(Here’s an extended version of Thursday’s opening-round games at the Jimmy Alegre Classic. A slightly smaller story ran in this morning’s Star-Advertiser.)
With his shooting hand bandaged up and just one full week of basketball practice, Makoa Camanse-Stevens should’ve been a rusty soldier on the hardwood.
Instead, the standout quarterback showed that he’s ready to lead a Kamehameha block part this winter. The 6-foot-4 guard scored 18 points, draining four 3-point shots, and swatted five shots as Kamehameha pulled away for a 47-33 win in the opening round of the Jimmy Alegre Classic at Radford High School.
“I felt like I wanted to come out and have a new role, be a leader out there for the younger guys,” said Camanse-Stevens, who changed his jersey number from 22 to 11, which matches his football number.
Julian Nakanishi’s squad used swarming halfcourt traps resulted in 12 steals. Leilehua finished with 20 turnovers. It was the same busy defense as last year’s squad, but the offense is different without sharpshooter Dyrbe Enos, now at UH.
“Dyrbe was the best player in the state. It’s hard to replace him,” Camanse-Stevens said.
They might make up for it with defense, using athletic bigs to run the floor. In all, the Warriors had seven blocks in their first game of nonconference play. Though they shot just 33 percent from long range (6-for-18), Camanse-Stevens hit back-to-back treys on feeds from Austin Gerard as Kamehameha opened a 27-18 lead in the third quarter.
“Whenever I call his name, he finds me. We have that connection, just like football, except in basketball he gets me the ball,” Camanse-Stevens said of the wide receiver.
The Mules rallied to within 32-31 on Torenzo Vereen’s follow shot with 5:49 remaining, but Thordan Latu scored the next four points for the Warriors. After Gerard scored on a steal and Noa Kinimaka hit a wide-open 3 from the left corner, the lead was 41-31 and the Mules never threatened again.
Leilehua shot 29 percent from the field (14-for-48). Fifteen offensive rebounds helped the Mules stay close. They outrebounded Kamehameha 33-20.
Latu finished with nine points.
Vereen led Leilehua with 10 points and Troy Ross added nine.
Pearl City 41, McKinley 39 — Isaac Amorin swished two free throws with 11.2 seconds to lift the Chargers into the semifinals.
Trailing 41-39, the Tigers then pushed the ball upcourt against fullcourt man pressure and got the ball to freshman Dan Villejo, who drove through the middle for a tough layup. However, he ran into Pearl City’s Daicorri Briscoe, who took the charge, wiping Villejo’s basket away with 3 seconds left.
It was a rare defensive highlight for Briscoe, who is one of the state’s top wide receivers on the football field.
“I was scared (the official) might call a blocking foul,” said Briscoe, who led the Chargers with 12 points.
Brennan Waters paced McKinley with seven points.
Punahou 67, Roosevelt 37 — Randon Oda scored 11 points to lead a balanced Buffanblu attack. Daniel Andrews added nine points, while Kanawai Noa and Micah Ma‘a added eight apiece.
Mick Colling and Henry Maumalanga led Roosevelt with seven points each.
Moanalua 40, Radford 26 — Ola Brown scored 10 points and Justin Hudcovic added six as Na Menehune topped their neighboring rival.
Jamaree Jackson led the young Rams with five points. Radford was 5-for-11 at the foul line. Moanalua was 16-for-28.