Stan Sheriff Center
11 a.m. McKinley 45, Leilehua 41 (consolation)
1 p.m. Baldwin 59, Waiakea 52 (consolation)
3 p.m. Kalaheo 58, Lahainaluna 51 (consolation)
5 p.m. ‘Iolani vs. Kaiser (semifinal)
7 p.m. Kahuku vs. Punahou (semifinal)
It’s the first game of consolation play on Day 3 of the OC-16/HHSAA Boys Basketball Division I State Championships. The semifinal round is coming tonight (5 p.m. and 7 p.m.). Until then, it’s three consolation games for six teams fortunate enough to get one chance to play at Stan Sheriff Center.
Some ramblings and meanderings of a pupule hoopaholic.
Leilehua vs. McKinley, 11 a.m.
This is not the usual daytime game featuring platoon-style rotations of second- and third-string players. These have been two solid teams all season long. McKinley has dealt with injuries (Dan Villejo returned at midseason from an offseason knee injury) and Leilehua has been virtually difficult for all opponents from Day 1 of preseason. I think of the Mules and Lahainaluna in a similar vein. Tall, tough, long, just enough perimeter shooting to keep defenses honest. And Leilehua beat Lahainaluna in preseason.
Leilehua led 15-13 after one quarter, but the Tigers unleashed their fullcourt press and now lead 21-17. Huthifa Abdel Jawad sparked the run with a 22-foot trey over Leilehua’s zone. PG Joseph Gouty hit a couple of long threes early but has been on the bench for a long stretch since.
The Mules are playing without 6-foot-6 center Koa Kauhi, who has ice on his left knee and a pair of crutches at his side. McKinley is without center Mark Burke, who is not even on the bench today. At 6-5 and built like a tank, he has a lot of potential. They missed him dearly in that 43-40 first-round loss to Baldwin.
Coach Russ Fitzgerald playing a lot of his reserves in this quarter. Tigers up 23-17.
Nice drive by Villejo from the top of the key, to the wing and through traffic for a layup with :02 left to give McKinley a 25-19 lead at the break. Gouty returned for the final 2 minutes or so of the half and drove against McKinley’s zone to draw contact. He’s a difference maker, as usual. But Leilehua is not the same without Kauhi.
Tigers get another 3 from Abdel Jawad and the lead is 33-21. Mules still rolling in a lot of reserves, though Gouty, Fitzgerald and A.J. Gainwell are on the floor. This is the last hurrah for both teams. Tomorrow’s play dates here at the Stanley are reserved for the D-I final, third- and fifth-place games, and D-II’s three games.
Leilehua opened the second half with a 1-2-2 zone. Now, late in the third, they’re trapping the wings and corners, using their length.
Gainwell sinks a wing 3 and the Mules are down 33-26 after three quarters.
Gouty is playing on a sore ankle, but he’s playing big. Tough basket on a drive, then hits a 3 to bring Leilehua within 33-31. McKinley gets two fastbreak baskets in a row, 37-31.
Kyle Moraga, the Tigers’ sophomore guard, slices through the zone for a bank shot. Then Gouty drives, shot capped but a foul called, non-shooting. The 10 McKinley fans behind me can’t stand it. One of the awesome things about this arena and Blaisdell is that when the arena is mostly empty, anyone talking in the seats can be heard. By everyone else.
Mules using a 1-3-1 zone extended to halfcourt, forcing another Tiger turnover. Mules advance, ball to Nicholas Duran on the left wing. He travels, but officials rule that Coach Fitzgerald had called a time out first. Tigers lead the Mules 39-35, 3:35.
Frantic exchange. Fitzgerald’s pass deflected, Gouty recovers the loose ball, drives and misses a contested layup. Villejo rebounds and goes coast to coast for a slow-motion runner on the left side off the glass, avoiding a charge. Then Fitzgerald swishes a wing 3. Time out, Mules, 41-38, 2:07.
Mules drop the 1-3-1 and are in halfcourt man. Abdel Jawad fouled, hits the first FT with 1:35 left. Tigers 42-38. Second FT good, 43-38.
Tigers get a stop on Duran’s miss from the corner, but Jeremy Caluyo tries a wild reverse layup that touches glass, no rim. Gouty with a behind-the-back shovel pass to Fitzgerald, who elevates and swishes a 21-foot 3. Time out, Mules. Tigers lead 43-41 with :30.7 left.
