Final 4: Punahou 52, Kahuku 50, OT

Punahou's Akahi Troski rose above Kahuku on Friday. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser
Punahou’s Akahi Troski rose above Kahuku on Friday. Krystle Marcellus / Star-Advertiser











We’re 5 minutes away from tip-off for ILH runner-up Punahou and the OIA’s fifth-place team, Kahuku. The Red Raiders have been large and in charge lately now that everybody’s back from football visits, now that there’s no drama off the court regarding coaching and who gets to shoot and all that mess.

Nope. It’s just basketball now and that’s a beautiful thing. Kahuku may be feeling great about this late-season run. So is Punahou. After being No. 1 in preseason with a string of rollicking, fast breaking wins, they went 1-4 in ILH play and their overall youth really showed. But as they regrouped and senior post ‘Akahi Troske returned to solidify the front court, Punahou went on a tear and reached the ILH playoff tourney final, knocking out Kamehameha for a state berth. Then came a loss to ‘Iolani in the league title game.

So both teams have won their first two tourney games at states. Kahuku won by wide margins over Konawaena and then OIA champion Kalaheo. Punahou eked out close wins over Leilehua and Lahainaluna. Punahou’s a little deeper, using all 15 players, but Brandyn Akana has a deep bench, too, and he has two sharpshooters in Keanu and Kawika Akina. They have athletes everywhere, including the Spencer brothers, seniors Kenny and Kieran, and perhaps the best 1-2 post combo around in Bradlee Anae and Hirkley Latu. It’s a beast of a team and they’re peaking at the perfect time.

Kahuku in halfcourt man. Punahou in fullcourt man. Two turnovers by Kahuku and Punahou leads 6-4 early.

Chris Kobayashi with a 15-foot bank and it’s 8-4. Troske blocks a turnaround J by Anae, but later Anae powers in for a layup. Jared Lum has a matchup challenge with Anae, but on the offensive end, he lines up from the corner and splashes a 3. Then Kahuku races upcourt and Keanu Akina hits a corner 3. After Kahuku scores in the post again, the Red Raiders lead 11-10. TV time out with 2:09 left.

Good battle. The quarter ends with Punahou ahead 15-13. Hunter Lee with back-to-back steals for layups, including and-1 on the first bucket. Kahuku with four turnovers against Punahou’s mix of fullcourt man and 2-2-1 zone press.

Troske, who had 18 and 20 against Kalaheo, has two points and one rebound so far.

Kahuku with two more turnovers in the first minute of the second quarter. That turns into just one bucket for Punahou, and when Kahuku gets past the pressure, they’re pounding the ball inside. Anae misses two foul shots, but Kieran Spencer grabs an offensive board and drives. He’s fouled, hits one of two and the lead is down to 17-14.

Lee back in and he swipes another pass for a layup. That’s four steals already for Lee. Punahou up 21-16.

TV time out, 3:55. Punahou leads Kahuku 21-17.

Kahuku switched to a matchup zone in the final 2 minutes. Maybe 1-3-1, hard to tell in just two possessions, but Anae was locked there at the foul line. Akana will mix things up but I don’t think they’ll stay in that for long, not with the corners exposed like that. Punahou leads at the half, 23-17.

Red Raiders have a 17-13 edge on the boards, but have committed nine turnovers. Seven of those have been steals by Punahou, mostly on telegraphed passes on the perimeter. Latu has nine points despite being double- and triple-teamed on the low post.

Punahou is 0-for-6 from the arc. Lee is their leading scorer so far with seven points.

Kahuku opens in that same 1-3-1 look defensively, but Kobayashi makes it rain with an NBA-range 3 for a 26-17 lead. Anae having trouble getting his shot over Troske; every shot is short.

Lum cuts and scores on a pass from Kaulana Makaula. Fouled, hits the FT and it’s 29-19.

Then Keanu Akana slips near midcourt, generally in the area that I saw two players slip earlier today. Makaula snatches the loose ball, feeds Arceneaux in the corner, he drives to the paint and kicks to Kobayashi. Splash. 32-19, time out, Kahuku, 5:29.

Kahuku gains some momentum with a 3-pointer from Kieran Spencer and a follow shot by Anae, but another turnover (travel) against Punahou’s press stops it. TV time out, 3:52, Punahou up 32-24. That’s 12 turnovers by the Red Raiders.

