Morales, Santiago lift Govs over Trojans

The Farrington Governors near the end of warmups before playing Mililani. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Dec. 6, 2017)

What a difference one year can make for the Farrington Governors.

Once one of the youngest lineups in the OIA, Farrington was fully equipped to control the tempo once again, racing past Mililani 68-52 on Wednesday night at Kitamura Fieldhouse.

Reymar Morales led the way with 19 points and Ehzikiel Santiago added 15 for the Governors, now 4-3 in nonconference play.

Using a three-quarter press, the Govs were opportunistic and leapt to a 20-8 lead in the second quarter. The visiting Trojans cut the lead to 27-26, but the Govs went back to their press to score the final six points of the first half. Then came a 19-7 run in the third quarter to put the game virtually out of reach.

Cameron Henry hustled for 14 points and Davon Appleby added nine for Mililani (1-6 nonconference).

The win came just one day after losing to Kamehameha 61-59 on a buzzer-beating shot.

Their wins have included a lopsided win at Waipahu to open preseason, but there have also been close wins over Saint Louis and Honokaa, an overtime loss to ‘Iolani, as well as a wipeout loss to ILH powerhouse Punahou. The close loss to Kamehameha, which included a comeback attempt behind guard Felcris Ahadain (19 points, five treys), might be one of those true morale boosters despite defeat.

“I knew something would happen today where we would come out flat. We used all our energy last night. We used our time outs to stay organized. It’s a good sign that we can stay with the ILH teams. We can compete with them now, but we want to stay under the radar,” Farrington coach Steven Leopoldo said. “The maturity from last year’s experience, plus our guys up from the JV, that makes the difference.”

Farrington’s aggression in the paint is team-wide now.

“It all starts with practice. We tell them they’ve got to box out, get rebounds,” Leopoldo said. “We’re running more now. We’ve got more talent now, so we’ll see what we’re made of this year.”

Center Dreyston Kuni-Paga, a strong post at 6-foot-2, is a big difference maker in the post, especially with Chris Afe, a two-year letterman, not playing this year. Raefe McEnroe, a 6-3 junior, will help when he returns from an ankle injury.

The Govs have three more nonconference matchups: vs. Pearl City on Friday, at Kapolei next Tuesday, and home against Nanakuli on Dec. 19.

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