Coach Dean Shimamoto chatted with Jason Kaneshiro after ‘Iolani’s 53-45 loss to Kalaheo in the title game of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships on Saturday night at Stan Sheriff Center.
The Raiders won the state crown in 2014.
“We had our ups and down this season but with every down I thought we made an adjustment, we learned something we got a little bit better and at the end of the season we were playing our best basketball. Unfortunately, that just wasn’t enough. It was almost there but not enough.”
On the Raiders’ big rally in the second half (they got within one point):
“It’s been the same thing over the last three games, we’ve been down early in every game. So we weren’t in an unfamiliar position. The last three days was just take it one possession at a time, one stop at a time, one bucket at a time. We made a little run, we got it within one late and gave ourselves a chance, so proud of the guys for fighting like that.
We couldn’t get the big stop or the big bucket that we needed. The last couple days we were able to get that bucket and get that one point and it kind of turned the tide because then we’re not the ones chasing anymore. This game, one basket here, one basket there makes all the difference.”
On Kaleb Gilmore, Kalaheo’s high-scoring guard:
“They’re a heady seasoned ream and well-coached and Kaleb’s an incredible player. I had to deal with him for four years already, three years at Maryknoll and another time in the state final. We knew he was an incredible player and he had an incredible night.”
On ‘Iolani’s growth this season:
“Even a guy like Erik (Yamada) had to step into a new role, he had to be little mot more assertive, be a little bit more of a scorer than he was last year. I think a lot of our guys were in different roles this season and it took the whole season for them to progress and get to this point. So they put in a lot of hard work, unfortunately we couldn’t end it the way they wanted to but I’m really proud of those guys.”
On sticking to their style:
“That’s been our hallmark all season. It was one more basket, one more stop and we could be the champions too. But they (Kalaheo) finished, they got the job done.”