Kamehameha, 'Iolani make it an all-ILH final Boys Basketball State Championships boxscores
Griffin scores 23 points to lead Mililani
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Boys basketball state championships schedule
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• Photo gallery: Boys state basketball Friday
By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Kamehameha took a successful final step in its long journey of return to the Hawaiian Airlines Boys Basketball State Championship game last night, holding off Punahou, 47-43, in semifinal action at Stan Sheriff Center.
The defending state champ Warriors improved to 16-4 in the regular and postseason and will face No. 1 seed and Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion 'Iolani (14-2) in tonight's 7 o'clock finale at the SSC.
The game — Kamehameha's ninth in the past two weeks — will be televised live statewide on OC16.
"It's a relief, all our hard work paid off so far," said Warriors sophomore guard Dyrbe Enos, who hit a baseline jumper with 59 seconds remaining last night to put Kamehameha up, 45-40, and then sealed the game by converting two free throws with 2.4 ticks on the clock. "We're tired, but we just need to go home, rehydrate, get some sleep and then stretch our legs tomorrow."
The Warriors, who escaped with a 53-50 double-overtime thriller over Moanalua in Thursday's quarterfinals, survived last night after Punahou (13-4) missed a potential game-tying short banker from the left side with about 10 seconds remaining.
Enos came up with the loose ball rebound and raced down the court, where he was fouled with 2.4 seconds remaining. He swished the two free throws to make it 47-43, and the Buffanblu could only heave a 35-foot Hail Mary at the final horn.
Punahou had closed it to 45-43 on Henry Cassiday's 3-pointer with 44 seconds left, and regained possession after Enos missed the front end of a one-and-one 14 seconds later.
The Buffanblu worked the ball into the paint, but a bank attempt from about eight feet away on the left side went off the rim and Enos came up with the loose rebound near the free throw line.
"That was our secondary play; our primary play was a back screen, but we didn't run it," Punahou coach Alika Smith said. "But we still got a good look, which is all you can ask for in that situation. It just didn't fall."
The Buffanblu had taken early control, leading 12-5 early in the second period, but Kamehameha eventually tied it at 18-18 after Frank Ho's 3-pointer with 4:19 remaining and ended the half with an 8-0 run to lead 26-20 at the break.
Ho, a reserve guard, scored 10 of his 11 points in the first half.
"That was huge for us, because we had been on a low for points early on," Warriors coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "Frank gave us a huge lift."
Kamehameha maintained the lead, going up 40-34 after Micah Christenson's tip-in at the third period buzzer.
Punahou closed it to 40-38 on DeForest Buckner's short baseline jumper with 5:14 left in the game, but Brandon Orpillia answered with a 3-pointer one minute later. After Cassiday cut it to 43-40 on a layup with 3:11 remaining, Enos hit his baseline jumper to make it 45-40.
"Someone has been stepping up for them every single game," Smith said. "They made some big shots."
Micah Christenson led the Warriors with 13 points and six rebounds. Cassiday led the Buffanblu with 13 points and Buckner added 10 points.
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