The teams in red prevailed for state championships tonight in boys basketball.
‘Iolani 43, Farrington 40 (Division I)
Hawaii Prep 42, Kalani 33 (Division II)
D-I All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding: Ikaika Phillip, ‘Iolani
Zach Buscher, ‘Iolani
Ryan Garces, Baldwin
Jacob McEnroe, Farrington
Kaleb Gilmore, Maryknoll
Josh Burnett, Maryknoll
D-II All-Tournament Team
Most Outstanding: David Ovbagbedia, Hawaii Prep
Justas Gecas, Hawaii Prep
Brandon Roberts, Kalani
Cameron King, Seabury Hall
Mikala Jordan, Kohala
Nicky Palleschi, Hawaii Prep
Raiders did nothing different tonight. Controlled halfcourt offense. Strong halfcourt man defense. Delay game to close each quarter. Delay game in the final 5 minutes or so. Farrington fans were frustrated by 1) ‘Iolani’s tactics, and 2) Farrington’s cold shooting.
My take: Not sure why Farrington didn’t isolate Jacob McEnroe much, much more. Until those last few minutes, he had just 7 shot attempts (and 3 FT attempts). I know Zach Buscher is a fine defender, but McEnroe didn’t get the touches I thought he’d get down low. Hard to understand that.
Also, if another team wants to stall, it can blow up in their faces if a solid halfcourt trapping defense is employed. But Farrington sat back in man defense, sometimes tight on-ball pressure, sometimes not. It was a grind, this game, no different than a lot of ILH games we’ve seen in the 1970s, ’80s, etc.
For ‘Iolani, changing from an uptempo, running team into this slowdown squad that is so, so efficient and productive, that’s a credit to coach Dean Shimamoto. No question about it. He found the right formula and stuck with it without fail.
As for HPA, the loss of guard Kalen Camero was not quite as drastic as I’d been told. He was actually their shooting guard this season, so PG Justas Gecas continued to do his solid work. They call him “Juice” (short for Justas) and he is one of two Lithuanians in the starting lineup. Evaldas Gertas, their tree in the post, had a superb game though the stats don’t necessarily reflect it.
And David Ovbagbedia, the 6-4 senior from Nigeria, was solid with 12 points, 11 boards and some timely assists into the post. They lost their top scorer a week ago, adjusted on the fly and won the D-II state championship. Their guys came through in modified roles. That coaching staff deserves major kudos.
Kalani had a tremendous season, never mind the 12-16 overall record. The Falcons are highly competitive in the OIA now regardless of who they play. They’re going to lose some talent to graduation, including springy Brandon Roberts — arguably the best male athlete at the school this year — but they’re building up that program nicely. Coach Nathan Davis has them busy and training year-round, and there’s no question that preseason trip to California only whetted the players’ appetite for higher achievements.
All in all, a solid boys tournament this season. ‘Iolani finally got a serious challenge. HPA proved itself worthy on the big stage after all that success in the BIIF.