LIVE BLOG: Merv Lopes Classic, day 1

by Paul Honda on December 26, 2013

Here we go. The first day of the St. Francis Merv Lopes Hoops Classic is underway. The field is 16 teams deep, including Santa Margarita of California. The tourney is at St. Francis High School and their beautiful new gym.

Thursday’s games
Mid-Pacific 70, Kamehameha II 65
Kamehameha-Hawaii 64, Kapolei 45
Santa Margarita 53, Leilehua 33
Saint Louis 40, Kalaheo 37
Kahuku 71, University 61
Kamehameha 72, Farrington 61
St. Francis 48, Campbell 43
‘Iolani 80, Kailua 37

Friday’s games
Consolation bracket
9 a.m. Kamehameha II vs. Campbell
10:30 a.m. University vs. Kailua
Noon Leilehua vs. Kalaheo
1:30 p.m. Kapolei vs. Farrington
Quarterfinals
3 p.m. Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Kamehameha
4:30 p.m. Santa Margarita vs. Saint Louis
6 p.m. Kahuku vs. ‘Iolani
7:30 p.m. Mid-Pacific vs. St. Francis

This isn’t the only tourney tipping off today. At Kaiser, there’s a strong field comprised of Mililani, Maryknoll, Waiakea and host Kaiser. Just four varsity teams, round-robin format. Good stuff though. Mahalo to Kainoa Sheer for sending the schedule.

(Note to all basketball programs: e-mail your schedules to sports@staradvertiser.com, and call 529-4321 to make sure they check on it. Our guys and gals usually get into the office around 3 p.m.. The earlier you send it, the better your chances of the info getting in the paper the next morning.)

Kamehameha-Hawaii 52, Kapolei 28, Q3, 4:20
Warriors from the Big Island are skilled and smart, using backdoor cuts. Laakea Manliguis is now a senior, probably the most experienced player on the KSH roster. Kapolei’s young backcourt getting a good test today.

Halftime score between Kamehameha-Hawaii (home) and Kapolei (visitor). (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Halftime score between Kamehameha-Hawaii (home) and Kapolei (visitor). (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Kapolei. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Kapolei. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Kapolei. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Kapolei. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii feeling good after a dominant first half. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii feeling good after a dominant first half. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

I'm the guy who is fond of Huy Fong sriracha sauce. Come say hello if you're at the gym. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

I’m the guy who is fond of Huy Fong sriracha sauce. Come say hello if you’re at the gym. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha-Hawaii 64, Kapolei 45, final
The Warriors used a fullcourt press in the first half to overwhelm the Hurricanes and their young backcourt. Assistant coach Brandon Kauhi said it was the first time KS-Hawaii has used a fullcourt press. EVER.

I had to think about that. Going back to the Nelson Wong years, I remember a lot of fullcourt pressure, and more of the same under current coach Dominic Pacheco. But that was straight fullcourt man, not trapping.

It works for the Warriors, who have a lot of quickness from 1 to 5. But I got here in the second half (around 11:30 a.m.) and KSH had already backed off and played halfcourt zone the rest of the game. Looking forward to seeing them again tomorrow.

Sophomore Bayley Manliguis led KS-Hawaii with 14 points. His brother, senior Laakea Manliguis, had 12 and Ryan Kiko added 10. Micah Kapoi and William Auwae led Kapolei with eight points each. That’s University of Wisconsin-bound Micah Kapoi, an all-state offensive lineman.

Mid-Pacific 70, Kamehamehameha II 65, final
The tournament opener was tight. Coach Dwight Holiday’s Owls got 24 points from irrepressible Kyle Husslein, the master of drawing contact. Daniel Florenco added 17 points and Andrew Kargol tallied 15. Aukai Pennington, a 5-9 guard, led the D-II Warriors with 18 points and Calen Scot Holt, a 6-1 forward, added 16. Holt was one of Kamehameha’s standout defensive players in football.

Santa Margarita 27, Leilehua 14, halftime
The tall visitors from California are crisp and basic. Halfcourt man defense, and the halfcourt offense is sharp. They have eight players at least 6-3, including a 6-10 guy. The shot clock works in their favor. Leilehua’s had to force up some tough shots, but they’ve taken some unnecessary shots in the paint against some tall posts.

Santa Margarita 53, Leilehua 33, final
Joe Furstinger, a 6-8 senior, led the Eagles with 11 points. Guard Devonte Klines added 10 points. The Eagles have eight players at least 6-3, inlucding a 6-10 center (Novak Topalovic). Bryan Mason led the Mules with seven points.

The Eagles unveiled halfcourt traps in the third quarter to open the lead wide open.

Saint Louis 23, Kalaheo 16, halftime
The Crusaders are playing strong, using their fullcourt pressure and rebounding to keep the Mustangs stifled to an extent. Turnovers hurt Kalaheo big — nine so far.

Saint Louis 40, Kalaheo 37, final
Haka Johnson scored 14 points and Jimmy Nunuha III added 10 in a defensive battle. The Crusaders’ edge on the offensive boards was a big factor. Jedidiah Lulu had four of his eight caroms on the offensive glass.

Alec MacLeod scored 14 points for the Mustangs and Kupaa Harrison had 10 points, 10 boards and two steals. MacLeod missed an open 3-point try from the right win at the buzzer.