Mules have only four team fouls. Seventh foul finally comes with :12.8 left. Moraga at the line for 1-and-1. Knocks down the first FT, 44-41. Second FT long. Mules are under pressure, Gouty and Fitzgerald covered. Ball swings to Duran in the corner, but Moraga contests and the double-pump jumper is an air ball. Villejo fouled with :00.2 left. He hits the first, 45-41. Second is short, game over.
Good stuff for consolation play. Two good programs with outstanding student-athletes and coaches.
Waiakea vs. Baldwin, 1 p.m.
This is a very interesting matchup for guys like me who enjoy watching what the BIIF and MIL bring to the state tourney.
At this point of the season, game times are set in stone, which is great because I forgot one of my video camera adaptors and had to run home between games. I got to see these teams the past couple of days and I’m liking this matchup because it will go to the final buzzer. I’m calling it. A veteran Baldwin staff (Wayne Gushiken, Jon Garcia) against a coaching staff from a generation ago (Paul Lee, Brandon Kauhi, etc.). Traditions continue, good traditions.
Fast pace. Nice. Unlike last night, when Waiakea opted to stay back defensively — Coach Lee said later he wanted to avoid foul trouble — the Warriors are going all out here. Full-court pressing, which is intriguing because this Baldwin team likes to run at every opportunity. They SPRINT on the fast break whether it’s Taje Akaka going coast to coast or his teammates on the run. Baldwin with a lot of missed layups, but they trail just 7-6.
Injury time out, 4:18.
Both teams rotating reserves liberally. Quarter ends tied at 15. It’s a little more entertaining than usual. Barry Helle and son Jordan are doing the radio broadcast back to Maui, seated directly to my right. Now it’s UH volleyball voice Tiff Wells to my right. I guess I’m not the only hoopaholic interested in this game between the MIL runner-up and the BIIF champs.
Baldwin sticking with fullcourt man. Chayse Akaka’s follow shot makes it Bears 17-15. Waiakea did not box out at all in the first quarter whether it was the starters or reserves. Baldwin could run away with this if it starts making 3-footers.
6-0 run by the Bears and they lead 23-17. Coach Lee calls time out with 4:14 left.
Waiakea with a lot of wild shots (runners in traffic) and Baldwin just knocking down FTs. Lead is up to 29-22, 2:04 left.
Half ends with Baldwin ahead 33-27.
Warriors hanging in there, still pressing. Baldwin leads 38-33, time out Bears with 4:35 left after throwing a backcourt pass out of bounds.
Coach Lee whistled for a technical after disputing a travel call made against the Warriors. Bears hit two FTs and the lead is 42-35 with 2:45 left in the third.
Every time Waiakea gets within five, they can’t get a stop. Quarter ends with Baldwin up 45-37.
Baldwin leads 51-41 with 5:15 left.
Time out, Baldwin. Bears lead 53-43, 3:34.
Mattos with some nice moves and scores. Baldwin leads 55-47, 2:06. Waiakea bringing heavy pressure all over. Gushiken calls time out with 1:56 left.
Mattos with a steal and layup, then Baldwin called for a 5-second violation on the inbounds play. But Waiakea takes an off-balance mid-range J. Air ball.
Kaiama at the foul line. Hits the first, 56-49 with :53.9 left. Second FT good. 57-49.
Mattos launches and hits a corner 3 after a wild sequence, great hustle by the Warriors. 57-52, :25.8 left.
Baldwin inbounds: slip, steps out of bounds. Warriors ball, :24.6. Waiakea inbounds, a slip, turnover and Baldwin scores, 59-52.
FINAL: Baldwin 59, Waiakea 52.
Kalaheo vs. Lahainaluna, 3 p.m.
Fascinating matchup between two fairly young teams with coaches who are fairly new to their programs. Kalaheo is playing a whole lot of reserves today and leads 12-8 after one quarter. Some fullcourt pressure, 2-3 matchup zone on defense.
Lunas call time out, down 14-8 with 6:25 left in the second. These are the champions of the MIL and OIA, respectively. Captain Whitlock, Kalaheo’s usual starting PG, sat the first quarter.
Whitlock swishes his first shot, a straightaway 3. Kekai Smith not a factor so far, forced up a few shots against these tall Lunas near the basket.
Fastbreak buckets by Smith and Andrew Kearney extend the lead to 27-19. The half ends 27-21, Kalaheo ahead.
