Even in defeat, St. Francis shows it belonged

St. Francis senior Kameron Ng scored 22 points in his final game of the season as the Saints came up one or two missed shots short of making the D-I state tournament. Photo by Jay Metzger/Special to the Star-Advertiser.

Trailing by as many as 14 in the second half against perennial powerhouse ‘Iolani in Division I boys basketball, the St. Francis Saints were a shot or two away from making the state tournament.

St. Francis cut the deficit to two in the final four minutes and had three shots to either tie or take the lead. Then they had four different 3-point looks on the same offensive possession to cut the lead to one in the final minute.

None of them went in and the end result was a 52-47 loss to the host Raiders to see the season come to an end.

‘Iolani (9-7) goes on to the state tournament as the third team from the ILH. The league put three teams into the big dance for the first time since 2012 because the two-time defending Division II state champion Saints decided to move up to Division I this season.

‘Iolani coach Dean Shimamoto had high praise for St. Francis after his group barely survived against the Saints, who proved all season they belonged in D-I.

“St. Francis has probably two of the best guards in the state. Super hyper-skilled and they can hit shots from anywhere. You can never count them out,” Shimamoto said. “They brought another dimension to the league. They made the league tremendously tougher. There was no rest any night.”

After finishing .500 in league play at 6-6, the Saints survived two elimination games, including a 57-46 win over the same ‘Iolani team on Monday to force Wednesday’s tiebreaker for the state berth.

Ranked No. 6 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10, they will be the highest-ranked Division I squad not to make the state tournament.

“It was a good (season). We were short on guys this year but we played really good basketball at the end of the season,” senior Kameron Ng said. “It’s too bad we couldn’t get to the state tournament but life goes on … The sun comes up tomorrow and it will be a good day tomorrow.”

Ng, who scored 20 of his game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter of Monday’s win, had 15 of his 22 in the second half on Wednesday.

He swished back-to-back 3’s in the span of 39 seconds to cut ‘Iolani’s lead to 47-45 with 4:16 remaining.

He had three chances to either tie or give St. Francis the lead but lost the ball going up once and had two other shots not go in.

‘Iolani senior Kawika Lee converted both ends of a 1-and-1 around an Ng layup and St. Francis missed four looks at a 3-pointer down four in the final minute.

‘Iolani finally secured the rebound with 1.8 seconds remaining and Lee made his fifth free throw in a row before intentionally missing the last one.

“They schemed better this game and had two guys on me every time I had the ball,” Ng said. “I was expecting that but I just didn’t hit the shots tonight.”

‘Iolani shot 4-for-28 from 3-point range in Monday’s loss and rebounded hitting eight of its first 10 looks from distance.

Lee and Sam Wheeler combined for seven 3-pointers and 29 points in the first half and Noah Bumanglag’s layup as time expired gave ‘Iolani a 36-22 lead at the break.

Ng, who scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, converted a 3-point play with the Saints down 14 and Titus Liu nailed his third 3-pointer of the game to cut the deficit to 10 after three quarters.

Kordel Ng, who finished with 15 points, three assists, three steals and two blocks, scored on a steal and layup to cut the ‘Iolani lead to 45-39 and then draw a key charge on Lee that set up Kameron Ng’s back-to-back 3’s, forcing ‘Iolani to call timeout.

The Raiders then got stops on five of the final six St. Francis possessions to close it out.

“We’re playing our best basketball at the right time but that first half just put us in a hole,” St. Francis coach Ron Durant said. “We were down 14 and came out not with our heads down. (‘Iolani) was hitting shots with our hands in their face. I didn’t think it was a lack of defense.”

Wheeler finished with 16 points and combined with Lee for 40 of ‘Iolani’s 52 points.

“We were playing our tempo and our type of game and saw the 3’s start to fall,” Shimamoto said. “When we get into that mode we can be really tough.”


  1. Javon blackshere February 13, 2019 9:17 pm

    Only way to stop the Ng boys is to throw 2-3 guys at the every time. Those guys are warriors I’d take them to run any team any day. Good note is the senior can now rehab his ankle and get healthy once again.

  2. SpartanNation February 14, 2019 4:30 am

    There are many players playing with injuries….we just aren’t as dramatic as others….shooting 30 plus times per game doesn’t make you a great scorer….being able to shoot a high percentage, SHARE the ball so that you don’t take ill advised shots, and being able to pull it out in the big games does….like I’ve posted before, you guys keep scoring up, we will just keep winning championships…..now what you going write about, since the Ng’s are done????

  3. Sweaty Murphy February 14, 2019 7:29 am

    Has anyone ever heard of a case in Hawaii prep basketball where the returning Gatorade Player of the Year was ousted from the state tournament the following season? This is a first to me.

