No. 1 Raiders top Kahuku, 55-44 Kamehameha, 'Iolani make it an all-ILH final
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By Wes Nakama
Advertiser Staff Writer
Turning to its staunch defense on a poor shooting night, 'Iolani held off Kahuku, 55-44, last evening to advance to its first Hawaiian Airlines Boys Basketball Championship game since 2006.
The No. 1 seed and Interscholastic League of Honolulu champ Raiders improved to 14-2 in the regular and postseason and will face ILH rival and defending state champ Kamehameha (16-4) in tonight's 7 o'clock title game at Stan Sheriff Center.
The game will be televised live statewide on OC16.
'Iolani made just 16 of 48 field goals (33.3 percent) last night at the SSC, including only 5 of 19 shots (26.3 percent) from 3-point range. But the Raiders made up for it with a scrappy defense, especially in the fourth period when they held O'ahu Interscholastic Association runner-up Kahuku (15-5) without a basket until 1:18 remained in the game.
That allowed 'Iolani to stretch a 39-36 lead after three periods to 48-38.
"It started with our defense," said Raiders guard Kainoa Chu, a 6-foot senior who finished with a game-high 22 points. "We started to get some steals and make them play on their heels."
'Iolani had built a 39-29 lead late in the third period, but the Red Raiders closed it to 39-36 entering the fourth after layups by Shairone Thompson and Jackson Kaka and a 3-pointer from Samala Afalava.
But Kahuku wound up stuck on 36 for the first 6:42 of the fourth quarter.
"We just couldn't make shots," Red Raiders coach Hiram Akina said. "We couldn't get the shots we wanted, the shots we were getting earlier. They took that away from us."
'Iolani helped seal the game with free throws, ending up 18 of 24 (75 percent) from the line.
Thompson finished with a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Kahuku and Nehoa Akina added 11 points.
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