LIVE BLOG: Friday at the Alegre Invitational

Busy with other important tasks, but I get to see some boys basketball for the first time this season today at one of the finest tournaments in the islands, the James Alegre Invitational. I’ll be starting, keeping notes, videotaping and blogging throughout the afternoon and night.

Update, 9:55 p.m.
James Alegre Invitatioal
Friday’s scores
Lahainaluna 51, Hayward (Calif.) 30
Saint Louis 63, Radford 56
Honokaa 37, Leilehua 34
Punahou 64, Farrington 33
St. Francis 61, Kalaheo 54
Saturday’s games
2 p.m. Farrington vs. Honokaa
3:30 p.m. Radford vs. Lahainaluna
5 p.m. Leilehua vs. Hayward
6:30 p.m. Kalaheo vs. Punahou
8 p.m. Moanalua vs. Saint Louis

Friday’s live blog below.


The Lunas of Lahainaluna lead Hayward (Calif.) 11-1 after one quarter. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.
The Lunas of Lahainaluna lead Hayward (Calif.) 11-1 after one quarter. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.
Lahainaluna vs. Hayward

2 p.m.
Hayward (Calif.) vs. Lahainaluna
Pre-game: The Lunas are a program that has bought into this blueprint: Spend one month each summer as a team in California training and playing tougher competition. Last year, it showed with some positive results. I saw them in the title game of the St. Francis tournament and they were disciplined and long and patient. But they didn’t go as far as I expected in the postseason. This season, so far, so good.

They won at the James Alegre Invitational on Wednesday. Was it two games or one? I’m in catch-up mode right now. On Thursday, the Lunas defeated Farrington handily. Hayward defeated Moanalua on Thursday.

Live blog: Getting into the gym was easy. Fred Salanoa, former longtime football coach here at Radford, is greeting spectators at the entry. “Did you hear the breaking news?” he asked. Yes, I certainly did.

Getting into the parking lot here? Park up front by the main office. The regular parking lot is still occupied by teachers’ cars, etc. School is still in session on this Friday. I got here just in time for the opening tip, video rolling. Lahainaluna jumped to leads of 7-0 and 11-1 as the squad from California seems just a bit flat, maybe jet lag setting in. The Lunas are playing well, as I expected. They’d love to post a win over a Cali team. Coach Jason Justus hasn’t sat down once and there’s 1:11 left in the first quarter.

Superfan Randy Miyamoto says one of Hayward’s bigs, Kyle Kleiner, a lanky kid about 6-foot-6, is interested in playing for Chaminade. Good shooter. But he didn’t get a shot off yet. Randy gives a thumbs up to their PG, Andre Terry, who has handles and is athletic, but shoots a knuckleball shot.

End Q1: Lunas 11, Hayward 1.

Q2: Nice rally by the visitors. Coach yelled, “Wake up!” as the second quarter began, and they team seemed to get a spark. Steal for a layup cut it to 11-6. Lunas opened it to 17-8 on a couple of nice low-post moves by Tavake Faleta. But the rest of the quarter was Hayward, including a corner 3 with :04 left in the half.

End Q2: Lunas 21, Hayward 18.

Q3: Similar to the first quarter, Lunas start fast. They open the second half with a 7-0 run and the Farmers call time out, down 28-18. Aukai Kama with two nice blocks to protect the paint. The second one leads to a fastbreak layup and a 34-20 Lunas lead. Their depth is a factor as Justus rolls his reserves in consistently.

Lunas get a drive-and-dish layup at the buzzer. Not a good finish for the Farmers.

End Q3: Lunas 38, Farmers 25.

Q4: Lunas score underneath, patient as always, and the lead is 15, biggest of the game.

Had time to get a program, impeccable work by one of the best high school media ever, Radford High School. I remember when they charged just 50 cents and I suggested they should bump it to at least a dollar. It’s still underpriced. Don’t tell them I wrote that.

Farmers are down 42-27 when they go to fullcourt pressure. Lahainaluna handles it well and scores. Fullcourt presses are like soccer shootouts to me. If you have a good one, just use it early. I know that opinion is not in line with the vast majority. Just like my take that shootouts (penalty kicks) should be done before a match and, if necessary, afterward. In Hayward’s case, they might not feel they have the depth and energy to press early in a game, but there are five on the bench. Then again, might be too early in preseason for any program to have extended defensive pressure working right.

Lunas have extended their lead to 46-27 with 2:36 left.

End Q4: Lahainaluna 51, Hayward 30.

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Post-game:

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3:30 p.m.
Saint Louis vs. Radford
Pre-game: The Crusaders lost 60-55 to Kalaheo, which got 40 points from fourth-year guard Captain Whitlock. FORTY. Seeing him play at the youth level, he always had a high hoops IQ and skill level, but it’s tremendous to see him become an offensive juggernaut as a senior.

The host Rams lost to Honokaa 54-50 on Wednesday and St. Francis 62-40 on Thursday. Saint Louis lost some key talent to graduation: All-State center Tristan Nichols is playing college football now. But Jaymason Nunuha is back, a 6-2 guard with 3-point range, and I expect forward/center Chris Sykes (center of the mighty Makakilo Knights 12U some years back) to find his groove this season.

Live blog:
Q1: Fifty-three seconds in, it’s 0-all and Crusaders coach Allan Silva calls a 30-second time out. No roster in the program for Saint Louis, possibly because their roster was still probably figured out in the past week or so while the football team played in the state football final. They’ve got Nunuha at the point, facing a 2-3 zone by Radford. Their big man is Texas transfer Josh White, a 6-foot-5 mountain of a man, son of former Campbell football standout Josh “Zeus” White.

Jalen Smith is at the top of Saint Louis’ zone defense. He was 6-5 last year as he sat out after transferring from Kalaheo. He looks about 6-7 or 6-8 now, still agile. A lot of athleticism on the floor, rim-level challenges. Radford PG Santino Calloway drives on Smith for a tough bank shot and three-point play. Rams F Jordan Pender blocks a layup by Smith. Saint Louis with a block on the other end. Lots of defense, if that’s your thing.

End Q1: Crusaders 13, Rams 10.

Q2: Pace picking up. 3 by Jamar Hill for Radford, then a follow bucket by White, followed by another right-wing 3, this one by Christian Cristobal and is within 20-18 with 4:30 left.

Marcus Copeland, a 6-2 forward, operates more like a PG. He has a sweet bounce pass in transition to a teammate for a layup and the Rams are within 22-20.

Supersub Junior Wily with two explosive drives on the fastbreak for layups and the Crusaders lead 28-20 with 2 minutes left.

End Q2: Crusaders 30, Rams 22.

Q3: Quick start for the team in red. Sykes with a foul-line J, and then he runs the break as it takes Saint Louis two passes, the assists by Noa Purcell, to go from rebound to layup. Purcell drives on the break, scores on another layup and it’s 36-24.

Wing 3 by Earl Jay Navarro helps the Rams pull within 36-31, but White scores on a fastbreak. Time out with 1:56 to go in Q3.

Copeland drives hard for a transition layup, but Smith powers inside for a bank shot and three-point play. Pender scores on an inbounds pass, easy low-post bucket, with 12 seconds left in the third.

End Q3: Crusaders 41, Rams 35.

Q4: Nice high-low pass from Smith to Sykes, tough to stop, for an easy deuce. ST 43-37.

Radford with back-to-back offensive rebounds on free-throw misses, cutting the lead to 43-40. Saint Louis having trouble against Radford’s high pressure. Silva has Nunuha pull the ball out and Radford extends. Calloway is a real pest on the ball, tremendous energy.

Crusaders lead 46-42 with 5 minutes left when Wily goes coast to coast for another layup. Calloway answers with an and-1 layup in traffic. Some tough-nosed guards in this one. Fearless. Calloway swishes the FT, Saint Louis’ lead is 48-45 with 4:25 left.

Nunuha drives from the top and misses wildly on the left side, but Sykes is there for the follow. Nunuha steals the inbounds pass. Time out, Saints, 50-45, 3:34.

1:37 to go, Radford time out. Saint Louis leads 58-50. Silva likes to have Wily in the game at the end of each half, big-time offensive sparkplug. Sykes with a key putback to make this a three-possession game.

Nunuha misses a reverse layup and Navarro sinks a wing 3, STL 59-53. Wily hits one FT, 60-53, 1:01. Calloway misses two FTs. Wild scramble at midcourt, travel called on the Rams. :43 left.

Nunuha facing tight on-ball pressure from Jeremy Ramos, drives and forces up a shot that doesn’t touch rim, but Sykes again bails him out with a putback. 62-53. Radford calls time out with :16.8 to go.

End Q4: Saint Louis 63, Radford 56.

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Post-game: Nunuha is playing the point. Rebounding. Playing great D. His brother would be proud. Uh… pretty much everything. And he is tired, right?

“Out of shape from football. We’re missing Isaac. It’s a lot different (this year). I like both (roles). Playing point is different,” he said. “We need to work on communicating, pretty much on everything. We’re just recovering from football.”

Saint Louis senior guard Jaymason Nunuha following the Crusaders' win over Radford. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.
Saint Louis senior guard Jaymason Nunuha following the Crusaders’ win over Radford. Friday, Dec. 2, 2016.
Honokaa coach Jayme Carvalho greets a Leilehua player. Dec. 2, 2016.
Honokaa coach Jayme Carvalho greets a Leilehua player. Dec. 2, 2016.

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5 p.m.
Honokaa vs. Leilehua
Pre-game: Every year in the Alegre, it seems I see these two teams play. The Dragons’ annual trek to the Land of Rad has everything to do with the namesake of this tourney. James “Jim” Alegre grew up on the Big Island, graduated from Honokaa, became a teacher and legendary coach at Radford. Gentleman Jim — he much preferred to be called Jim, but his circle of friends prefer James — was and still is perhaps the most apt handle ever for anyone I got to meet. Miss the man. A competitor, winner and generous to the maximum. I’ll never forget him insisting on feeding me after the tourney games ended, even if I’d already dined on the fine cuisine from the Radford snack bar.

The Dragons, coached by 1990s scoring machine Jayme Carvalho, started the week — as they did last year — by playing at Roosevelt. (Rough Riders won 48-43 on Tuesday.) Since then, it’s been two games per day as Carvalho scheduled extra action to keep his team busy and developing.

The Mules lost some key players to graduation, but are still going to be a serious contender in the OIA West. Liam Fitzgerald, son of Coach Russ Fitzgerald, is a sharpshooter, maybe the best on that side. The best statewide? We’ll see.

Q1: Lots of turnovers by both teams. Fitzgerald with a couple of steals, much quicker — and taller — this year as a junior.

End Q1: Mules 6, Dragons 5.

Q2: Fitzgerald on the scoring end of another transition run by the Mules. Honokaa turnover, and the pass downcourt to Fitzgerald for the layup, 8-5 Mules. He’s not listed on the program roster, but I’d guess Fitzgerald is about 6-5 now.

No stats on hand, but my guess is Honokaa has about 10 turnovers. At least. They match up well athletically and physically, but the turnovers are typical early-preseason stuff for most teams. And yet, with 3:24 left in the half, they trail 8-7.

Fitzgerald rebounding, passing, just about everything. Two free throws for a 12-9 lead, but the Dragons hit a straightaway 3 to tie it. Time out, Mules, with :29 left in the half.

The Mules inexplicably take a tough mid-range shot with :14 left, gather an offensive board, and then throw the ball away. Koalii Callihan with the steal and tough layup to give Honokaa the lead with :04 left in the half.

End Q2: Dragons 14, Mules 12.

Q3: Mules with a turnover against Honokaa’s 2-2-1 three-quarter press. The press didn’t hurt Leilehua in the second quarter, but there it is. Kamuela Spencer-Herring with a nice turnaround jump hook (lefty) to open the Dragons’ lead to 18-12, and then another turnover by the Mules. Spencer-Herring scores inside again, 20-12 Honokaa. Time out, Leilehua, 6:08.

Mules stay in man defense, Fitzgerald swats a shot, but called for a foul. Kelvin Falk to the foul line. Hits both FTs, 22-12, Honokaa’s biggest lead. And another turnover against the 2-2-1 and the Dragons are on the run. Back to the foul line. Kysen Datuin at the line. Huge turnaround since the turnover-plagued first quarter for Honokaa. Datuin his one of two, 23-12.

Jeremi Santos’ 5-foot bank shot ends the skid for Leilehua. That was a 9-0 run by Honokaa to start the half.

Honokaa’s bench roars as reserve Kahakea Callihan scores on a nice feed in the middle of the paint. Fitzgerald drives hard and his layup falls in. Honokaa up 27-16 and the 2-2-1 is an issue for the Mules, though they’re slowly figuring it out.

Mules handling the 2-2-1 much better, but not scoring when they break it. Running flex offensively. Fitzgerald to the line, rattles both home, hustles back on defense to steal a pass. His feed downcourt leads to an easy layup.

Breakneck pace back and forth. Leilehua has the ball last, but the layup is a split-second too late as the buzzer sounds.

End Q3: Dragons 27, Mules 21.

Q4: Mules with perimeter pressure and No. 1 (sorry, program roster has the wrong team there (hustles for five points in a row to cut the lead to 27-26.

Dragons get a corner 3, but Fitzgerald pushes the ball and scores off his own miss, Honokaa 30-28, 5:23.


Mules staying back in a 2-3 zone. Falk swishes a wide-open wing 3.

Honokaa up 33-30, 2:17 left. Spencer-Herring hits the front of a 1-and-1. Long on the second, but a lane violation called on Leilehua. Fitzgerald. Long again on the FT, Mules rebound.

Honokaa reckless with the ball, sloppy turnover in the paint. Fitzgerald drives for a nice lefty layup, 34-32, Honokaa clinging to the lead. Now Honokaa misses a tough perimeter shot, rebound Mules. They call time out, 1:06. Looks like Honokaa isn’t interested in winning this game. I might be wrong.

Mules patiently work past the 2-2-1 (soft this time) and penetrate through the foul line, but the pass to an open Mule goes off his shoulder. Those 4-foot bullet passes are always tough. No. 2 (not listed) hits the front of a 1-and-2 for Honokaa. Misses the second.

Leilehua down 35-32 with :19 left, drive for a bucket, 35-34, fouls with :08.1 left. Mystery man #2 back to the line. Hits the first, hits the second. Honokaa leads 37-34 and calls time out. Leilehua out of time outs.

Mules split the 2-2-1, but lose the dribble as Fitzgerald waits in the left corner wide open. Turnover, Honokaa dribbles out the clock.

End Q4: Honokaa 37, Leilehua 34.

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Post-game:

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6:30 p.m.
Punahou vs. Farrington
Pre-game: The Governors lost to Lahainaluna to start the tourney. Punahou downed Moanalua 59-33 on Wednesday. From an ILH perspective, it’s interesting in this stage of preseason with ‘Iolani defending its title at the Surfrider Classic and Punahou at the Alegre. Kamehameha is usually in the Alegre; who can forget Dyrbe Enos a few years back dropping 31 points on 14-for-17 shooting with no turnovers in his first game of senior year.

As for Punahou, even with talented Cole Arceneaux sidelined (knee injury during football), they’re skilled, long, big and deep. Chris Kobayashi, the 3-point marksman-turned-tough-penetrator, is the elder statesman of the group, which is still relatively young, but deep in roster numbers, hoops IQ and team chemistry. They run the floor and it’s entertaining to watch. Virtually the entire roster returns from last year’s solid campaign, a run to the state title game. It’s Coach Darren Matsuda’s birthday today. He would skip the cake, if necessary, if the Buffanblu notch another victory.

The Govs had a very young team last season, and they have some good individual talent with brothers Mosi Afe and center Chris Afe under second-year head coach Steven Leopoldo.

Q1: Zayne Chong with five points, including a 3, as the Buffanblu start strong. Kobayashi’s 3 makes it 8-0. Governors running, but turning the ball over in halfcourt set. No sign of C Chris Afe, who started last year as a freshman. Coach Leopoldo is platooning five in, five out. So is Coach Matsuda. Ke‘ala Martinson with a reverse layup and it’s 10-0, Punahou. Govs call time out with 3:21 left.

Govs with zero box out under the bucket as Punahou gets three offensive boards and scores again, 15-0. Chong adds another 3 before Mosi Afe drives for a fastbreak layup before the buzzer.

End Q1: Buffanblu 20, Governors 4.

Q2: Punahou pressure all over the court and the Govs are racking up turnovers. Vaitornoa Agor had a nice up-and-under move on the low post and Afe scored off a steal at midcourt, but otherwise, the Govs have struggled to escape Punahou’s swarming defense. During the summer, Punahou looked Indy 500 fast with Arceneaux, and they still have superior transition speed and enough 3-point shooting to create big momentum swings with their spacing. All in all, though, the Buffanblu reserves are getting valuable minutes and Farrington has a lot to build on by playing a Top 5 (Top 2?) team like Punahou this early.

End Q2: Buffanblu 38, Govs 12.

Q3: Govs turn the ball over as Cole Mausolf steals a soft cross-court pass and scores. But Afe drives for a pump-fake 7-foot banker and feeds Paul Madamba for an NBA-range trey. Govs’ second unit enters and turns it over, but scores on a Felcris Ahadain layup. They’re starting to match Punahou’s intensity level, which is good news in the long term for Farrington.

Punahou riding reserves, mixing lineups. Falcon Kaumatule hits one of two FTs. He’s basically impossible to stop being 6-8 and active, just hasn’t become an automatic scorer down low yet. It will come.

Buffanblu picking off passes off midcourt traps, on another run before Leopoldo calls time out. Buffanblu lead 49-21. Govs still pushing hard. Leopoldo doing a nice job keeping his team focused and scrappy. Instead of shying away from contact and panicking against traps, they’re embracing the contact, making the skip pass, battling on the boards — boxing out a little — and now this is a much more competitive game. Afe scores on a breakaway layup and draws the foul.

The beauty of what Punahou does, using its athleticism and depth to the fullest, is that everyone contributes, everyone runs. But they haven’t established any kind of consistent low-post offense. I’d like to see them get Duke Clemens a few touches down low, just to get some reps, some confidence. Not that he needs it. But at some point in the preseason or ILH season, the steals and easy points won’t exactly be there and Clemens will become a key cog in the offense against the bigs of ‘Iolani, Kamehameha, Mid-Pacific, Maryknoll…

A lot of Punahou fouls in the first half had Farrington in the bonus. This time, Farrington is in the bonus during the third quarter.

End Q3: Buffanblu 54, Govs 26.

End Q4: Punahou 64, Farrington 33. There’s a nice birthday present for Coach Matsuda.

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Post-game:

8 p.m.
St. Francis vs. Kalaheo
Pre-game: The Mustangs, with Whitlock at the controls, have a truckload of talent, both homegrown and transfers from private schools. Can Captain carry this team every night? I’m pretty sure Coach Rob Pardini would prefer some balance. But from a fan perspective, I’d love to see Captain score another 40 just for fun. There have been a lot of talented hoopsters over the decades who haven’t scored 40 or more in a game due to team balance, blowout situations (sitting the final quarter or so), or simply great defensive effort.

Twenty points is stellar enough, and 30 is outstanding. Forty? D-I, D-II, any level, that’s skill. And right now, the Mustangs need those points as they develop chemistry offensively. Looking forward to this.

St. Francis is a Division II basketball program in name, but the talent is there, certainly, with guard Kameron Ng and lanky playmaker Manoa Kualii-Moe. Want a taste of what a combined ILH-OIA basketball league would be like? This would be an Eastern Conference matchup. Coach Ron Durand has a roster that is as tall almost any OIA team, with five players 6-1 or taller.

Q1: Saints are running and pushing, Boris Vukovic hits a straightaway 3 and races ahead on a fastbreak for a lead pass and layup. Saints lead 11-3. Ryan Pardini’s wing 3 cuts it to 11-6, and then he drives for a tough layup against the Saints’ man defense.

St. Francis with some sloppy offense, including a fadeaway air ball by Vukovic, but Noah Woodby is whistled for a charge. Noah Kurosawa drills a corner 3 and is talking up a storm to his bench. The Saints are charged up and I wonder if they’re just a tiny bit overcharged right now. No sign of Whitlock. He might be one of the guys in street clothes. Bummers.

End Q1: Saints 19, Mustangs 17.

Q2: Mustangs bring fullcourt pressure, and the tempo gets even more interesting. Saints score against the press moments after Kalaheo took the lead. C Andreas Jankovic’s layup makes it 23-21, Kalaheo. Big scramble off a St. Francis miss, and Vukovic scores off a feed for an and-1 layup. Time out, 5:37, 23-all.

Good ball movement by the Saints against Kalaheo’s 2-3 zone, and Bryce Nishida swishes a wing 3 for a 27-23 STF lead. Pardini is irate about his team’s defense.

Time out, 1:42, Saints lead 31-30.

Saints back in man defense, on the ball at halfcourt. The Mustangs’ ballhandling has fairly good, but with Whitlock out, it’s clearly a different chemistry now.

End Q2: Saints 31, Mustangs 30. I’m told by Felipe Ojastro that Whitlock is resting with a groin injury. Tourney official David Lane said he hurt it in the final 4 minutes against Honokaa on Thursday. Ouch. Get well, son of Tes.

Q3: Both teams sloppy offensively to start the second half. Fatigue kicking in? This is the third game in the days for Kalaheo; the second in two days for St. Francis.Micah Kalei’s foul-line J tumbles in. Jankovic called for an off-ball offensive foul.

Kalaheo in tough man defense. St. Francis in zone, now back to man. Pardini with a difficult, twisting baseline J that falls. 33-32, STF. Saints have Kualii-Moe starting the second half, fresh legs. But Harry Wallace nails a baseline J to give Kalaheo a 34-33 lead.

Kalei answers with another bucket, STF 35-34. Ng with a steal, drives and feeds Kalei for a bucket. Kalaheo answers with a wing 3 by Kai Samiere to tie the game at 37. Game of the day, no doubt about it.

Freshman Kordell Ng has a huge third quarter with six points in a row, all inside against the Kalaheo bigs with the exception of a hustle play to grab a loose ball and score a layup. A corner 3 by Samiere with :05 left is a huge momentum lift for Kalaheo.

End Q3: Saints 45, Mustangs 42.

Q4: Saints running away. Kordell Ng, a.k.a. The Blur, crosses over twice dribbling upcourt, the scores on a lefty layup. Then Kameron Ng scores easily on a leak-out off a rebound by Supilani Mailei, and the Saints lead 51-42, their biggest margin. Time out by Kalaheo with 6:26 to go.

Official talking to Jankovic and Mailei at midcourt during the time out.

Woodby with a nice turnaround J on the low post, old school and why wouldn’t Kalaheo keep going back to it? Time out, Saints, 5:33.

Off the top of my head, a Top 10 ballot (poll will be out next week, I believe) would look like this:

1. ‘Iolani. Defending champs are No. 1 until proven otherwise.
2. Punahou. Depth. Skill. Physical. Fast. Unselfish.
3. Kamehameha. Lots of talent returns for Coach Greg Tacon. Quick, long, and Kobe Young as a stretch 5 who can block shots is a unique weapon.
4. Kahuku. The return of the incomparable Samuta Avea… what a treat for Red Raider fans and all hoop fans in the islands. He was tearing leagues up as a 6-1 13-year-old, went to Utah as a junior to help win a state championship, and has returned for his senior year.
5. Kalaheo. Even if the Mustangs lose tonight to St. Francis, there’s no question how dangerous they are with a healthy Captain.
More later.

St. Francis with some unforced errors, composure issues, normal for a young team no mater how talented or well-coached. Kalaheo getting extra opportunities. Woodby cuts the lead to 53-46 with two FTs, Kalaheo traps fullcourt, and it gets messy for a second. Foul on Kalaheo, but a technical on St. Francis for the reaction. STF misses the 1-and-1, then Woodby sinks two more foul shots and it is 53-48 with 3:33 to go.

Mustangs using their small-ball lineup, no Jankovic, but a soiid press unit. St. Francis gambles with a 2-3 zone, but Samiere misses an open wing 3. Saints barely keeping possession against Kalaheo’s man and Durand is coaching his tail off. This is not a group that naturally wants to hold the ball. Kameron Ng to the line for 1-and-1, all net. Second shot good, STF 55-48, 2:43.

Pardini with a fake and open corner 3, rims out, Woodby’s follow ratles out. Steal by Kalaheo on the inbounds pass, Samiere fouled in the act of shooting, 2:18. Time out, STF. Samiere makes the first, misses the second FT, but there’s Woodby again with the offensive board. Mustangs miss in front of the rim and Kalei rebounds. And a personal foul and technical foul on Pardini, the player. Kalei shooting 1-and-1 with 1:53 to go. Misses the first. Now the tech shots. It’s Kameron Ng at the line. Makes the first and the second. Saints 57-49 and they gain possession.

Drive and bounce pass to Mailei, he bobbles it away, hits the ground and bats the ball back to his teammates. OFficial time out to wipe a wet spot, 30-second time out by the Saints. St. Francis’ toughest games will mostly be in this preseason against D-I powerhouses like Kalaheo. They really don’t belong in D-II, except for the basic concept that they are a small school.

Pass in to Mailei, he kicks it out and Coach Pardini orders his team to foul. Kalei goes to the line, 1:14, 1-and-1. Long again, Mailei rebounds and is fouled. He’s just too strong for this smaller Kalaheo lineup. Jankovic still on the bench. Mailei’s first FT (double bonus) tumbles over the front of the iron. Second shot long, 58-49.

Andrew Kearney drives baseline for a bucket, 58-51. Kameron Ng crosses midcourt but is called for an offensive foul. Woodby’s 8-footer in the paint is an air ball. Justice Paaluhi-Caulk at the line, hits the first, and the second, all net, 60-51.

Samiere’s wing 3 is defended well, an awkward air ball, but again, Woodby hustles for the rebound and feeds Pardini, who swishes a wing 3. Time out, Kalaheo, :26.3 left, 60-54. Durand upset. He says the ball was already inbounded. Officials won’t negotiate.

Saints break the press, Kalaheo won’t foul. Fifteen seconds burn off. Kurosawa hits one of two FTs, 61-54.

End Q4: St. Francis 61, Kalaheo 54.

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Post-game: Big win for D-II St. Francis, but a noteworthy and signature win for Durand and his program. Whitlock must be bummed. Kalaheo will play Punahou tomorrow, no word if Whitlock will suit up. St. Francis is done playing after two games in this pre-set schedule format. The Saints will host Kahuku on Saturday: JV 3:30 p.m. and varsity 5 p.m.

All in all, this game played out pretty much the way I expected. Kalaheo tough whether one player is injured or not. St. Francis just a little too fast and deep in tonight’s matchup. Kordell Ng played huge in that pivotal third quarter. Easy to say Kalaheo would’ve been closer or would’ve won with Whitlock, but we don’t know how much bigger Ng and his teammates would have played in that scenario, either.

“We should’ve played better,” Whitlock said after the game.

Spoken like a coach, of course, since he is the son of one.


He may play if the groin injury improves quickly, but there really isn’t any reasonable impetus to rush him back, even if it is Punahou waiting.

St. Francis at No. 6? Maaaybe.

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