Big Red just got redder.
Robbie Sauvao returned to Kahuku recently, transferring back from Western (Anaheim, Calif.). He suited up in time for the Red Raiders’ battle against No. 7 Moanalua and played a key role in Kahuku’s 63-60 win on Thursday night.
Now 6 feet, 3 inches, Sauvao had nine points, five assists and four steals. He shot 4-for-7 from the field.
“It’s just what we needed,” Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana said. “A big, experienced guard.”
Sauvao left Kahuku in late summer and played for Western’s football team. He finished the football season as a Pac-4 all-league first-team selection by the Orange County Register.
The win is Kahuku’s first over a Top 10 team. Kahuku (5-4 overall) lost at No. 8 Kailua 61-50 on Saturday to open the regular season. The OIA East race just got tighter with Sauvao’s return. In addition to Moanalua and Kailua, No. 5 Kalaheo has been on fire, and No. 9 Kaiser is another contender.
For standings, schedules and results, click here.
The Red Raiders travel to Farrington on Saturday. Moanalua (6-8, 1-1), under recently-hired coach Michael Johnson, will host Roosevelt on Saturday.
Cowboy nation riding high
Kohala made a statement on Thursday night with a 70-67 overtime win over Hilo at Hisaoka Gymnasium. The homecourt win lifts Kohala to 3-0 in BIIF play with a road game at Honokaa on Monday.
O’Shen Cazimero led Kohala with 26 points. Koby Agbayani added 16, Jeffrey Francisco had 12 and 5-foot-10 Molonai Emeliano was a towering presence with 11 rebounds, four blocks and eight points.
Kaukahi Alameda paced Hilo with 20 points.
“It was a packed house,” Cowboys coach Kihei Kapeliela said. “Molonai has been a beast on the boards all year. He’s our only big man.”
The Cowboys have a lot of potential this season with the infusion of young talent under Kapeliela, in his first season as varsity head coach. The program fared well under previous coach Don Fernandez, but the current group has extensive off-season club experience and has bloodlines that trace back to some of the top Kohala players of a generation ago.
The last time the teams played was on Nov. 21 at Waiakea’s tournament. Hilo won that matchup, 65-55. On Friday, making the 78-mile drive from campus to Kohala — a two-hour trek — demonstrated why the BIIF has some of the toughest road games in the state.
The Vikings’ were coming a three-game win streak. Hilo had nearly upset Science Hill (Tenn.), which went on to reach the final of the Punahou Invitational. The Viks then dispatched Le Jardin (75-38), Hanalani (62-49) and Hawaii Baptist (69-48) before returning home on Monday.
At 1-2 in BIIF play (14-5 overall), Hilo is clearly one of the state’s better teams. So is Kohala. The difference is Kohala and its small enrollment are in Division II.
No. 5 Kalaheo and No. 8 Kailua have battled many times for bragging rights on the Windward side, for OIA East and league supremacy. But this early-season matchup on Saturday could swing either team to a state-tournament berth.
Kailua (12-3, 1-0 OIA) is unbeaten against unranked opponents. The Surfriders are also 0-3 against Top 10 competition — Mid-Pacific, Punahou and Maryknoll. On Saturday, they will host a Kalaheo squad that has shown an ability to pound the ball inside for points.
Returnees Nainoa Peters and Lydell Romero combined for 36 points in a 63-55 win at Roosevelt on Thursday.
Kalaheo (12-7, 2-0) is coming off wins over Kaiser (61-42) and Kalani (57-35). The Mustangs aren’t quite as tall as MPI, Punahou and Maryknoll, but their ability to attack the paint and score inside first, then outside, is more constant. Ryan Owens (6-5), Bobby Thompson (6-4) and Andrew Jones (6-6) have been effective inside. So has 6-1 junior Luke Pardini and 6-1 senior Kanoa Smith.