In 41 sets of ILH and state-tourney play, Punahou had won 40.
The only discrepancy on the resume of the six-time defending champion came on Mar. 29, when Maryknoll took a set in Punahou’s four-game win. On Friday night, coach Rick Tune weighed his team’s situation and emptied the bench.
By design, Punahou played reserves exclusively in the second set, kept most of the court occupied by subs in the third and went back to the starting lineup for the fourth in a 25-13, 25-15, 22-25, 25-14 win over BIIF champion Kealakehe in the semifinal round of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships at Moanalua’s gym.
The Buffanblu hit .421 for the match and Kealakehe hit .229. Punahou outblocked the Waveriders 16-3
“The guys gave a great effort tonight. All in all, it was a positive outing,” Tune said as his team improved to 15-0 in regular season and state-tourney play. “We cleaned up a lot of those things that we wanted to clean up from the first match and our second-team guys were able to get some substantial court time.”
The reserve crew was solid against coach Kahinu Lee‘s Waveriders, who have a strong outside hitter in Anthony Trevino (17 kills), one ace. Isaiah Hooper held his own, as well, with 10 kills and two aces. He had five kills and both of the aces in the third set when the ‘Riders extended the match by stifling each rally attempt by the Buffanblu.
A few sideouts after falling behind 10-3 in that third set, Punahou sent starting outside hitter Ryan Wilcox back in. The Buffanblu didn’t regain full momentum until the fourth set.
“They performed through set two and just got a little complacent in set three,” Tune said. “It’s a great lesson to learn about how you have to be intentional about every possession. You can’t just be willing to trade points.”
Here’s a look at what Kealakehe did against Punahou’s starters, and then Punahou’s reserves.
Punahou hit .550 with just two hitting errors. They had just one ace with four service errors, and just one block. Kealakehe mustered a .056 hitting percentage (four hitting errors) with no aces, one service error and no blocks.
The Buffanblu reserves hit .364 with a mere two hitting errors, and outblocked Kealakehe 5-0. The Waveriders hit .000 with four hitting errors, but had a minor edge in aces, 1-0.
Here, the effect of Kealakehe’s starting talent was obvious. Trevino had six kills in this set, and with setter Ikaika Pali in a rhythm, Kealakehe gained confidence even as Wilcox entered — and collected nine kills. Wilcox hit .643 in the set while the rest of the Buffanblu hit .222. Kealakehe got the edge in aces, 2-0, and didn’t have a service error, which helped make up the gap. Punahou outblocked Kealakehe again, 4-2.
It was almost unfair the way setter Jameson McKibbin could deftly back set to the back row, right side, where Kana‘i Akana swung away with five of his 11 kills. Punahou had four of their five aces in this set — two by McKibbin, one by Davis Lay and one by Akana.
Alaka‘i Todd also got his swings in with three of his five kills in the fourth. McKibbin finished with 25 assists and reserve Alfred Tufono added 16. Claudio Clini was busy with three of his four blocks in the fourth.
To be sure, there was no lobbying even in a joking way by any of Punahou’s starters. With most of them sitting the second and third sets, it was about the mission: getting some rest for starters, getting court time for their second unit, and buying into the game plan.
“We wanted to take a look at our pin block and take a look at cleaning up our back-row defense around it. We felt yesterday we were out of position a number of times. It cost us some points. Some easy freebies,” Tune said, referring to their quarterfinal match against Mililani. “We can’t do that against Moanalua tomorrow.”
Punahou has won 35 boys volleyball state championships, including eight of the past nine under Tune.
|1||April 30||Mililani vs. Maui||Mil 25-17, 25-20, 19-25, 25-17||Maui|
|2||April 30||Waipahu vs. Kaiser||Waip 25-23, 26-24, 21-25, 18-25, 16-14||Kaiser|
|3||April 30||KS-Hawaii vs. Waianae||KSH 25-27, 25-22, 25-23, 23-25, 18-16||KS-Hawaii|
|4||April 30||'Iolani vs. Kapolei||Iol 25-17, 25-9, 25-21||'Iolani|
|5||May 3||(4) KS-Maui vs. 'Iolani||Iol 25-21, 25-17, 25-16||McKinley|
|6||May 3||(2) Moanalua vs. KS-Hawaii||Moan 25-15, 25-21, 25-9||McKinley|
|7||May 3||(4) Kealakehe vs. Waipahu||Keal 25-17, 20-25, 25-16, 25-14||Moanalua|
|8||May 3||(1) Punahou vs. Mililani||Pun 25-12, 25-21, 25-10||Moanalua|
|9*||May 4||KS-Maui vs. KS-Hawaii||KSM 25-23, 26-24||McKinley|
|10*||May 4||Waipahu vs. Mililani||Mil 23-25, 27-25, 15-10||McKinley|
|11||May 4||'Iolani vs. Moanalua||Moan 25-15, 33-35, 29-27, 26-24||Moanalua|
|12||May 4||Kealakehe vs. Punahou||Pun 25-13, 25-15, 22-25, 25-14||Moanalua|
|13*||May 5||KS-Maui vs. Mililani||Maui 23-25, 26-24, 15-11||Blaisdell Arena|
|14*||May 5||'Iolani vs. Kealakehe||Iol 25-18, 25-22||Blaisdell Arnea|
|15||May 5||Moanalua vs. Punahou||Pun 25-19, 25-16, 25-21||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|
|1||May 3||(4) Hawaii Prep vs. Pearl City||PC 25-23, 25-23, 25-19||St. Francis|
|2||May 3||(1) Kapaa vs. University||Kap 25-19, 25-20, 19-25, 19-25, 15-8||St. Francis|
|3||May 3||(2) St. Francis vs. Konawaena||StF 25-17, 25-17, 25-21||Kalani|
|4||May 3||(3) Molokai vs. Kalani||Mol 25-23, 17-25, 25-19, 27-29, 15-10||Kalani|
|5*||May 4||University vs. Hawaii Prep||HPA 28-26, 21-25, 15-8||Kalani|
|6*||May 4||Konawaena vs. Kalani||Kaln 23-25, 26-24, 15-7||Kalani|
|7||May 4||Kapaa vs. Pearl City||Kap 25-19, 26-24, 25-14||St. Francis|
|8||May 4||St. Francis vs. Molokai||StF 25-22, 15-25, 27-25, 21-25, 16-14||St. Francis|
|9*||May 5||Hawaii Prep vs. Kalani||HPA, 21-25, 25-20, 15-10||Blaisdell Arena|
|10*||May 5||Pearl City vs. Molokai||PC 25-22, 25-17||Blaisdell Arena|
|11||May 5||Kapaa vs. St. Francis||StF, 15-25, 19-25, 25-18, 25-19, 15-12||Blaisdell Arena|
|* — consolation|