George Weeks had no idea.
When sophomore Micah Mitchell poured in 47 points, including 13 treys, during a 87-80 loss to Le Jardin, he was simply keeping his team in the game.
“I didn’t even realize he made 13 threes. I was more concerned with our team making free throws and rebounding,” said Weeks, HBA’s boys basketball coach.
The win was crucial for the Bulldogs of Le Jardin, who are now 3-0 in ILH D-II.
“We came in knowing the whole game would be crazy,” Le Jardin coach Kenneth Powell said. “That run-and-gun style works for them. The six guys we use, we knew we weren’t going to slow down the game. We wanted to prove we could do it.
“We knew about (Mitchell). My gut feeling is that he took enough shots to warrant us allowing him to score that many points, a lot of contested shots. We knocked him down three or four times, literally, and he still made the shots,” Powell said.
Powell understands how a player from a losing team can be the center of attention.
“It was 47 points in a 32-minute game. Some people will say, ‘What’s the deal with that?’ But 47 points is something to recognize even in a losing effort,” Powell said.
“Never has anybody scored 47 points,” Weeks said of the players he has coached over the years. “Coach Kenneth Silva on my staff played with Kanoa Winchester. They played Dunbar (Md.) and Sam Cassell was checking him, and (Winchester) went 9-for-9. That had been the state record since 1989.”
Another HBA player, Jun Fritz, knocked down nine treys “in 2008 or 2009,” Weeks added, in a preseason game against Kauai. Mitchell is one step beyond all those great shooters at this point, in terms of statistics.
“From a team standpoint, Kalei Hosaka (B.J.’s older brother) held the school record with 54 3-pointers in one season. Micah already has 60,” Weeks said.
At 1-2 in the ILH D-II race, the Eagles (12-5 overall) seem to have a slippery slope ahead. If they don’t win the regular-season title, the only other way to qualify for states is to win the tortuous playoff tournament.
To get there, Weeks has implemented one of his old strategies. The run-and-gun blueprint he had stored away in a vault was unleashed, and Mitchell is one of the happy beneficiaries. Weeks knew Mitchell would shoot more because four Eagles were unable to suit up, but 47?
“That was his first really good shooting game from a percentage perspective,” HBA athletic director Deren Oshiro said.
Did Weeks see it coming?
“No, I didn’t,” he said. “In the first quarter, he hit five threes so we knew he was on. He just needed to keep shooting the ball. We don’t have a certain goal to shoot a number of threes.”
Last season, HBA had a dominant big man (Isaac Liva) and the league’s player of the year (B.J. Hosaka), and three point guards to fill out the starting lineup. Liva has since transferred to Mililani, Hosaka graduated and the Eagles had a different composition.
Mitchell took 20 shots against Le Jardin and made 13 3-pointers. The fourth quarter was whiplash time for fans; HBA and Le Jardin combined for 63 points.
“They play a seven-man rotation, so with the pace we come at you, it’s tough to defend every single possession,” Weeks noted. “If we get a wide open shot, we’re taking it.”
The weight isn’t just on Mitchell, though. Last season’s team relied heavily on a tight rotation. This year, it’s about spreading the wealth.
“As a coach, you want to see everyone participate and play,” Weeks said. “For all the success we had last year, we’ve exceeded all our expectations this year. That’s bigger than winning trophies.”