The Farrington Governors got one part of the mission done.
They just didn’t have a way to fill in the rest of the blanks. Farrington limited Moanalua’s high-scoring junior, Geremy Robinson, to just 13 points, but Na Menehune still coasted to a 72-36 win on Thursday night to open OIA regular-season play.
Farrington used a box-and-one defense to limit Robinson’s touches, but Elijah McGruder came through with 10 points and nine rebounds, and Kyle Hughley added 11 points. Jibraun Emerson was the glue man with seven points, four boards, three assists and three steals for Moanalua (6-7 overall).
“They did that to me last year, but this season, that’s a first,” said Robinson, who shot 5-for-9 from the field, adding five rebounds, one steal and one assist. “It was all right. We still won by 30. As long as we win.”
Interim head coach Col. Michael Wingfield saw Moanalua give up some points in the paint early. The home team led 17-13 after one quarter. Farrington hustled for four offensive rebounds in the opening period thanks to Darius Chaffin, RJ Wong and Christian Selga.
“I wasn’t surprised (by the box-and-one). They did a pretty good job in holding him down,” Wingfield said. “We’re never happy enough when we don’t play good transition defense. Rebounding, absolutely, that’s an area we have to focus on. We’re not boxing out enough. We’re not jumping on the ball. Everybody’s got to be a rebounder.”
Eventually, the visiting Governors couldn’t keep up. They shot 2-for-8 from deep in the first quarter, and with forward Jen Kouch and center Christian Havea not available to play, they didn’t have enough firepower in the paint. Moanalua got a traditional three-point play from Robinson and a fastbreak layup by Nainoa Kauhola as the lead opened to 34-19 late in the first half.
Moanalua was short-handed, as well, with 6-foot-5 center DiAeris McRaven resting for a mainland volleyball tournament this weekend. Na Menehune came out on fire in the third quarter with a 16-5 run to put the game out of reach. Their 2-2-1 fullcourt press was effective in the third, forcing eight turnovers by the Govs. Farrington finished the game with 18 giveaways.
“Now they know. I hope we learn a lot,” Farrington coach Steven Leopoldo said.
The good news is they’ll have Havea, a 6-5 senior, and Kouch, back soon.
“It’s a big loss not having those two guys,” Leopoldo said.
Wong led Farrington with nine points. Isaiah Rios had six points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Farrington shot 4-for-22 from the 3-point arc.
The interim status for Col. Wingfield, who is in charge of the JROTC program on campus, has been quite a voyage. Athletic Director Joel Kawachi said there may be an announcement soon.
“I feel like the administration is going to make a good decision and whatever decision they make, that’s going to be best of the team. I’m just here to help the team out and do the best I can, and motivate the guys to come and play strong every day. The administration will make the right decision for the team and the future of the program,” Wingfield said. “What I’ve really enjoyed is the camaraderie of the guys. I like them to get out there and have fun. At the end of the day, it’s not like we’re out here trying to produce NBA players. What we’re trying to do is develop men of character. That’s my focus. Men that are disciplined. Men that are strong in their communities. Men that can have fun and be good sports.”
One possible applicant out of the many who sent in resumes has been at virtually every Moanalua game since Byron Mello resigned a month ago: Allan Silva, former Farrington and Saint Louis coach.
The Damien Classic
Earlier in the day, island teams opened play in The Damien Classic in California. Maryknoll was the lone victor with a 44-41 win over Eisenhower in the Silver division. Maryknoll will play on Friday, 3:30 p.m. West Coast time, against Campbell Hall or Hesperia.
In the other games: Damien (Calif.) 93, Damien (Hawaii) 91 (Platinum); Colony 64, Kamehameha 53 (Gold).
Damien will meet Rancho Christian on Friday. Kamehameha will battle Canyon.
The first day of the 16-team Punahou Invitational is nearly done.
San Marcos (Calif.) 97, Hanalani 43
Thunder Mountain (Alaska) 57, Kamehameha-Hawaii 44
Sacramento Adventist (Calif.) 62, ‘Iolani II 32
Saint Louis II 38, Le Jardin 22
Science Hill (Tenn.) 63, Hilo 57
Sequoia (Calif.) 62, Punahou II 36
La Jolla Country Day (Calif.) 63, Hawaii Baptist 41
Punahou 59, Hamamatsu Tech (Japan) 32
Punahou II vs. Hanalani
Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Hamamatsu Tech
Hawaii Baptist vs. ‘Iolani II
Hilo vs. Le Jardin
La Jolla Country Day vs. Sacramento Adventist
Sequoia vs. San Marcos
Science Hill vs. Saint Louis II
Punahou vs. Thunder Mountain
Elsewhere, Mid-Pacific lost to Buena, 61-57, in Casa Grande, Ariz. MPI will play at Vista Grande on Friday.