Ethan Erickson scored 13 points, including a go-ahead follow shot with 2:28 left, as Kahuku rallied for a 50-47 win over Roosevelt on Friday night at the Rough Riders’ gym.
Marcus Damuni led Kahuku with 15 points. The Red Raiders have pulled themselves out of the lower levels of the OIA East and are now 3-3 (12-7 overall) with close wins over Kalani and now Roosevelt.
“Fourth quarter, you can see how good we can be. We played great defense and our offense, we were patient and pounded it inside,” Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana said. “But we were down 10 in the third quarter. We’re starting to come along. Guys are getting in shape and it’s not how you start, but how you finish. And we’ve got five more (OIA East) games left.”
Erickson’s hustle play made it 48-47 for Kahuku, which trailed 40-30 entering the final quarter. Robbie Sauvao later connected on two clutch free throws for the final margin. Roosevelt’s Micah Visoria, covered closely by Sauvao, missed on a last-second 3-point try that would have tied the game.
“That’s two straight close losses to close teams. We missed 10 layups and shot 3-for-8 at the line in the fourth quarter,” Roosevelt coach Steve Hathaway said. “Christmas is over. We’ve got to stop giving.”
Roosevelt had one of its better performances in a season of peaks and valleys. Down 28-25 in the third quarter, Roosevelt went on a 15-2 run to close the third. Christopher Lee hit a 3 to spark the run. In the end, Kahuku was resilient on both ends, playing strong defense despite going over the foul limit.
Visoria led Roosevelt (10-7, 3-4 OIA East) with 11 points and Ty Shishido tallied 10. While Hathaway lamented his team’s fourth-quarter fade, the Rough Riders are clearly playing better basketball now.
Likewise, Kahuku’s progress is incremental.
“We take a little longer to hit our stride. Roosevelt played great, I thought, but toward the end we got some great stops,” Akana said, crediting the perimeter defense of Sauvao and Thorton Alapa.
There’s room to grow, naturally.
“Because we count on these seniors, but when we get into foul trouble, we have to get deeper into the bench. Lokana Enos had two quick fouls and had to sit most of the first half. He’s a junior, and he doesn’t usually get in foul trouble,” Akana added.
The Red Raiders close the regular season next week with Anuenue, Castle and McKinley.
“We’re going to treat these games the same. We have three games against the lower three games in the standings, but we have to come out there and play how we want to play, and get some momentum for the playoffs,” he said.