Lahainaluna brought tough defense.
Punahou brought an old-school willingness to pound the low post and cut for passes and layups.
Unseeded Punahou’s 74-54 win over MIL champion Lahainaluna was more than just the Buffanblu offense humming. They shot 53 percent from the field (31-for-53) with great ball movement, getting 17 points from Kaulana Makaula and 13 by center Duke Clemens.
Defense, once again, is where Punahou locked down. The ILH runner-up forced the Lunas into 21 turnovers. They also limited a dangerous scorer, Reece Pascua, to 14 points. Pascua didn’t get his first shot attempt until there was 1:40 left in the first quarter.
Tre Rickard picked up the slack with 25 points and John Flores added nine points.
“Flores makes some crazy shots. Reece is going to score,” Punahou coach Darren Matsuda said.
Between their relentless fullcourt press and persistent halfcourt man-to-man defenses, Punahou was able to get transition opportunities. Couple that with just seven turnovers committed by the Buffanblu offense, and Lahainaluna was in struggle mode most of the night. When the Lunas cut an 18-point lead down to nine in the fourth quarter, Clemens sparked a 21-10 run to close out the game.
“It’s hard to bring our guys here into a David versus Goliath situation,” Lahainaluna coach Jason Justus said. “Punahou is a great program with great tradition. They do a good job.”
Punahou will meet ‘Iolani in the semifinal round at Stan Sheriff Center on Friday. The longtime rivals met three times during the ILH season.
>> Jan. 15 — Punahou edged ‘Iolani 57-56 at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
>> Jan. 31 — Punahou won at ‘Iolani 50-44.
>> Feb. 9 — Punahou won at home, 50-47, in the playoffs.
Along with top seed Maryknoll’s quarterfinal win over Kapolei, there are three ILH teams in the semifinals.
Punahou (27-5) 14 17 22 21 — 74
Lahainaluna (18-6) 7 17 16 14 — 54
Punahou: Andrew Kobayashi 6, Jakob Kimura 9, Peyton Macapulay 9, Drake Watanabe 2, Maninoa Tufono 6, Tamatoa Falatea 8, Noah Kameehonua 0, Micah Masamitsu 0, Kai Nafarrete 4, Kaulana Makaula 17, Grant Nakanishi 0, Ryder Hsiung 0, Alexandru Iosivas 0, Duke Clemens 13, Solatoa Moeai 0,
Lahainaluna: Reece Pascua 14, Tre Rickard 25, Justin Gaoiran 0, Malino Jacinto 2, John Flores 9, Sam Fifita 0, Matthew Rabino 2, Hunter Higdin 0, Tui Lai 0, TJ Galoia 2.
3-point goals: Punahou 4 (Makaula 2, Kimura, Nafarrete), Lahainaluna 4 (Rickard 3, Pascua).
Maryknoll 51, Kapolei 30
Marcus Tobin led the ILH champion Spartans with 12 points. Maryknoll (28-2) will play Kailua in the other semifinal at Stan Sheriff Center. Ja’Shon Carter led Kapolei (18-9), the OIA’s third-place team, with 12 points.
Kailua 52, Waiakea 48
Everett Torres-Kahapea scored 22 points as the Surfriders withstood a second-half rally by BIIF champion Waiakea, the fourth seed. Kailua (19-12) lost to Waiakea in preseason, but this time limited William Soares to 11 points. Jerek Prudencio paced the Warriors with 14 points.