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
|1||Feb. 18||Baldwin vs. Kapolei||Kapo, 49-41 (OT)||Baldwin|
|2||Feb. 18||Kailua vs. Kalaheo||Kail, 68-40||Kailua|
|3||Feb. 18||Hilo vs. 'Iolani||Iol, 72-45||Hilo|
|4||Feb. 18||Punahou vs. Kahuku||Pun, 64-46||Punahou|
|5||Feb. 21||(1) Maryknoll vs. Kapolei||Mryk, 51-30||McKinley|
|6||Feb. 21||(4) Waiakea vs. Kailua||Kail, 52-48||McKinley|
|7||Feb. 21||(2) Moanalua vs. 'Iolani||Iol, 52-47 (OT)||Moanalua|
|8||Feb. 21||(3) Lahainaluna vs. Punahou||Pun, 74-54||Moanalua|
|9*||Feb. 22||Moanalua vs. Lahainaluna||Moan, 58-52||Stan Sheriff Center|
|10*||Feb. 22||Kapolei vs. Waiakea||Kapo, 62-37||Stan Sheriff Center|
|11||Feb. 22||'Iolani vs. Punahou||Pun, 48-42||Stan Sheriff Center|
|12||Feb. 22||Maryknoll vs. Kailua||Mryk, 47-29||Stan Sheriff Center|
|13*||Feb. 23||Moanalua vs. Kapolei||Kapo, 57-50||Stan Sheriff Center|
|14*||Feb. 23||'Iolani vs. Kailua||Iol, 48-46||Stan Sheriff Center|
|15||Feb. 23||Punahou vs. Maryknoll||7 p.m.||Stan Sheriff Center|
|* — consolation|