Whitlock splashes a wing 3 off the break to open the second half, but Lahainaluna gets an old-fashioned three-point play. Kalaheo 30-24.
Kearney with a three-point play on an and-1 fast break layup. 33-24. Big game for Kearney so far. Whitlock fouled, hits two FTs, 35-24. Kela Thomas all net from the left corner, Kalaheo 38-24. It’s an 11-3 run to start the second half for the Mustangs.
Lunas hit a FT, but Whitlock hits a 3 from the wing after trailing the initial transition push. Kalaheo 41-25. Now it’s an easy layup for Abel Kanehe on the break and Lahainaluna calls time out. They’re using a lot of reserves and they’re out of sync. Time out, Lunas, 3:55.
Lunas trail 46-31 but getting a lot of valuable playing time for next year’s team. Iverson Turno (sophomore) hit a nice pull-up baseline J. Freshman Reece Pascua very composed at the point. 6-5 junior Gage Johnson settling in. Long and persistent on the offensive glass. The third quarter ends with Kalaheo up 46-33.
Huge hustle play by Smith, who swats a Lunas fast break layup off the glass, and Ryan Pardini pushes upcourt before hitting Whitlock for a corner 3, splash. Whitlock’s fifth trey of the game (5-for-8, mahalo to the HHSAA for the instant stats!). Then Smith drives hard on the break and scores. His three-point play makes it 52-33.
Also in the game and playing fairly solid is junior Jeremi Santos for the Lunas. The five on the court right now: Turno, Jefferson Locke (6-4 junior), Gage, Santos and Tavaki Faleta (6-2 junior). Hope to see these guys in preseason tourney play on Oahu next winter. Could be another good Lunas team. Great?
I have a theory about the highly structured way Baldwin and Lahainaluna play. If the five guys are seniors and highly skilled, yes, they can reach the final. But I don’t know if they can win a state title? Why?
I don’t know if their coaches are willing to be flexible and let their best shooters take the most shots. It sounds preposterous, I know. And what Gushiken and Garcia have done at Baldwin for DECADES goes against what I’m theorizing, true. But I’m not saying their system or the Lunas’ system is flawed. On the contrary. Because their players are so good at executing a disciplined system, they should be able to run anything, really.
Look at Kalaheo. First-year coach in Rob Pardini. He has certain sets offensively, but he gives Whitlock the green light every game. Whitlock has shot eight 3-pointers and he didn’t play the first quarter.
Lahainaluna took six 3-point shots as a team in the first three quarters. Against a 2-3 zone. Maybe it’s more about offensive philosophy and it’s probably true that I’ve been too obsessed with the 3-point shot since the days of LMU and even before there was a 3-point shot, when I saw Farrington run and press and let incredible sharpshooters like Leo Leopoldo rain 22-footers all night.
Then again, if Baldwin and Lahainaluna feel like they don’t have uniquely accurate 3-point shooters, then they shouldn’t feel compelled to alter their systems or call plays that set up long-range gunners. Lahainaluna won the MIL and is a state title contender and that should be enough, right? Same with Baldwin, right?
I’m nitpicking. My apologies.
Layi injures an ankle and leaves.
Lunas on a 10-0 run in the past 3 minutes, cutting this to 52-45. Fullcourt and halfcourt pressure. I LIKE. 2:55 left. Locke with the fast break layup and foul. Missed FT by Locke, hustle play and it’s off Kalaheo. Lunas ball.
Kalaheo gets a stop, scores on a layup, then Whitlock steals the inbounds pass and banks a basket in. Kalaheo up 56-45, time out Lunas, 1:56. They had Kalaheo on the ropes a bit. The winner of this game will play Baldwin tomorrow, 11 a.m., in the fifth-place game. The loser is pau.
Smith gets picked at midcourt, Lunas shoot FTs and make one. Fast break layup by Turno cuts it to 56-48. Now Smith dribbles up the sideline and steps out. Lunas ball with :52.9 left. Time out.
Locke finally hits a 3, this one from the top, 56-51, :21.1.
Whitlock at the line for 1-and-1, :15.8. Short. Layi in the game and he battles for the board, out of bounds off Lunas. Inbounds pass stolen by Faleta, who looked like a great safety on that leap. Fouled by Layi. Faleta shooting two, :13 left. First FT misses. Second shot off.
Whitlock to the line with :06.8 left. Hits the first. Hits the second. 58-51.
Final: Kalaheo 58, Lahainaluna 51.