Kameron Ng scored 10 of his game-high 20 points in the first quarter as St. Francis outmatched Kaimuki 76-42 on Monday night at the Pete Smith Classic.
Jett Tanuvasa added 12 points and Bryce Nishida chipped in 11 points. Sophomore Nalu Kanalulu added 10 points for the defending Division II state champion Saints. They improved to 2-0 in nonconference play. Guards Manoa Kualii-Moe and Kordel Ng provided plenty of spark defensively.
Fred Taulung led Kaimuki with 12 points. Clein Palik hustled for nine points.
The Saints were a bit in limbo before the summer. Ng, an All-State Fab 15 selection, was considering a move to the mainland for senior year. Instead, he returned to the islands, grew taller, got stronger and remains a poised combo guard.
“It was eye opening playing guys who are bigger, faster and stronger. I have to get better,” he said. “We’re getting our younger guys better and strengthen the program so that it’s strong when I’m done. The chemistry is there, a lot of us has been playing together for a long time.”
Coach Ron Durant has loaded up the preseason with six tournaments for his experienced squad.
“I’d like Kam to be more verbal on the court. He’s our hardest worker, but I’d like him to talk more to his teammates,” Durant said. “He got to spend some time with college coaches. He’s working on his defense a little more because if he wants to play at the next level, he’s got to show he can play defense.”
Boris Vukovic, their 6-foot-4 senior, scored just four points after sitting a long stretch with foul trouble. His two baskets came on drives from the elbow, complete with spin moves and a soft shooting touch. Durant wants to keep Vukovic and the sophomore, Kanalulu, on the block and elbow while the guards work the perimeter.
“Nalu is up from the JV specifically to back up Boris. He’s been working out with us since we began practice on Monday. He’s strictly basketball. He’s got great feet,” Durant said. “Nalu has the green light for that elbow shot. He’s got a nice touch. But he doesn’t have the green light for the 3-point shot. The offense is guards first, not posts first.”
Vukovic, a two-sport letterman from Serbia, has a key role on the floor.
“Boris, I try to remind him of the (D-II) championship game against Kalani,” Durant said. “He played within himself and had a breakout game, made the all-tournament team. He’s average when he’s out there (on the 3-point line), but around the rim, he’s special.”
The Saints will be busy with six tournaments before ILH D-II play tips off. Next week, they enter the Surfrider Holiday Classic. ILH D-I powerhouses ‘Iolani and Kamehameha will be in the field.
“We need to be more mentally tough, handle adversity and play through tough calls and mistakes,” Durant said. “It’s not just being tough around the basket, but playing the next play. Don’t worry about the last play.”
Updates from the Pete Smith Classic will be posted here.
McKinley 52, Nanakuli 43
Caleb Corpening scored 12 points and Kyle Moraga added 10 for the Tigers.
Jayrius Alapai scored all 10 of his points at the free-throw line to lead the Golden Hawks.
Kalaheo 65, Waianae 27
Ryan Pardini hit two treys and finished with 13 points for the Mustangs. Andrew Kearney playing center on defense and point guard on offense, added 11 points. Kanoa Smith added nine points. Blaze Kahikina paced the visiting Seariders with eight points.