No. 14 Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) 76, No. 15 Wasatch (Mount Pleasant, Utah) 65, final
Haven’t seen Coach Evans (Wasatch) nor Coach Smith (Oak Hill) this tense before a game all week. Not nervous tense, but definitely feeling the moment. This is big for both programs. Oak Hill, not their finest team ever, but very fluid, good chemistry and explosive. Wasatch, balanced, big, talented.
Wasatch doing a lot of switching out of man defense, but they haven’t been able to put a lid on Oak Hill’s Cam Thomas, who has 15 points. It would be more, but he is 8-for-11 at the line. K.K. Robinson scored all eight of his points in the first quarter, including two treys, before sitting with his second personal foul early in the second quarter. Jabari Sibley has been exception with eight points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field.
Foussayni Traore, Wasatch’s big man, has been superb in the paint on both ends, utilizing reverse layups on offense and sealing off Oak Hill’s bigs. He has 12 points on 6-for-7 shooting. Mike Saunders has been unstoppable to the rim and has 12 points. But other than that, the offense has been erratic and prone to some uncharacteristic poor shot selection. Caleb Lohner has taken just three shots and has two points.
Thomas continues to attack and the Tigers have no answer. He adds nine more points in the third quarter, 24 total so far. Meanwhile, the Warriors’ defense was in lockdown mode, limiting Wasatch to 2-for-17 from the field in the third stanza.
No. 9 Long Island Lutheran (Brookeville, N.Y.) 80, Jefferson (Portland, Ore.) 49, final
Andre Curbelo was the maestro out there again, finishing with 26 points. Zed Key added 14 and Kacper Klaczek had 12.
Kamron Robinson and Mookie Cook had 16 each for the Demos.
Curbelo dominated the floor with slashing finishes, steals, bounce-pass dimes to teammates like big man Zed Key. In a matter of seconds, he scored on a Steve Nash-like runner, then stole the inbounds pass for a reverse layup to close the first half. He is making a case for most outstanding player, even though his team is currently playing for third place.
Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.) 86, Mount Vernon (N.Y.) 68, final
Daeshon Shepherd scored 27 points and Marcus Randolph tallied 22 as the Vikings roared from behind to victory. Jaylen Stinson had 11 (three treys), and Rahsool Diggins and Muneer Newton chipped in 10 points apiece.
Troy Hupstead finished with 19 points and Xavier Riullano added 16 for the Knights.
The Vikings trailed by 12 and were down just one point, 25-24, at the end of one quarter. The defensive pressure worked. The Vikings led the Knights 41-36 at the half.
Vikings were fire with a 7-0 run to start the second half. It’s 48-36 with 6:58 to go in the third quarter. WOH. Newton and Stinson stroke corner 3s, each from the right side, and it’s 56-40. Diggins with the dish to Shepherd on the break, throwdown. The lead is 18 with 5 minutes left in the third. Wood is dominating.
Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 93, Kalani 32, final
Tari Eason scored 22 points and Kendall Munson added 16 for the Bulldogs. Koren Johnson chipped in 11.
Wakea Kanahele and Dillon Cortez led the Falcons with seven points each.
Jayden Simpliciano‘s 40-foot bank shot to end the first quarter was the highlight of the first half for the Falcons.
Damien 48, Tsinghua (Beijing) 46, final
Hayden Bayudan scored 17 points and Bryce Forbes had 15 for the Monarchs. Zheng Haonan led the Tigers with 14 and Xie Liyongwei added 12.
Bayudan’s contested halfcourt shot swishes through at the buzzer to give Damien an 11-10 lead in another entertaining battle.
Jarvis Natividad‘s 3 helped Damien reclaim a lead at the end of the third quarter, 34-33.
The Monarchs put the game out of reach with three free throws in the final 21 seconds by Bayudan and Natividad. Cai Xinchen‘s NBA 3 cut the lead to 47-44, and Tsinghua fouled Forbes. He sank the second of two FTs to ice the game with :06 left. Tsinghua scored on a lay-in at the buzzer for the final margin of victory.
Mid-Pacific 72, Kaiser 71, 2 OT
Kamana Lapina poured in 25 points, including a bucket in the paint to force the first overtime, as the Owls rallied past the Cougars. Lucca Kitashima and Henry Man added 12 points apiece. Man’s putback at the end of the first OT tied the game and pushed the game into a second OT. Kitashima’s 3 gave MPI the lead for good, 69-68, in the second OT.
Cyrus Singelman led Kaiser with 22 points. Kenji Toyama had 12 and Mario Drummer scored 12 before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
The first key shot was a 35-foot bank shot for 3 by MPI sophomore James Smotherman to beat the buzzer at the end of the third quarter. That cut Kaiser’s lead to 42-36 entering the fourth period.
Singelman’s FTs gave Kaiser the lead, 51-49, with :21.7 left, but Lapina drove for a tough bucket in traffic to tie the game and send it to overtime.
The Cougars rolled to a 57-51 lead, but Lapina stroked a wing 3 and was fouled by Drummer. Lapina completed the 4-point play and Drummer was out with his fifth foul.
Kaiser responded with a bucket by Toyama and another basket to open a 63-59 lead, but Man’s corner 3 cut the lead to one with :13.8 left. The Owls fouled Singelman, who missed the first FT and made the second. Mann then came through with a follow shot to tie it at 64 with 2.4 seconds left.
