Tip-off for the ILH boys basketball showdown between Punahou and ‘Iolani is 12 minutes away.
To this point, the Buffanblu get a lot of respect from me for many aspects, including this: It’s not an easy sell, getting a group of talented players to buy into a team-first concept. But they’ve done it. Coach Darren Matsuda plays as much of his reserves as possible in their high-speed system. They won’t have a guy who averages 27 points per game. But they’ll always have multiple players who can stretch the floor and kill defenses.
‘Iolani is coming off a 69-60 loss to Maryknoll. The Raiders struggled to contain Maryknoll’s go-to scorers, Kaleb Gilmore (30 points) and Josh Burnett (23). Now they face a team that is dependent on no single player. That might be a more difficult task. Or not. We’ll see.
‘Iolani 14, Punahou 6, end Q1
Raiders with great ball movement, no real trouble against Punahou’s fullcourt pressure. Same with Punahou against ‘Iolani’s three-quarter and halfcourt pressure defenses. Though they didn’t meet in preseason, they scout each other so well.
‘Iolani 24, Punahou 21, halftime
A better second quarter than first for the home team. Daniel Andrews has not played, don’t think he’s suited up. I’ll find out why later. Raiders putting the clamps on Punahou’s sharpshooters. J.B. Kam has just four points on 1-for-3 shooting so far. Punahou hit three treys in the second quarter to get closer. Micah Ma‘a, Chris Kobayashi and Dayson Watanabe with the big splash action from deep.
‘Iolani 38, Punahou 27, Q4, 3:28
‘Iolani 46, Punahou 34, final
The Buffanblu cut the lead to eight, but that was it. ‘Iolani shot 11-for-16 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to close out the win and give Punahou its first loss of the season.
Buffanblu lost Daniel Andrews to a knee injury during warmups and that caused a ripple effect. Andrews, at 6-foot-7, is arguably one of the top three players in the state. Hopefully, the injury isn’t serious for the senior.