Kahuku is in a 1-2-2 zone out of the time out with Latu at midcourt.

Cole Mausolf with the slick move, passing across court, cutting the middle. Gets the ball back, draws and dishes to Zayne Chong in the right corner, splash. 35-24.

Now Kahuku’s getting defensive. Latu with two steals at midcourt, scores twice and it’s 35-28. Time out by Punahou.

Anae works the post, bucket and the foul. Hits the FT, 35-31. Troske checks in. Anae with Troske, no double, spins in the lane, layup. 35-33.

Arceneaux dishes to Chong in the left corner, all net with :02 left. Punahou takes a 38-33 lead into the final quarter.

Latu catches the ball too low on the post and shoots off the side of the board. He’s struggled against the doubles and triples tonight, and now Troske blocks his shot into the nearby photographers’ row. He goes at it again and draws contact from Lum. Two shots. He hits the first, misses the second. That’s 14 points for Latu. I’m surprised Kahuku hasn’t sent cutters into the lane on those low-post doubles.

Punahou works the high low. Lum to Troske, fouled. Misses the first and second. Punahou springs a halfcourt trap off the miss and Kahuku travels.

Punahou up 38-36, 5:16 left. Kahuku in halfcourt man the past couple of minutes. Arceneaux passes from the top to Kobayashi in the corner, splash. That’s a 3, 41-36, 4:40.

TV time out, 3:50. Punahou 41-36.

Latu back in and the 1-2-2 is on. Kobayashi drives and scores, 43-36.

Latu hits two FTs, deflects a Troske pass, turnover. Kahuku ball. Keanu Akina drives on Arceneaux, air ball.

Arceneaux fouled, 1-and-1 with 2:05 left. Misses. Time out, Kahuku, 1:57.

Anae’s follow cuts it to 43-40. 1:16.

Arceneaux 1-and-1, misses. Troske fouls Anae on the rebound. Anae to the line, 1:03. First shot good, 43-41. Second shot short. Chong rebounds, fouled.

Chong at the line, :59.6. First shot long, Troske rebounds, time out Punahou, :47. Punahou has missed three 1-and-1s in a row.

Kobayashi loses the ball and kicks it. Kahuku ball, :43.7. Time out, Kahuku.

Kahuku goes to Anae on a cut from the elbow to the post, he banks in an 8-footer, bucket. Tied at 43 with 25 seconds left.

Punahou goes upcourt, looks, looks. Matsuda calls time out with :06.3 left. Each team still has two more time outs.

Punahou sets up a box on the key, but Arceneaux can’t get it in. Time out, Matsuda, and Kahuku fans boo. They wanted a 5-sec count.

Anae steals the inbounds pass, time out Kahuku, :04.7.

Kieran Spencer’s inbounds pass to Akina misses the target, stolen by Troske, who dribbles past midcourt and throws it away trying to get it to Lum. Time runs out.

Lum scores off the tip, and Chong hits a 3 to give Punahou a 48-43 lead.

ANae with a follow shot. Chong hits two FTs, Punahou 50-45, 1:12.

Anae to the line, hits both, 50-47, :44.6.

Troske fouled, at the line, :28.3. First shot short. Second shot misses.

Keanu Akina swishes a 23-footer from the left wing to tie it with 22 seconds left. Punahou plays on, Arceneaux drives, shot altered by Anae, Troske follows with the putback for a 52-50 lead.

Kahuku inbounds, Latu chases by a horde of Buffanblu downcourt. Time expires before he can get a shot off.

FINAL: Punahou 52, Kahuku 50.


  1. Menehune February 19, 2016 10:37 pm

    All ILH final. The best teams are from the ILH this year

  2. Action Jackson February 20, 2016 12:12 am

    Yah funny you say that… If I paid 20 grand a year and some to send my kid to Iolani, Pun, or Pac5 I would expect at least one championship here n there.The OIA still dominates the big sports no matter what, and public school is free! HAHAHA

  3. Menehune February 20, 2016 12:40 am

    Action Jackson, every single one on the Punahou team have already been accepted to college. How mamy Kahuku kids on the basketball team will be going to college. Certainly, you can agree that Punahou is a better school and gives the kid more opportunities.

