It’s so early — both Kamehameha and Farrington counted just two practices each — that anything in tournament play can be taken with a grain of red alaea salt.
But even now, before these defending state championship teams nurture and develop their younger additions, the cornerstones are there.
For Kamehameha, it’s clearly Dyrbe Enos, who poured in 31 points as the Warriors fought off Farrington 68-57 last night in the final of the 13th annual James Alegre Invitational. (See the live updates here.)
“Dyrbe’s looking to take over games, shoot, get to the rack, so we’re trying to feed him,” coach Julian Nakanishi said.
The Govs trailed by 15 in the third quarter before making a run.
“Kamehameha is Kamehameha,” Farrington coach Allan Silva said. “Very good. We were down by 11 points in the first half, we lost by 11. We gave them 11. Another two weeks, we’ll be ready to play.”
The earlier games showed how much practice is needed. A lot of teams are flush with underclassmen, and coaches used the consolation games to empty their benches and see exactly who and what they’ve got. And whether they like what they kept after recent tryouts and cuts.
But Kamehameha and Farrington are, in many ways, in midseason form. The Warriors, with their former assistant in charge for the first time, wasted no time. Kamehameha jumped to a 17-7 lead, pushed the margin wider, then held on as Mikey Kleman spurred a comeback by the Governors.
Kleman admitted after the game that he was “exhausted” after three nights of long minutes. But he was practically unstoppable in iso situations, going either way and finishing at the basket with his nifty left-handed reverse layups and dunks.
Viane Vaina, fresh off a season on the football team, looked like he’s the in the best shape of his life. He never took a seat, playing all 32 minutes and finishing with 20 points and 16 rebounds, including seven on the offensive glass. He shot 10-for-13 from the field, a virtual magnet to his teammates’ missed shots.
“Viane is improving very much, he’s our big man,” Silva said. “He got lots of summer training, the big man camp. He’s a hard worker.”
The night, however, belonged to Enos. The senior guard has a quicker shot release than last year, and even when Farrington’s defenders were within close range when Enos was away from the ball, they could not close out on him when he got quick passes, particularly in the corner. That’s how quick his release is now.
Enos shot 10-for-14 from the field, including 5-for-6 from the arc. He also dished three assists and had only one turnover. His only flaw was at the foul line, where he was 2-for-6 until the final 1:04, when he delivered four all-net swishes to seal the win.
“I did a lot of offseason training with my dad and brother them, my coaches,” the senior guard said. “My free throws really was sketchy today, but I just gotta practice. I was kind of nervous shooting free throws. I’ve been shooting so long, it should be natural.”
More stats: Farrington shot 50 percent from the field, but guard play was sketchy at best. The Govs were 4-for-13 from 3-point range and committed 20 turnovers against Kamehameha’s traps out of man defense. The Warriors snuck up on Farrington guards Chadey Caliazo and Jefrey Madarang at midcourt near the sidelines to create problems. They also trapped the corners, using a lot of long arms to cause more chaos.
“This is a good test and we learned a lot,” Silva said. “You don’t break a press with a dribble. It’s real basic. We just gotta make better decisions.”
Kamehameha? The Warriors had just 11 turnovers against Farrington’s mix of man and 2-3 zone defenses. They were aggressive, as usual, on offense and took 28 free throws — making 19 — to Farrington’s eight.
Those advantages negated Farrington’s 28-20 rebounding edge.
“They bang. They’re very physical and we just gotta match them, and that’s what we did tonight,” Enos said. “Every day during practice, we work on those traps and it pays off in the game. They’ll learn. It’s preseason, they’ll learn their roles and how to rotate on the traps.”
Nakanishi is unbeaten as a head coach, following in the footsteps of his twin brother, former coach Jesse Nakanishi.
“It’s strictly first week of the season, try to establish everybody’s roles and using this week as a gauge,” the coach said.
The gauge here says Kamehameha might still be the team to beat.
Even more stats: Kamehameha shot 21-for-48 from the field, including 7-for-11 from the field. They had 12 steals and had a 1:1 ratio of assists (11) to turnovers. Farrington had a negative ratio with 14 assists to go with the 20 giveaways.
Paul Honda, Star-Advertiser