Day four of the James Alegre Invitational boys basketball tournament is underway. A JV game between host Radford and Aiea began the day at noon. It was a rearranged schedule that allowed for the JV game, and Honokaa’s previously scheduled noon game was moved to 5 p.m.
No. 2 Punahou played at Farrington earlier in the week, on Monday, and won 59-30 (if I remember right). The Buffanblu are a bit young, but very talented and cohesive. They play like a group of seniors. Great ball movement, execution and patience while still running a lightning-quick fast break.
Governors doing a much better job against Punahou’s full court press today. Not perfect, but much more poised and better spacing. They’re also running their old-school flex offense with more efficiency. Guys figuring out when to attack out of it. My first experience really seeing it consistently was around 1992 when Merv Lopes introduced it to his Hawaii Prep team (yes, he coached in the BIIF). It took those young guns about two seasons to perfect it, and when they did, the rest of the league was mostly no match.
Quarter ends with Punahou ahead 11-9. Similar to Monday, when it was 14-13.
9-3 run by PUN has it at 20-12 now. Govs missing gimmie shots at the rim, but they are executing better this second time. They worked the ball into the low post and drew a foul, the bench erupted with applause. They’re a young team and they know it. Every improvement is a big step for these Govs. Punahou’s taking advantage of every miss and turnover, though, and getting quick transition points.
Govs trail 26-20 as Coach Steven Leopoldo platoons his guys, five in, five out. Punahou still bringing pressure and doubling the ball, just not getting easy steals like they did five nights ago.
Punahou leads at the half 28-20.
It was 31-26 when Jack Tufono hit a bucket, then another on a three-point play in the paint, and after Chris Kobayashi got open for a corner 3, it was an 8-0 run. Tufono scored again in the paint with :03 left to give Punahou a 45-32 lead entering the fourth quarter.
Govs got some momentum on Mosi Afe’s drive and dish to younger brother Chris Afe for a three-point play at the rim. But Punahou has answered with a couple of treys, including one with a Farrington defender not putting either hand up to contest the shot. That’s alligator arms defense. Punahou leads 53-37 with 5:11 to go.
Punahou up 66-39 with 2:27 to go. Time out, Farrington. All the poise and execution Farrington showed in the first three quarters disintegrated in the fourth. But the Govs are improving, no doubt about that.
Punahou’s depth and fundamentals are solid from top to bottom, and that’s a big reason why they’re No. 2 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10.