Luke Pardini scored 12 of his 18 points in the third quarter as Kalaheo turned a three-point halftime lead into a 61-42 road win at Kaiser on Saturday night.
Mario Drummer scored 12 points and Cyrus Singelman added 10 for Kaiser (9-5 overall). It was the OIA East regular-season opener for both teams.
“We got a lot of easy buckets and I think that was key for us, especially coming out of the first half pretty even. For us to come out with a little energy, pick up the tempo on the defensive end and get easy buckets was the key for us to jump start that second half,” Mustangs coach Rob Pardini said.
Kaiser led 16-10 after on quarter and trailed 26-23 at the half. Kalaheo’s tall, long wings transformed after the break, attacking the paint again and again with entry passes and point-blank layups.
Kalaheo’s Ryan Owens had 10 of his 12 points in the first half, and reserve Andrew Jones also scored 12. Jones was especially effective at the start of the fourth quarter, scoring six points in a row at point-blank range off feeds from his teammates.
“Love Andrew. He is our Mr. Inside. He’s a great kid, kind of like an old Jack Sikma. That’s what we call him,” Pardini said.
That run opened the lead to 19 points.
“That four-minute stretch of the third quarter was terrible. Everything else was pretty even,” Kaiser coach Kenneth Powell said.
Kalaheo’s 2-2-1 press was also a factor, but Kaiser gradually gained confidence against it for easy buckets. They simply couldn’t stop Kalaheo in the paint.
“They beat us on the offensive rebounds. They tried the post-up, and that was not a major advantage (for Kalaheo),” Powell said. “But they kicked our butts on the offensive rebounds.”
Kalaheo’s maturity is showing after a very tough preseason schedule.
“I like us to be flexible. Some games we’re going to be small. Some games, were going to be big,” Pardini said. “We started off with a big lineup and they went small, and they too advantage of it. We have guys that can score inside.”
Kanoa Smith added eight points while running the offense for the Mustangs, who will visit Roosevelt on Thursday. Kaiser will host Kaimuki, also on Thursday.