  4. One Team February 14, 2019 9:34 am

    Both games were Ng brothers highlight reels, amazing contested 3’s, pin-point jumpers and lay ups from so wide you didn’t know how they went in… 2 of the most entertaining games…..kudos to Raiders for hanging tough and playing well under pressure.

  5. Beau Tosaka February 14, 2019 1:43 pm

    @ One Team

    It makes a difference in being able to take those types of shots in the game without consequence of coming out. The Ngs weren’t ever coming out of the game regardless of how good or bad they shot or how close the game was or not. Look at the shooting % of the La Lumiere game for example. I’m sure if any decently skilled player is allowed to take 20 shots, they’re bound to have some highlights.

  6. Ouch February 14, 2019 7:56 pm

    @ SpartanNation

    We will keep winning championships…
    What championships you talking about?
    ILH or States?
    The real championship is States. I can’t remember when was the last time you guys WON ONE.

  7. Punavision February 14, 2019 9:20 pm

    Never seen so many adults hate on a high school player he’s one of the best players we’ve in a while. Don’t hate, he’s also changing the culture in Hawaii hoops. I know many kids on our campus that look up to him. Hard worker and plays with a ton of heart. Some adults need to get a life and find something better to do than to hate on a high school student athlete.

  8. One Team February 15, 2019 8:38 am

    Got to respond, KiNg Sr shot 32-56 (57% pretty darn good) in those 2 games, comparing to La Lumiere (25-0 #1 in country, could double team all game long) where he shot 32% (OK) is just not right. Going to miss watching him, passionate and dedicated kid with skill and BB IQ off the charts.

  9. IMUA Nation! February 15, 2019 9:26 am

    Punavision? OR SFvision!

    Although I agree hardworker and heart! But! What turns a lot of people off is the fact that they got all their accolades going the EASY ROUTE!! First, moving down from D1 after playing one year in hopes he’ll grow taller. Second, received GPOY while playing on the lower level where many D1 players could achieve if they played down (EASY ROUTE). Third, moved back up to D1 level when it’s less competitive (again EASY ROUTE). SF wouldn’t of stand a chance playing D1 last year!

    So, we are NOT hating! RESPECT IS EARNED NOT JUST GIVEN!!!

  10. ??? February 15, 2019 9:32 am

    Why are people impressed with James Harden’s 30 point game streak?
    Almost any player that shoots 20 3’s and 15-20 FT’s a game should score 30 points a game!! Harden’s streak does not impress ME.
    The Ng’s are good but not Gatorade POY good. But they do what needs to be done to help St Francis win games.

  11. Bias @ Buff ‘n Blue February 15, 2019 1:18 pm

    I know a few graduate student athletes that worked hard in the gym and weight room every single day. In fact, I saw one from Kamehameha working out at the park near my Marco Polo condo shooting on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. I heard from my son’s classmate at Punahou that plays club with him, he goes to the YMCA during regular days and had high GPA in AP classes. He was someone to really look up to like my son and family did, even though our son doesn’t play basketball but baseball. We haven’t seen as much support or write ups on him as these brothers. Call me biased. The only thing that has merit in its entirety is not only hardwork and heart, but also teamwork, ability to score high while sharing the ball, and maintaining a high school GPA. Does anyone know if the brothers are scholars too?

  12. Loca1boiAnonymous February 15, 2019 3:01 pm


    If you’re going to lump him in the “best ever” conversation, you have to omit his first 3 years at D2. Therefore, there is this one year by which he must be compared to the best guards ever. Truth is, not making the state tourney in his only year at D1 doesn’t bode well for saying hes one of the best to come out of this state.

  13. 2cents February 16, 2019 9:42 am

    People forget or don’t know that KN played his freshmen year at Iolani, moved to SF, repeated freshmen year and played four years there.

    Hope they learned their lesson…taking the easy route doesn’t get you to states.

  14. Ouch February 17, 2019 8:23 pm

    You need to know your facts. KNG left Iolani 8th grade not 9th and repeat somewhere else not SF. That would make him ineligible if he repeated at SF. Know your facts and know your Rules

  15. Melvin Mulligan March 16, 2019 3:31 am

    Ok I might be BIAS to Maryland because my Nephew Sage Tolentino is on this team but… Coach Kelly Grant and his staff prepared thes young Spartan MEN for WAR. From day 1 they worked SUPER HARD and I witnessed that. They were not perfect but they BUSTED THEIR BUTS!!! Super stoked for them!!! The starting 5 Marcus, Makoto, Payton, Kalae and Niko set the FOUNDATION! You know how they say defense WINS Championships… that is this TEAM. #UnrealD Reserves were key too. #GoSpartans

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