Kitashima’s corner 3 gave the Owls a 69-68 lead with 2 minutes left in the second OT. Toyama’s floater in the late curled out with :12 left. Lapina hit two free throws to ice it, 72-68, with :09.6 left. Singelman hit a 3 with .8 of a second left for the final margin.
Kamehameha 51, ‘Iolani 48, final
Paliku Kamaka‘s 3 with 2:29 left brought the Warriors all the way back from a 10-point deficit. The 15-2 run gave Kamehameha a 47-44 lead.
The Raiders came back and got within 49-48, and had the ball with less than a minute left. However, consecutive jump balls gave possession back to Kamehameha. Kordel Ng‘s free throws with 16.7 seconds left opened the lead to three. ‘Iolani didn’t get a clean look from the arc as time expired.
Ng led the Warriors with 10 points. Braden Defries added nine. Starters Christmas Togiai and Bailey Lee did not play the last three games for Kamehameha due to a glee concert performance in Kona.
Wes Yamada led ‘Iolani with 17 points.
Moanalua 62, Mililani 52
Geremy Robinson scored 21 points and Jibraun Gibson chipped in 11 as Na Menehune opened a 14-point lead after three quarters and held on for the win in the 15th-place game. Moanalua played tourney without 6-5 center DiAeris McRaven (ankle).
Ethan Rudometkin paced the Trojans with 13 points.
* * * * *
The final day is upon us, the fans and media, and it is a mesh of relief and sadness.
There is no other like the ‘Iolani Prep Classic, particularly when it runs five days without a typical Sunday break. It is a test of endurance for athletes. It is a strain on the patience of coaches. It is a ritual of Christmas season for scorekeepers, scoreboard and shot-clock operators. It is as good as it gets for referees: air-conditioned confines, engaging with many of the finest minds in prep hoops.
At eight games each day for days 3, 4 and 5, it is basketball nirvana for hoopnerds. Why be in denial? Best to embrace the truth. It is never easy going back to a life of watching one, maybe two games per day/night. This year’s Classic has been part-parity, part-intensity. There is great competition in championship and consolation brackets alike, more than I can recall in the past decade or so. There is no Top 5 program here, but Wasatch Academy is so balanced, so explosive and so unselfish, and they have killer instinct. So does Oak Hill.
The second-tier teams that reached the semis and quarterfinals have balled out defensively. Jefferson and Mount Vernon have been extremely gritty on defense. Garfield, coached by former Portland Trailblazers all-star Brandon Roy, has been so resilient, even after close losses. Long Island Lutheran has arguably the best 1 (Andre Curbelo) and 5 (Zed Key) combo in the tourney. Curbelo has been a machine with heart, one of the best to play in this event.
Tsinghua (China) is playing some of its best basketball after a rocky first day. Each time the Tigers visit Hawaii, they are smarter, more aggressive, more… American? No. More basketball savvy, for sure. The day is coming when Tsinghua or another Chinese team plays in the final.
The audience at Father Bray Athletic Complex sees it, too. The crowds this year have been more engaged because teams are all in regardless of time of day, championship or consolation bracket. It is something I wish we had all the time.
Moanalua 62, Mililani 52, 15th place
Kamehameha 51, ‘Iolani 48, 13th place
Mid-Pacific 73, Kaiser, 2 OT, 11th place
Damien 48, Tsinghua (Beijing) 46, 9th place
Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) 93, Kalani 32, 7th place
5 p.m. Mount Vernon (N.Y.) vs. Archbishop Wood (Warminster, Pa.), 5th place
6:30 p.m. No. 9 Long Island Lutheran (Brookeville, N.Y.) vs. Jefferson (Portland, Ore.), 3rd place
8 p.m. No. 15 Wasatch (Mount Pleasant, Utah) vs. No. 14 Oak Hill (Mouth of Wilson, Va.), championship
Kamehameha 72, Moanalua 57
KS—Kordel Ng 20, EJ Kapihe 12. MOA—Geremy Robinson 20, Kyle Hughley 15.
‘Iolani 41, Mililani 39
Tsinghua 50, Kaiser 30
Damien 63, Mid-Pacific 40
Mount Vernon 77, Kalani 34
Archbishop Wood 75, Garfield 70
No. 15 Wasatch 68, No. 9 Long Island Lutheran 58, semifinal
No. 14 Oak Hill 79, Jefferson 61, semifinal
>> In case you missed it, here are the best dunks from Thursday’s slam dunk competition.
Tsinghua 63, Moanalua 50
Damien 62, Mililani 39
Kaiser 46, Kamehameha 41
Mid-Pacific 52, ‘Iolani 41
Long Island Lutheran 66, Garfield 63
No. 15 Wasatch 89, Archbishop Wood 77
No. 14 Oak Hill 30, Kalani 8, end Q1
Jefferson 65, Mount Vernon 57
Garfield 81, Kaiser 41
Archbishop Wood 73, Moanalua 38
Oak Hill 91, Mid-Pacific 35
Jefferson 75, Damien 49
Kalani 45, ‘Iolani 44
Wasatch (Utah) 101, Tsinghua (China) 59
Mount Vernon (N.Y.) 66, Mililani 51
Long Island Lutheran (Brookeville, N.Y.) 63, Kamehameha 57