It was an ILH-OIA showdown that turned out to be a runaway.
Maryknoll looked like Golden State Lite on Monday night, hitting nine 3-pointers en route to a runaway 67-34 win over OIA powerhouse Kapolei at the Black and Gold Classic. Jaylen Cain had six of his 12 points in the first quarter, and Isiah Gelacio swished four treys for 12 points.
The Spartans (5-0) had shown they could pound the ball inside earlier in the tournament, using size and height advantages. Against the tall, long Hurricanes, they operated with a high post instead of a low post and the basketball never stopped moving. Six Spartans sank at least one 3-pointer, and Maryknoll’s bench brought a decisive edge, scoring 17 points as a group.
Cain and reserve swingman Peyton Grant took turns guarding Kapolei’s stellar wing, Zoar Nedd, who had just five points in the first half.
“We did well on defense. We didn’t gamble,” Cain said. “Our coaches reminded us to stay in front of our man.”
Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant is seeing his team grow up. Last year’s junior-heavy squad appears to be in mid-season form already.
“We kind of know their patterns,” Grant said. “I’m surprised they didn’t get the ball to (Nedd) more. He was open and they didn’t hit him.”
Kapolei (2-1) was content to sit in a 2-3 zone, and for the first 8 minutes it seemed to work. Maryknoll shot just 2-for-10 from deep, but led 14-1 as Kapolei shot 0-for-6 from the field against the Spartans’ scrappy man-to-man defense.
Maryknoll then went 4-for-6 from the arc in the second quarter and opened a 36-10 lead by halftime. Whether it was passing from the high post or drive-and-kick vision, just about all of the Spartans were happy to share the ball. They shot 9-for-23 from deep (39 percent) for the game.
“That’s something we talked about since summer time,” Grant said. “Keeping our eyes up, and if you get it past the first level, don’t put up a bad shot. Find someone and pass it.”
Marcus Tobin, a 6-foot-7 junior, was smooth with his mid-range jumpers.
“If Marcus cam hit that 15-foot jumper consistently, it’ll be hard to defend us,” Grant added.
Nedd led Kapolei with 17 points and eight rebounds. No other ‘Cane scored more than five points. Point guard Isiah Higa sat out with an ankle injury.
“I was wondering why he wasn’t playing. He makes a huge difference,” Grant said.
Maryknoll doesn’t play for another 17 days before meeting Kaiser on Dec. 14. The Spartans then play Greensboro Day (N.C.) on Dec. 16 at the ‘Iolani Classic
Kapolei doesn’t play until Dec. 16 against Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) at the ‘Iolani Classic.