Eastern China isn’t exactly a short distance from the Hawaiian Islands, but Huipu made themselves quite comfortable in Honolulu.
The team from Zhejiang, China pulled away in the second half for a 69-32 win over Damien to capture the title at the Walter Wong Invitational on Tuesday night at McCabe Gymnasium. Huipu won all four of its games over a five-day span, and even with their 6-foot-9 and 6-8 bigs fatigued, in foul trouble or a combination of both, their bench came through late in the tourney.
Guards Li Huai Ming (18 points) and Jen Jie Chen (12) stepped up, and another guard, Chen Shuo, added 11 points in the win. Huipu’s closest game was on Monday in a 70-66 overtime thriller against Leilehua.
“We tried to sub our bench players and they really supported the team. We’re lucky it wasn’t as physical as yesterday,” coach Luo Lun said, referring to Leilehua. “We slowed down a little bit on the offensive side, but we tried to get new blood on the court.”
Huipu was, by far, the best Chinese team to play in the islands in recent memory, using speed, skill and physicality that was unique. The 6-9 center, Xiao Rong Pei, barely played half the game after getting in foul trouble. Their 6-8 skywalking dunker, Wang Shao, sat out with a foot injury.
W 71-50 McKinley, Friday, Dec. 26
W 60-47 Saint Louis, Saturday, Dec. 27
W 70-66 OT Leilehua, Monday, Dec. 29
W 69-32 Damien, Tuesday, Dec. 30