Kalaheo boys basketball coach Rob Pardini didn’t have to go see his neighborhood spell chanter Game of Thrones-style to come up with a way to compete with top-seeded Kahuku.
His plan to deal with Goliath and its three-headed offensive juggernaut — Jessiya Villa, Samuta Avea and Dan Fotu — was wise: Keep Villa in front, nearby defenders sag in pack line style, and the same for Avea. Crush Fotu on the block. Most importantly, give the other Red Raiders room to shoot.
“We wanted Kesi to shoot,” Pardini said of Kesi Ah-Hoy, one of Kahuku’s stellar defenders.
Ah-Hoy was ready. The 6-foot football standout — he signed with Oregon State two weeks ago — knocked down three of his four 3-point tries in the first quarter as the Red Raiders zoomed to a 23-9 lead and never looked back. He finished with 17 points, all in the first half. Kahuku went on to win handily, 87-45, and advanced to the semifinal round of the Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships.
Pardini’s blueprint was solid, but now opposing coaches have to deal with the reality that Ah-Hoy will knock down that shot when the first three options in Kahuku’s offense are taken away.
“Jessiya (Villa) didn’t score in the first quarter,” Pardini said, though Villa managed to score four points on 1-for-7 shooting early.
The point is well taken, though. Villa and Avea combined for just six points in the first quarter. Fotu had eight. those are numbers most opponents would be happy with.
“But their other guys stepped up,” Pardini said.
Kalaheo shot 6-for-24 from the field against Kahuku’s man-to-man defense, including 2-for-12 from 3-point range. Kahuku had a 20-13 edge on the boards.