Today’s final matchups at the ‘Iolani Classic has more intraleague action than I normally would prefer. But the early game between Kahuku and Kaimuki of the OIA East was competitive. So was the just-completed Kaiser-Farrington (OIA East) matchup.
Now we have Kamehameha, ranked No. 6 in today’s Star-Advertiser Top 10, and Mid-Pacific of the ILH. The Owls are coming off a 39-38 upset win over No. 2 Kaiser. They lost to Fairfax in the opening round, then topped Kaimuki 72-41.
Kamehameha lost to Sierra Canyon (Calif.), which is in tonight’s tourney final, then beat then-No. 10 Kahuku 58-51 and Farrington 78-45. The Warriors are playing without Fatu Sua-Godinet, who has his left ankle wrapped. He’s in street clothes. Not sure if it’s the same ankle that he injured during football preseason. When preseason began, the Warriors looked clunky without the versatile senior. Now, they’re doing fine without him. Everything is running smoothly on both ends. (I didn’t say perfectly, and I know Coach Greg Tacon is a perfectionist.) But they have improved significantly since Week 1 and they weren’t too shabby even then.
Mid-Pacific is without 6-4 Justin Daise, a true banger in the paint. He’s been sidelined due to a concussion. The Owls came out flat against Kaiser yesterday and were down 16 points before rallying.
Warriors getting a big lift from sophomore Kamren Victorino-Kato, who has hit two treys and a layup already. Owls making some unforced turnovers. The Warriors and their stingy man defense doesn’t give up many open looks, so giveaways are not recommended. Unless you are Santy Claus.
Quarter ends with Kobe Young hitting a nice turnaround jumper near the foul line. Kamehameha 12, Mid-Pacific 4.
Owls coach Ryan Hirata lights a fire under his team during the break. They rushed at the end of the quarter instead of taking the last shot and he’s reminding them about this. It’s game four in a five-day tourney and whatever extra juice the players can get from Hirata is much needed. MPI has come a long way, but Kamehameha has a deep, balanced bench. The Owls have to play their best basketball now rather than later before Kamehameha runs away.
Warriors lead 15-8 with 5:30 to go. Kamehameha’s fullcourt pressure is taking a toll. They aren’t trapping in the backcourt, but the Owls are rushing anyway. The Owls are getting one shot out of system and no offensive boards. And finally, a turnover by the Warriors. That might be their first and we’re at 3:30 left in the first half.
Daniel Florenco has been impressive. He hasn’t scored much yet, but he’s in attack mode. Two years ago, when he was a sophomore, he was nowhere near being this kind of a floor leader.
Nakoa Pauole, a 6-2 junior, hits one of two FTs. Huge asset off the bench, a big body with a nice shooting touch and good feet. He’d be a starter for a lot of OIA teams. Jacen Kimura hits a 3 from the corner for MPI, but Pauole hustles for an offensive board and gets to the line again. Hits both FTs.
Owls gaining momentum on the offensive end, but can’t make a stop. Warriors lead 25-16 with 1:06 to go.
Zion Shepherd scores on the low post, his first basket of the game.
Now it’s big Cale Pedro and Young basically playing volleyball on the offensive glass. Pedro takes a few hits and bumps, but keeps working and scores on a putback. The Owls get a bucket on a drive and dish with :04 left in the half.
Kamehameha 27, Mid-Pacific 20
The Owls open with a halfcourt trap, but the Warriors move the ball and Saint Gelacio hits wing 2. Then the Warriors push fast on the fastbreak and Young scores an and-1 bucket as Logan Hutchinson is whistled for a blocking foul. KS 32, MPI 20.
Kimura banks in a 3 to make it 34-25, but there’s Pedro again. He hustles after a missed Kamehameha shot and flips the ball off the glass as Shepherd tries in vain to box him out. Pedro already had a step on him.
Time out, MPI, 2:27. KS 39, MPI 29.
Nice drive and dish on the baseline by Kaeler Kahana to Victorino-Kato, who rattles in the corner 3 for a 42-29 lead.
Peter Hanohano-Hashimoto with a sweet reverse layup. He’s a 6-2 senior off the bench. All this talent on the bench. And all playing team ball. Tacon has done a nice job.
The Owls get a little run to end the quarter. Shepherd’s steal at midcourt and layup cuts it to 44-33.
Kimura drives baseline to score, 44-35. But Jayden Zarriello hits a corner 3 to stifle the momentum for MPI. 47-35.
Florenco beats Zarriello to the long rebound and pushes upcourt. Bounce pass to Hutchinson on the left for a nice fastbreak bucket. But Noah Gelacio banks in a 15-footer. MPI still can’t get consecutive stops. Turnover by KS against MPI’s halfcourt press, but Shepherd misses the 1-and-1 FT.
Kamehameha with more trouble against the halfcourt pressure and has to call time out. 49-40, 4:14.
A sloppy pass by the Warriors, easy steal for Shepherd, but he can’t finish as he’s fouled. Makes one of two FTs. 49-41.
Kamehameha not aggressively looking to score and the pressure by the Owls keeps coming. It’s a struggle for the Warriors as we get under 3 minutes. This has the vibe of a regular-season ILH game.
MPI gave a couple of fouls and was up to six, but their trap failed. Hutchinson is running low on fuel and couldn’t get close to a steal, and the wing (Kahana) drove by for an easy layup. 51-41.
Hutchinson to the foul line, 1:28. He misses the first FT and the second. Short. Warriors miss a layup on the break, rebound by Shepherd as he falls backward, no call. Owls get two good looks, including one from 3, but miss. Noah Gelacio to the line for 1-and-1 with :59.1 left. He hits the first and the second. 53-41.
Zarriello to the line with :40 left. Tacon empties the end of his bench. Compared to the earlier games, this one is one a different level intensity-wise. That’s ILH D-I basketball. Zarriello hits both and subs out. 55-41.
That’s the final, 55-41. The Warriors claim the consolation championship.