Mitchell’s 19 points spark HBA over Kaimuki 58-49

The Hawaii Baptist Eagles sing happy birthday to assistant coach Leighton Mitchell (left) after a win over Kaimuki. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Nov. 24, 2017)

Micah Mitchell scored 19 points as Hawaii Baptist held on for a 58-49 win over Kaimuki in the opening game of the Hawaii Self Storage McKinley Black and Gold Classic on Friday afternoon.

The Eagles shot 8-for-24 from 3-point range, but overcame an inconsistent stroke from deep by attacking Kaimuki’s man defense. Cole Galicinao added 15 points and Adam Kikuta tallied 14 for the Eagles (2-0). Kaimuki also stayed in the game by aggressively driving on HBA’s man defense. The Bulldogs were in double bonus early in the final quarter.

However, point guard Fred Taulung was whistled for his fifth personal foul, plus a technical foul for directly challenging the foul call (face to face) with an official late in the third quarter. He finished with a team-high 15 points. Braxton Gray added 12 points and sophomore HS Haruo chipped in eight points. Overall, it was a much-improved team performance for Kaimuki, which struggled at the Pete Smith Classic earlier in the week.

Free throws down the stretch made the difference for HBA, which went to a four-corners set with about 6 minutes remaining.

“It’s not really about winning and losing. There’s a standard of play we’re trying to strive for and we didn’t hit that today,” Eagles coach George Weeks said. “We’re fortunate to get a win.”

HBA defeated Kaiser in its first win of nonconference play. Weeks is patiently waiting to see his team play with more cohesiveness.

“Communication, it’s the thing that binds everything together for us offensively and defensively,” he said. “In class, the want to talk, talk, talk, but my classroom is my court.”

The Eagles played in the 2015 Division II state tourney, reaching the semifinal round before losing to Kalani. University of the ILH won the D-II state title in ’16. St. Francis of the ILH captured the D-II state crown last year.

HBA will play Kalani on Saturday, 2:30 p.m. Kaimuki will meet Mililani in the first game of the day, 11:30 a.m.

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