Merry Roundball, Day 3 (update 10:25 pm)
Update 10:25 p.m. Oregon City (Ore.) over Dr. Phillips (Fla.) 49-44. It was interesting to see a serious run-and-gun squad like OC change its stripes in mid-stream. They were up 11 after three quarters, and by then they’d already gotten very patient with Dr. Phillips’ 2-3 zone. When the fourth quarter started, coach Kurt Guelsdorf had his team pull the ball out, and within seconds, the Panthers switched to a man defense.
That still didn’t stop Dr. P from rallying to within 48-44 in the final minute. Good game, and another example of a coach doing what he had to do for a tournament win. Shooters not shooting well. Key player in foul trouble (Johanna Paine fouled out). Eking it out takes skill and experience, and that’s what the Pioneers did.
Now they return to the Northwest, where they are probably the favorite to win the Oregon state title. I’d be surprised if they didn’t.
Update 9:20 p.m. I’m at the ‘Iolani Classic, where Oregon City (Ore.) leads Dr. Phillips (Fla.) 33-19 at the half. The Pioneers love to run the floor, so it was odd to hear their coach call for “one shot” with 40 seconds left in the half. You do what you gotta do to win a tournament.
In the third-place game, ‘Iolani lost a seven-point, second-half lead and fell to Southlake (Texas) in overtime, 50-49. Highly winnable game, but the Raiders simply did not match up with Southlake’s long-range bombers when they got hot in the second half. Take away those shooters, and the onus would’ve been on the Lady Dragons’ bigs — who were effective, but not reliable scorers in the post.
One girl did most of the damage for Southlake: Gretchen Morrison, who had five treys. Four were in the second half and overtime. Fifteen of her 19 points came from long range, mostly from the left wing. Deadly accurate — when left open. Wide, wide open.
Hate to see teams play well and fade in the end (re: ‘Iolani girls, Kapolei boys) but the beauty of basketball is there’s always the next game. You learn, you grow and the pain of defeat makes you stronger. Hopefully.
Update 6 p.m. The Warriors rallied from 19 down to tie it at 37-all on Makoa Camanse-Stevens’ corner 3. The Warriors were down 40-39 for what seemed like an eternity, missing five consecutive foul shots. They trailed 43-42 when Camanse-Stevens drove from the top and missed a tough layup.
Kapolei’s Curtis Tavares hit two foul shots with 16.8 seconds left for a 45-42 lead.
Kamehameha’s Austin Gerard went to the line with 10.3 seconds left and swished both to cut the lead to 45-44. After a Kapolei time out, a turnover on its inbounds pass. Way too complicated. Just get the ball in… Kamehameha picks up the bad pass at halfcourt, calls time out with :09.0 left.
Kamehameha’s final 9 seconds: Ball in to Gerard, who dribbles across the floor the left wing, where he’s double-teamed. He passes to Camanse-Stevens at the top for a 3-point swisher with :01 left. Final: Kamehameha 47, Kapolei 45.
Update 5:30 p.m. Kapolei went up 33-14 on a Curtis Tavares trey, then promptly gave back almost all of the cushion. It’s now Kapolei 37, Kamehameha 32 after three quarters. Clutch shooting by Kamehameha. Kapolei looks wobbly and tired. Shots are short or air balls.
Update 5:07 p.m. Have mercy, an OIA team might win a game at the Challenge. Kapolei leads Kamehameha 30-14 at the half. Big 3-pointers by Christopher Dillard, swarming halfcourt traps (giving Kamehameha a big dose of its own medicine) and some solid bench play. Micah Kapoi played the last couple of minutes in the second quarter and contributed an assist, layup and rebound, all keys to a strong run by the Hurricanes.
After nine games in Na Menehune ILH-OIA Challenge, the ILH has a 9-0 lead. Kapolei has a shot.
Update 4:25 p.m. Final — Punahou 86, Kahuku 42. Buffanblu had 75 points after three quarters, then slowed everything down in the final quarter. Third-stringers played the entire fourth. Another impressive win. After talking with one of Kamehameha’s assistants, looks like Punahou won’t play the Warriors until the ILH regular season in January. Just itching to see Maryknoll, Punahou, ‘Iolani and Kamehameha square off, especially with Punahou looking to run and go warp speed. Kudos to Coach Darren Matsuda. He’s making the most of his depth and talent.
Update 3:45 p.m. Halftime — Punahou 47, Kahuku 25. Red Raiders are doing much better today, even though Kawe Johnson is still away (football visit to NMSU). That’s the benefit of playing three good teams in three days.
Buffanblu still too skilled, too deep, too unselfish and too athletic for most teams. I’m having a hard time voting them anything below No. 2 on my Top 10 ballot tomorrow. I really believe they’re better than No. 1 Maryknoll in terms of depth and perimeter shooting. Can’t wait to see those two teams play at some point.
