Pāhoa rides second-half surge to top Kapa'a in semis, 52-36 Kamehameha, 'Iolani make it an all-ILH final
Boys Basketball State Championships boxscores
• Photo gallery: Boys state basketball Friday
by Stanley Lee
Advertiser Staff Writer
There have been many late pushes in Pāhoa's postseason.
The Daggers needed a buzzer-beating shot to clinch a state berth, then asked their community to help them raise funds to reach the Hawaiian Airlines Boys Basketball Division II State Championships.
Another run last night has Pāhoa in the state championship game.
"We've been waiting for this moment," said Nick Fisher, who scored 11 points in Pāhoa's 52-36 semifinal win over Kapa'a at Farrington. "Everyone said we couldn't do it, everyone put us down. We got back up and fought our way back here."
Isaiah Ekau had 18 points and John Byrd added 12 for the Daggers (8-9), the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up who will play defending champion Kailua (15-4) in today's 5 p.m. championship game at the Stan Sheriff Center. Pāhoa is the first BIIF school to reach the Division II final since Kohala in 2007.
"It's a great accomplishment, it was our goal set from the beginning of the season," said Ekau, who had 31 points in his team's upset of top-seeded Roosevelt in Thursday's quarterfinals.
Ekau hit the game-winning basket to beat Kohala in the BIIF semifinals that clinched a state berth. The team then sold chili, washed cars, and asked for donations to get to the state tournament. The Daggers are grateful for the support.
"We had a lot of help from our Big Island fans," Fisher said.
The Daggers went on a 19-3 run over an 11-plus minute span in the second half that turned a two-point game into a 45-27 lead over Kapa'a with 5:01 left in the fourth quarter. Ekau, a 6-foot-1 forward, had eight points during Pāhoa's run as the Daggers settled into their offense.
"When we push the ball, we kind of get out of control," Fisher said. "But when we slow down, we're cool, calm in our game."
Kapa'a (12-3), the Kaua'i Interscholastic Federation champion, hit three straight 3-pointers to close to 48-36 with 2:17 remaining, then couldn't score for the remainder of the game.
"We started our surge a little too late, we could've started earlier," Kapa'a coach Phillip Baclayon said.
Kekoa Colipano had 12 points and Duke Pauli had 10 for Kapa'a (12-3), which plays Academy of the Pacific (16-4) in today's third-place game.
Fisher hit a running 3-pointer from about 30 feet as time expired to give the Daggers a 26-21 halftime lead.
"I knew there was like two seconds left when I got the ball so I dribbled it as fast as I could and threw it up," Fisher said.