The Saint Louis Crusaders are ready to take the floor against Kalaheo. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

The Saint Louis Crusaders are ready to take the floor against Kalaheo. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kalaheo prepares to take the court against Saint Louis. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kalaheo prepares to take the court against Saint Louis. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

The Merv. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

The Merv. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Host St. Francis has a triple rack of Baden basketballs, but some games have been played with Spalding TF-1000. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Host St. Francis has a triple rack of Baden basketballs, but some games have been played with Spalding TF-1000. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kahuku 64, University 59, Q4, 2:04
The Red Raiders are hanging on after watching a big lead melt in the fourth quarter. The Junior Rainbows were within 63-57 when point guard Anthony Canencia fouled out.

Kahuku 71, University 61, final
Hirkley Latu finished with 18 points, freshman Samuta Avea had 16 and Wilton Cravens added 13 as the Red Raiders hung on for the win.

UHS led early on, but Kahuku’s swarming press took a toll on the Jr. ‘Bows. Ryan Kaleikini scored a career-high 35 points

Kahuku was off to the races. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kahuku was off to the races. (Paul Honda / Star-Advertiser)

Kamehameha 20, Farrington 18, end Q1
The Warriors led by nine early, but the Govs closed the quarter with a surge. Farrington is still playing without bigs Mason Semisi and Manly Williams. Both are playing at the Samoa Bowl this week.

Kamehameha 40, Farrington 33, halftime
The Warriors are executing their halfcourt offense exquisitely. Elbow jumpers. Drives through wide-open lanes. Open treys. Noa Kinimaka has killed the Governors with his 3-point bombs. Still, the Govs stick around. They were down by 12 before cutting the lead back down to seven before the break.

True, Farrington is not the same without Semisi and Williams, but they’ve still got plenty of talent — a whole lot of guards. It’s interesting because a lot of their halfcourt sets so far involved low and high posts as primary options without much room at all for slashing.

But they might open the floor up now, even though Kamehameha is a pretty good man team. Coach Greg Tacon preaches it as well as any coach. The Warriors have really come together in the two weeks since the ILH-OIA Challenge, where they lost to the Govs.

Kamehameha 57, Farrington 47, Q4, 5:41
The Govs have cut the lead down to five on a couple of occasions, but the Warriors have stretched it back out to 12 each time. Kamehameha doing a good job of bringing help-side defense to the low post when Jacob McEnroe posts up. Farrington making it tough on itself trying to dribble through double teams, not getting much spacing.

Kamehameha 72, Farrington 61, final
A great night for guard Noa Kinimaka, who splashed six treys and finished with 27 points to carry the ninth-ranked Warriors over No. 3 Farrington.

“We’re just getting into the flow of coach’s offense,” said Kinimaka, a 6-1 senior guard. “At the beginning of preseason, it was tough. We were adjusting.”

Farrington lost sight of Kimikaka a few times, even after he hit oep treys.

“I don’t know why they were leaving me open,” he said.

The last time these teams played the Govs, Farrington was in midseason form and the Warriors looked lost at times. Farrington won convincingly.

This time, Kamehameha had great transition defense, negating the Govs’ fastbreak. They also executed beautifully on offense, running Tacon’s variety of sets to perfection. That’s why they got open looks at the elbows, in the paint, and on the perimeter for Kinimaka.

When Tacon called plays, the ball swung from strong side to weak side and he implored them to waste no time attacking the basket. When Farrington set up its post offense and swung the ball, the emphasis (it seemed) continued to be looking for the post. By then, there was a defender on McEnroe, plus two helpside defenders waiting in the middle of the key.

In other words, no room for Farrington’s 3-point-shooting slashers — Smith, hugo, Visoria — to drive. Just too crowded. Farrington won’t have Semisi and Williams back for awhile. so it’ll be interesting what kind of adjustments Coach Silva makes. Consolation bracket or not, there are some solid teams in this 16-team field.

Farrington can either evolve or get into a rut.

St. Francis 23, Campbell 23, halftime
The Sabers trailed by 12, but used a 1-2-2 zone to thwart the host Saints. Turnovers turned into easy fastbreak points for Campbell in the second quarter.

St. Francis 48, Campbell 43, final
Great rally by the Sabers, but the host Saints got defensive in the fourth quarter. Matthew Nuumanaia led St. Francis with 17 points and Ranan Mamiya added 13. Gilbert Dayanan had 14 and Isaac Hurt 13 for the Sabers.

‘Iolani 80, Kailua 37, final
Zach Gelacio paced the Raiders with 15 points and Shane Lay added 10. Kawehe Hano Kohatsu scored 10 for the Surfriders.

This game was lopsided from the start. The Raiders led 27-2 early in the second quarter. Kailua benched three starters for being late to practice earlier in the day, but the Surfriders showed resilience. They struggled early on against ‘Iolani’s fullcourt pressure.

Kailua coach Walter Marciel considers ‘Iolani the best team in the state. At a recent tourney on Maui, Kailua trailed by just two points before the Raiders launched and hit seven treys in the third quarter.

Me? I think the Raiders are midseason form now. They’ve played strong and smart in recent games, and their bedrock is that on-ball pressure that never ends. They bring in their reserves and there is almost no dropoff. Coach Dean Shimamoto has balance in his starters and bench and he uses it to the fullest.

Kahuku will play ‘Iolani on Friday. How they handle the press, and vice-versa, will be interesting.

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