Update 2 p.m. Already here at Moanalua. Planning on shooting video for the first game, then heading over to the ‘Iolani Classic (girls) for my assignment.
I asked Kamehameha coach Julian Nakanishi yesterday about using their 2-3 matchup zone. It was very Syracuse-like in the sense that his roster has a lot of tallish (6-1 to 6-3) kids who can cover a lot of ground defensively. You might reverse the ball a few times and still get tight on-ball pressure on your zonebusters on the wing or corner. That’s a HUGE plus in a tournament where there’s a shot clock.
So Kamehameha, normally a man-to-man team with some zone tendencies, went zone most of the night and befuddled Moanalua. I’ve written before about Moanalua and coach Greg Tacon’s disdain for using zone defense. They’re usually a strong man defensive unit. But the flip side of that is it’s hard to practice zone offense effectively without getting a lot of reps in — especially if your program doesn’t embrace zone defense to begin with.
That’s why it’s not unusual for Moanalua to be a bit slow against zone defenses until midway through the season. It’s a price Coach Tacon is willing to pay. By investing in solid, accountable man defense from the start, it builds into the team’s culture and mentality. It’s a way of life. That’s something difficult to extract from players when multiple defenses are used.
But to Nakanishi’s credit, he (nor his brother Jesse before him) is not married to a single defense or concept. It helps, of course, to have bigs who can cover ground. A whole lot of teams don’t have many bigs to begin with, quick or slow.
More than an hour until tip-off. Moanalua’s JV is working hard this afternoon. Nothing like a mostly empty gym and a hard-working team at work. But I might just take a short nap.
9:30 a.m. Some quick notes before I head out the door.
• Chico Furtado must be beaming this morning. After his team lost its opener at the ‘Iolani Classic on Thursday night in the late game, he looked forward to a rematch with Lahainaluna. His Maryknoll squad had lost to the Lady Lunas earlier in preseason and he wanted to gauge how much improvement the Spartans had made. With a 24-9 run in the final quarter, Maryknoll pulled out a close win on Friday. That must’ve been something to see.
• The girls Top 10 poll has been relatively predictable for the past three or four years. That’s partly because of the enormous success of Konawaena and Punahou. But this year, it’s all in flux. Konawaena is still No. 1 after two weeks of polling, but with Lia Galdeira and Dawnyelle Awa off to Washington State, everybody smells opportunity.
• The boys Top 10 came out last week and the new one on Tuesday is going to be kapakahi — all mixed up. That’s because several OIA teams from No. 2 to No. Everywhere Else have fallen in the past few days to ILH powerhouses. Maryknoll, the No. 1 team, has been solid through two games at Na Menehune ILH-OIA Challenge, and that status will likely remain the same IF the Spartans get past host Moanalua in the tourney finale tonight. I’ll be at ‘Iolani covering the Raiders before heading over to Moanalua, time permitting. At least there won’t be a lot of traffic on a Saturday night. That’s the plan, anyway.
• There’s more, of course. The Pete Smith Classic enters its final day. I haven’t seen scores and I haven’t been assigned to cover it, though I would definitely love to see those games somehow, along with the other tournaments. I do know Australia edged St. Francis 52-47 last night on 24 points by Dane Pineau. If he sounds familiar, that’s because his dad, Brad, played for UH back in the day. I remember watching a lot of those games on KGMB. Pineau was a 6-10 center from Saint Louis. His son is more of a swingman with a perimeter game and is on his way to St. Mary’s to play college ball next year. He chose St. Mary’s over … UH.
• Larry Manliguis Hilo High Holiday Prep Classic is rounding up today, too. Hilo and Pearl City are in the final. Hat’s off to Chargers coach Lionel Villarmia for keeping his team on track with that steady defense, moderate tempo and disciplined offense. Nobody’s stayed on top of a team quite as much as Coach Villarmia this preseason, but he’ll be the first to tell you that he does only what is necessary. I just wonder if the work he’s doing this preseason requires a lot of caffeine, because the man is always on his feet.
• At War Memorial Gym in Wailuku, King Kekaulike is in the final after a 52-47 win over Lahainaluna. Na Alii will play Corona (Calif.), which has routed two foes so far. Ka‘u had a runaway win in the opener against host St. Anthony, but got swamped by Corona on Friday. Roosevelt is in the tourney and playing for fifth place today against Kamehameha-Maui.
• There is a small field at the Konawaena tournament. Pahoa won yesterday against Kealakehe despite benching six players for disciplinary reasons. Nick Fisher stepped up with 28 points. Yeah, Nick Fisher. Doesn’t it feel like he’s been around for 14 years? Some players have been so good for so long that it just feels that way.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser