LIVE BLOG: St. Francis Holiday Hoops, semifinals

It’s been a flip-flop kind of day in the schedule here at St. Francis already. Because Kahuku and St. Francis are also playing concurrently in the Walter Wong Invitational, tournament officials swapped game times.

Waiakea stunned No. 10 Kailua in the scheduled consolation game at 3:30 p.m. Then No. 1 Punahou met Lahainaluna in a semifinal at 5 p.m. The Buffanblu won handily. (See results below.)

Next, No. 3 Damien and No. 6 St. Francis clash in a rematch. Damien defeated the Saints two weeks ago at the Damien Invitational. The final game, 8 p.m., pits Kalaheo and Kahuku in the consolation bracket.

No. 6 St. Francis 65, No. 3 Damien 58, FINAL, semifinal
The Monarchs cut the lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter, but didn’t get closer until the final minute of the game. Kordel Ng finished with 16 points for St. Francis (7-4), but it was his ball control against Damien’s press that was the biggest asset to the Saints. Jett Tanuvasa, another key ballhandler, added 10 points, including two second-half treys to stave off the Monarchs. Travis Liu, who the two early 3s that jump-started St. Francis, also finished with 10 points. Nalu Kanalulu scored 12 points before fouling out. Faaope Laloulu chipped in seven points and provided a new dimension defensively for the Saints in the paint.

Jydon Hall led Damien (9-1) with 21 points, knocking down five 3-pointers. Bryce Forbes hustled for 12 points. Jake Holtz scored eight of his 11 points during Damien’s rally in the third quarter.

St. Francis 50, Damien 40, end Q3
The Monarchs have awaken. They went to a fullcourt press to spark a 21-7 run. St. Francis played an earlier game at the Walter Wong Invitational, using both varsity and JV players. The fatigue didn’t show in the first half here, but it’s Damien that looks revitalized now.

St. Francis 39, Damien 12, halftime
Ng has played well, but unlike other games, he’s not having to carry the scoring load. He’s creating shots for his posts, and when they get doubled, Nalu Kanalulu and Laloulu are finding open shooters at the arc. It’s been almost flawless zone offense for the Saints.

Damien has struggled from the start against St. Francis’ zone. High posts losing the ball as the Saints’ guards hover in and swipe. Missed layups in transition, all contested. The Saints aren’t letting Damien get many open looks anywhere, any time. They look like the hungrier team, no question.

St. Francis 33, Damien 9, 3:00, Q2
St. Francis’ hulking football lineman, Faaope Laloulu, sinks a putback and the home crowd roars. He swishes the and-1 foul shot and it’s a 28-9 Saints’ lead. Laloulu is 6-foot-7, 350 pounds and playing extended minutes here in the second quarter. A literally huge addition for Coach Ron Durant. Moments later, Kordel Ng drives to the bucket and it’s 31-9. Damien looks out of sync, an unbeaten team facing adversity. Ng drives, draws a double team and dishes to Laloulu for an uncontested layup and it’s 33-9. WOH.

St. Francis 25, Damien 8, 6:08, Q2
Liu sinks another 3, his third of the game, on a skip pass and it’s a 17-point lead. Time out, Damien. St. Francis shooting like a team on a mission. Sort of like Villanova in the 1979 NCAA final against Georgetown.

No. St. Francis 20, No. 3 Damien 8, end Q1
Last time, Damien defended its home court in a 74-60 win over the Saints. This time, it’s St. Francis holding down the fort at home. Chase Akana splashed two corner 3s to open the lead to 10-2, and Titus Liu swished two more treys to spark the Saints. With both teams in 2-3 matchup zones, working with a 30-second shot clock, halfcourt execution is at a premium

No. 1 Punahou 74, Lahainaluna 46, semifinal
The Buffanblu (10-1) took command with a 26-14 run in the third quarter and advanced to the title game. Tamatoa Falatea led a balanced Punahou attack with 12 points. Center Duke Clemens added 10 points.

Punahou led 31-24 at halftime, and then Jakob Kimura scored all nine of his points during the third-quarter run.

Point guard Reece Pascua led the Lunas (2-3) with 11 points. Malino Jacinto added 10

Waiakea 68, No. 10 Kailua 65, consolation
William Soares poured in 29 points while Elijah Blankenship and Kiai Apele added 15 each for the Warriors. Makana Kaehuaea Credo chipped in 10.

Nainoa Peters scored 18 and Isaiah Hopson tallied 17 to pace Kailua. Everett Torres-Kahapea added 12.

No. 10 Kahuku 63, No. 5 Kalaheo 56, FINAL, consolation
The Red Raiders saw an early lead turn into a 10-point deficit before rallying in the second half. Kamuela Miller, a 6-5 senior, was unstoppable on the glass after intermission. His steady play opened the lanes for senior Ethan Erickson, who powered his way to 31 points. Kenai Liua added 10 points.

Ryan Owens led the Mustangs with 14 points. Kanoa Smith tallied 12 and Robert Thompson chipped in 10.

Kahuku had played an earlier game at the Walter Wong Invitational, like St. Francis. Both teams won their second games at St. Francis.

Wednesday’s schedule
>> No. 10 Kailua vs. No. 5 Kalaheo, seventh place, 3:30 p.m.
>> No. 6 St. Francis vs. Lahainaluna, third place, 5 p.m.
>> Waiakea vs. No. 10 Kahuku, fifth place, 6:30 p.m.
>> St. Francis vs. Punahou, championship, 8 p.m.
Note: Lahainaluna’s game was rescheduled to 5 p.m. due to a 9 p.m. flight home to Maui.


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