No. 1 Maryknoll does its job to set up All-ILH final

Maryknoll’s Marcus Tobin (22) kept the ball away from Kailua’s Isaiah Hopson (23) as Surfriders coach Walter Marciel shouted instructions. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

Perfection is unattainable on the hardwood, but that doesn’t stop the Maryknoll Spartans from trying.

The top seed, ranked No. 1 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10 for the past six weeks, demonstrated more of their defensive excellence on Friday night. Maryknoll’s 47-29 semifinal win over OIA runner-up Kailua produced some notable numbers.

>> Kailua shot 9-for-45 (20 percent) from the field

>> Kailua was 1-for-17 from 3-point range

>> Maryknoll made Kailua’s lethal scorer, Everett Torres-Kahapea, work for his 16 points: 4-for-19, including 0-for-11 from the arc, plus 8-for-10 at the free-throw line.

The Spartans were also an efficient 16-for-30 from the field (53 percent).

Coach Kelly Grant was displeased with one number, Kailua’s 14 offensive rebounds. He was happy to see guard Makoto Kamata score 17 points with just one turnover. Between Kamata (five rebounds, two steals), Kalai Akaka, Payton Grant (nine boards, four assists, three steals, two blocks), Marcus Tobin (eight points, six boards, one block) and Niko Robben (eight points, six boards, one block), the Spartans have a tall, long defensive-minded unit that simply smothers offenses into submission.

Maryknoll (29-2 overall) has allowed 50 or more points only four times all season.

Reserve center Liko Soares was highly effective tonight. Using his strength and size, he helped build a wall around the basket.

“We played them in preseason, in club ball,” he said, noting his focus on keeping Kailua’s 6-6 post, Isaiah Hopson, from doing major damage. “I try to take away his right and not let him get offensive rebounds. I tried my best.”

Hopson finished scoreless with two rebounds, settling for mid-range shots. Soares also matched up against Kailua’s John Sniffen.

“When they put their big guy in, we left Liko in,” Grant said.

Soares scored a few times on pick-and-rolls with Kamata.

“When he’s open, we try to get him the ball,” Kamata said.

Now it’s Punahou, a team that Maryknoll defeated in each of three matchups during the ILH season. The scores: 55-49, 51-39 and 55-42. Soares had his best game, Kamata said, in the playoff win over Punahou.

“Punahou is always tough. It just depends on our whole mindset,” Kamata said. “Coach says we have to stay humble.”

HHSAA D-I Playoffs

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 18Baldwin vs. KapoleiKapo, 49-41 (OT)Baldwin
2Feb. 18Kailua vs. KalaheoKail, 68-40Kailua
3Feb. 18Hilo vs. 'IolaniIol, 72-45Hilo
4Feb. 18Punahou vs. KahukuPun, 64-46Punahou
5Feb. 21(1) Maryknoll vs. KapoleiMryk, 51-30McKinley
6Feb. 21(4) Waiakea vs. KailuaKail, 52-48McKinley
7Feb. 21(2) Moanalua vs. 'IolaniIol, 52-47 (OT)Moanalua
8Feb. 21(3) Lahainaluna vs. PunahouPun, 74-54Moanalua
9*Feb. 22Moanalua vs. LahainalunaMoan, 58-52Stan Sheriff Center
10*Feb. 22Kapolei vs. WaiakeaKapo, 62-37Stan Sheriff Center
11Feb. 22'Iolani vs. PunahouPun, 48-42Stan Sheriff Center
12Feb. 22Maryknoll vs. KailuaMryk, 47-29Stan Sheriff Center
13*Feb. 23Moanalua vs. KapoleiKapo, 57-50Stan Sheriff Center
14*Feb. 23'Iolani vs. KailuaIol, 48-46Stan Sheriff Center
15Feb. 23Punahou vs. Maryknoll7 p.m.Stan Sheriff Center
* — consolation


  1. ??? February 23, 2019 5:17 am

    Good Morning:
    No surprise here The whole state predicted a
    Maryknoll-Punahou matchup..
    @Recruited not Rooted,, was the only person in Hawaii who actually thought the finals would be St Louis vs Sacred Hearts but once again he was Wrong like 99% of his posts😂
    Go Maryknoll……

  2. Coconut Tree February 23, 2019 8:55 pm

    AKAKA needs to pass the ball!!! Tries to dribble the ball through traffic. You beat the press by moving the ball not dribbling the ball.

  3. Mango March 12, 2019 6:08 pm

    @ Coconut Tree – 100% agree – how many times was the big man open – again easy points!

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