Before tonight’s semifinals, a few notes and quotes.
• Matthew Nuumanaia, the versatile 6-foot-5 senior at St. Francis, was a definite DNP last night for the top-seeded Saints in the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA D-II Boys Basketball State Championships. Kalani beat the Saints 54-41, ousting the defending D-II state champs. No word on why he didn’t play, but whatever the reason, it’s kind of sad that his prep career closes on this note.
He’s going to be a tremendous guard at the next level. He got to play quite a bit on the wing at St. Francis, but was also a force inside, a willing low-post defender and scorer. Good court vision, unselfish, but ready to pull the trigger. His 3-point shot was very good this season at times.
When he gets to focus on one position in college, look out.
• Still wondering why Kapi‘ina King did not play in Damien’s 58-55 loss to Seabury Hall in the opening round of D-II play yesterday. The 6-7 junior is a valuable part of that team. Even if he never took a shot, his value in one game is certainly worth more than 3 points defensively.
It’s just bizarre for this Pupule hoops fan to see two small schools get the spotlight at the big dance, only to see their marquee players sidelined.
• HHSAA executive director Chris Chun said this week’s boys tourney is drawing similar numbers to the girls’ state tournament that ended last Saturday.
“Maryknoll brings a huge crowd,” Chun said. “Last year was way better than the year before. This year is a lot like last year.”
• Back to Kalani. Some fans have wondered aloud why Kalani was permitted to have homecourt advantage for its game with St. Francis. The answer is two-fold.
1. Home court has been permitted in the past. King Kekaulike hosted for a state volleyball tournament a few years ago. It’s an eye-opening view there, with the court below the entrance area, practically dug into the slopes of Haleakala.
2. No other schools besides Kalani and Kaimuki offered their facilities for the D-II state tourney.
“That’s why they offered — so they could (possibly) host,” Chun noted. “It was part of the condition.”
The flip side of hosting is that the consolation games in D-II are also played at those sites. Those games don’t draw well, so the concession stands aren’t busy, either.
• Here are some previously unpublished quotes from Jerry Campany, who covered the Maryknoll-Baldwin and Mililani-Farrington games last night.
Farrington coach Alan Silva on the last play:
“We wanted to stop them from penetrating and getting a shot. Jacob McEnroe played really good, did not foul him. That was the key, do not foul the 3-point shooter. That’s game if you foul him.”
To McEnroe: Did Mililani wake you guys up?
“I actually woke up a long time ago, I have been woke up. I was just trying to get my team together because they were kind of nervous. We havent been playing since Thursday, since the championship game, so let’s just get used to it. Get the blood pumping, everybody got their nerves going, second half we got that run again and it helped.”
Mililani coach Ed Gonzales on the last shot.
“We could have actually tried to take it closer to the basket. We were thinking Farrington was going to foul us, they only had five team fouls, so really Noel (Bueno) probably should have just penetrated, usually he would just penetrate. cannot help it, though, we gave it a good shot.
Forward Tyson Kanoa on Maryknoll:
“Throughout the whole game we were getting kind of rowdy so I told the team we had to keep our composure.”
Tyson on Baldwin’s shooting:
“Oh, man, they just would not stop. We had to calm down on offense, we were forcing a lot of shots and we had to stop their transition game so we could get in their face.”
Kaleb Gilmore on his concussion:
“I lost the ball and I tried getting it, I turned around and the guy was right there and my head hit his chest and it was like whiplash. I didn’t see it coming.”
Kaleb on Baldwin:
“Oh, God, No. 23 (Ryan Garces), the lefty, out of nowhere he just started hitting when they needed it. We just had to stay together, which we did, and we had to get some points, which we did, and it all worked out.
Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant on Baldwin:
“33 (Philip Thomas) was leaning on his 3-point shots and hitting them, that’s a pure shooter. 23, the lefty, they are taught well on how to move without the ball.”
Grant on Teva Eldredge:
“I thought the difference was Teva going down. It made a difference, he is the presence underneath the basket. It changes the formations and the substitution patterns the coach has to put in.”
Grant on Kaleb:
“They were doing concussion testing over there, so I thought he was going to be gone, when he came and said he was going to be available I waited for a situation when we were going to be on offense so I can rest him on defense.”