  4. Falcon February 20, 2016 7:07 am

    If I paid $20,000 for my kid to go to school I would expect them to be enriched with high level teaching, great resources, and the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities such as music, drama, dance, student government, athletics, and may other wonderful activities. I also would want them to take AP Classes during their junior and senior years. Finally, I would expect them to love learning and go to college after they graduate. It seems that you might have your priorities a little off Action Jackson. Championships do not make students winners. It’s love of learning, developing character, having a vision for the future and executing it that makes kids winners.

  5. The Rim February 20, 2016 7:14 am

    @ Menehune-According to the roster they have a number of underclassman. “Every single one already accepted?” Thats pretty impressive considering GPA/ACT/SAT/letters of recomandations, NCAA clearinghouse requirements for most colleges, even with early admission. I agree Punahou will give kids better opportunities, but lets be honest, they’re very selective in admissions based on test scores (and of course other things) unlike public schools, they take everyone, even the ones that are disruptive or have learning disabilities. Compare apples with apples and give public schools a break.

  6. Falcon February 20, 2016 7:34 am

    What are the big sports other than football? I think boys basketball, baseball, and track and field are big sports. And if you look at, the ILH seem to do more than well in these sports. Action Jackson, do you make any comments with evidence to support your statements?

  7. Joy February 20, 2016 8:58 pm

    You all know Kahuku should have went to the Championship….How much did Punahou pay the refs?

  8. Rr4l February 20, 2016 9:16 pm

    @Joy, I was thinking the same thing. Smh. That was the WORSE officiating I’ve ever seen in my life.

  9. Cougar Pride February 20, 2016 11:06 pm

    Please accept a loss with humility. Our team lost too and we teach the children not to make excuses. Just for the record, Kahuku was called for 15 team fouls and Punahou was called for 13 team fouls. That is very close. 2 team fouls is hardly any difference. My dad used to be a Hawaii ref and I can tell you at no time did any official ever take a bribe. That is very insulting.

    These refs try their best and get paid peanuts. Do they make mistakes? Of course they do, they are all human and we are all not perfect. But to accuse Punahou for paying the refs and then the refs for taking a bribe, that is just an insult. And you do know if that happened it would be a federal offense.

    Please give credit where it’s due. While Kahuku played outstanding, Punahou played a little better and won the game. Just like Iolani did great last night and beat our Cougars.

    It’s doesn’t bring any honor to your Kahuku team by making mistakes and definitely isn’t modeling a good lesson for the kids to learn from.

  10. Action Jackson February 21, 2016 9:10 am

    Beat our Cougars. Bradah please don’t say beat our cougars, ’cause I know you are a panty.
    There’s no evidence that Punahou never payed the refs, they’re pretty good at paying everyone else off.
    Got accepted to college? Another panty speaking. What college you talking about? Another money pit waste money college. Be specific when you say college. Student loans are an eye sore on our economy.

  11. Joy February 21, 2016 9:04 pm

    If you watch the replay the coaches on the Punahou side never know what was going on….Watch the replay! It was called one side. Talk about the kids….The refs crush their dreams for playing for a state title. We won’t be mad at the refs if they call a fair game. That’s okay I know who the will champs are KAHUKU HIGH SCHOOL! GO BIG RED!

  12. Faith February 22, 2016 8:26 pm

    Action Jackson shut your pie hole before I do it permanently. Calling people panties behind a computer. If that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black.

  13. Action Jackson February 23, 2016 8:34 pm

    Faith are you on the right blog? This is Basketball not girls water polo. “pot calling the kettle black? That sounds slightly New Hampshire, did you grad from Punahou then go to Dartmouth?
    Such rude comments coming from such a pristine girl! Punahou does have all the cherries compared to other schools.

  14. Action Jackson February 23, 2016 9:56 pm

    Faith where are you? Please enlighten us! I love the pie hole bit…. Heard that one from the movie Tommy Boy in the 90s. You are legendary!

  15. Sau ii February 24, 2016 8:31 am

    You all know Hawaii basketball is WACK. Looks like Kahuku’s former coach Akina lost a good one in Samuta Avea. He’s KILLING IT in Utah and he’s only a Junior. Imagine if he had stayed at Kahuku? Oh wait we saw what happened last year

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