St. Francis’ first season in Division I in ILH boys basketball will be its last, and the Saints have shown they belonged.
The two-time defending Division II state champions defeated visiting Mid-Pacific 57-44 on Thursday in the ILH tournament. St. Francis moved up a division to compete with the state’s best before the school announced in January it would close from grades 7 to 12 after the academic year.
Junior Kordel Ng scored a game-high 18 points and senior Kameron Ng added all 13 of his points in the second half for the Saints (7-6), who finished the regular season fourth out of seven teams.
“I was pleased with (Kameron) having zero points but us up five at the half,” St. Francis coach Ron Durant said. “I thought we were in a good position and knew it was only a matter of time before he would get loose. “Mid-Pacific … I give them credit. They played with a lot of heart. They made it tough on us.”
Ranked fifth in the state in the Honolulu Star-Advertiser Top 10, St. Francis will play at No. 1 Maryknoll at 7 p.m. on Saturday for a chance to reach the tournament final.
It won’t be easy, however. The Spartans lost just one game during the regular season and beat the Saints by a total of 34 points in two games.
Win or lose, the Saints will play again on Monday, either for the tournament crown or a chance at third place to force a playoff for the league’s third and final berth in the state tournament.
With St. Francis moving up to Division I this year, the ILH gets three teams into states for the first time since 2012.
‘Iolani will play at Punahou in the other tournament game on Saturday. Kamehameha, Saint Louis and Mid-Pacific were all eliminated from postseason play on Thursday. Maryknoll clinched a berth by winning the regular season.
“We’ll still be playing,” Durant said.
Titus Liu hit two 3-pointers and had eight points in the win over the Owls.
Kamana Lapina was perfect from 3-point range, making all three attempts, and led Mid-Pacific (3-10) with 11 points.
No. 3 ‘Iolani 65, Saint Louis 41
After a surprising loss to last-place Kamehameha to end the regular season, the Raiders (8-5) got off to a fast start to defeat the sixth-seeded Crusaders (3-10).
Kawika Lee led three Raiders in double figures with 18 points and ‘Iolani raced out to a 32-13 halftime advantage to beat Saint Louis for the third time this season.
The first two meetings were both decided by six points or less, but this one was over early as ‘Iolani hit six trey’s and was 25-for-34 on free throws.
Frank Felix and Sam Wheeler scored 12 points apiece and were a combined 8-for-10 from the free-throw line, where ‘Iolani outscored Saint Louis by 15 points.
Trey Taba scored 17 points in the Crusaders’ final game of the season.
No. 2 Punahou 76, Kamehameha 60
Kaulana Makaula scored 18 points and Jakob Kimura added 17 as the Buffanblu (10-3) ended the Warriors season.
Tamatoa Falatea made two 3-pointers and Duke Clemens powered his way to 16 points in the paint for Punahou, which will host ‘Iolani on Saturday.
The Buffanblu fell behind 21-14 after the first quarter but outscored Kamehameha 45-25 over the next two quarters.
Punahou overcame a game-high 27 points from Christmas Togiai and three 3-pointers from Onipa’a Pung. Kamehameha finished its season 3-10.