday, (Punahou) responded with big shots. We tried to make their guards beat us, and they did."
KAMEHAMEHA (10-4) 12 12 17 18—59
PUNAHOU (11-3) 17 18 15 15—65
KAMEHAMEHA — Shane Matayoshi 6, Frank Ho 7, Micah Christenson 16, Brandon Orpillia 0, Brent Auyong 5, Davis Achong 0, Devin Kuhns 0, Dyrbe Enos 15, Charlton Tang 10. Totals 18 17-23 59.
PUNAHOU — Patrick O'Neill 0, Bryan Matsukawa 0, Henry Cassiday 24, Sean McFadden 2, Matt Feldman 10, James Dowsett 3, James Duncan 5, Malik Johnson 8, DeForest Buckner 11, Kaiwi Crabb 2. Totals 27 7-12 65.
3-point goals — Kamehameha 6 (Enos 3, Christenson 2, Ho 1). Punahou 4 (Feldman 2, Duncan 1, Cassiday 1).
Reported by Scott Metcalf
ILH BOYS DII
LANAKILA BAPTIST 64, LUTHERAN 41
Richard Abbley scored 17 points, Chase Hazelwood added 11 and the Warriors raced to a 16-2 first-period lead at Damien.
Kyton Keliiaa scored 10 points for Lutheran.
LUTHERAN (0-16) 2 18 14 7—41
LANAKILA BAPTIST (5-11) 16 21 13 14—64
LUTHERAN — Jordan Kumasaka 9, Bronson Hagihara 5, Taylor Matsumoto 1, Kyton Keliiaa 10, Shaun Takahashi 8, Brandon Kushima 4, Ethan Mee 4, Simeon David 0, Jourdan Johnson 0. Totals 11 15-27 41.
LANAKILA BAPTIST — Michael Miranda 6, Josh Pananganan 0, Chase Hazelwood 11, Marcus Takahashi 8, Jordan Kabato 12, Jordan Soriano 0, Zack Ramos 3, Aaron Ono 3, Richard Abbley 17, Joseph Lawson 2, Matt Kakilala 2, Tyler Johnson 0. Totals 29 4-7 64.
3-point goals — Lutheran 4 (Takahashi 2, Kumasaka 1, Keliiaa 1). Lanakila Baptist 2 (Ramos, Ono).
Reported by Royce Worley