No. 2 Punahou escapes against No. 3 ‘Iolani 57-56

Punahou wing Jakob Kimura (2) and 'Iolani guard Frank Felix(14) fought for a loose ball in the fourth quarter of Tuesday's thriller. Photo by Bruce Asato/Star-Advertiser.

The numbers weren’t so shiny for No. 2 Punahou.

The grit certainly was there in abundance. Down eight points in the third quarter, Punahou went on an 18-3 run to seize the lead, and No. 3 ‘Iolani missed two layup tries in the final seconds as the Buffanblu escaped with a 57-56 win at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Thursday night.

The comeback was especially explosive as Jakob Kimura scored 10 of his 23 points during the third quarter. That turned a 37-29 deficit into a 47-40 lead early in the fourth.


Kimura also hustled for eight rebounds, and Duke Clemens added 13 points points and seven boards for Punahou, which is now 4-1 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (19-2 overall).

‘Iolani took advantage of a big opportunity in the final minute when Punahou’s Tamatoa Falatea missed a 3-point try. Down 57-53, ‘Iolani got a straightaway 3 by Noah Bumanglag to pull within one point. Moments later, after two missed foul shots by Punahou, they had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to win, but Bumanglag missed a difficult reverse layup and Frank Felix was short on his putback try with 2 seconds to play.

‘Iolani dropped to 3-2 in league play (12-6 overall).

Punahou shot 46 percent at the free-throw line (11-for-24) and 18 percent from the arc (2-for-11), yet found a way to win.

“We played lockdown defense and had a lot of energy, and we took a lot of good shots. When we were down eight, we knew it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” Punahou coach Darren Matsuda said.

The longtime coach would like better decisions with clock management. The Buffanblu took two unnecessary shots in the final minute along with the missed foul shots.


“That’s not a good shot. We’ve got to be smart,” Matsuda said, referring to Falatea’s missed 3 that opened the door for ‘Iolani. “We got lucky.”

Clemens was a bedrock in the low post, drawing double teams when he wasn’t scoring.

“Coach trusts us seniors. He tells us to trust the process, and that’s what got us this win,” the 6-foot-4 senior said. “We’ve just got to play fundamental basketball.”

Kawika Lee finished with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists to lead ‘Iolani. Sam Wheeler (3-for-7 from the arc) added 14 points and Felix (3-for-6 from the arc) added 12 points.

Punahou hosts Saint Louis on Thursday and Kamehameha on Saturday. Buffanblu teammates Clemens, Falatea, Maninoa Tufono and Kaulana Makaula had football practice earlier in the day at the Polynesian Bowl. They will be playing in the all-star game on Saturday and won’t be available for the matchup with Kamehameha.


‘Iolani entertains St. Francis on Thursday and has the weekend game-free.

The Raiders were 10-for-25 from the 3-point line (40 percent).
At Hemmeter Fieldhouse
‘Iolani (12-6, 3-2 ILH) 15 11 14 16 — 56
Punahou (19-2, 4-1 ILH) 12 13 20 12 — 57
IOL—Devan Fujinaka 0, Noah Bumanglag 5, Frank Felix 12, Sam Wheeler 14, Wesley Yamada 0, Carter Kamana 2, Kawika Lee 18, Shaydon Molina 3, Micah Camat 2.
PUN—Yoshi Kobayashi 2, Jakob Kimura 23, Peyton Macapulay 2, Maninoa Tufono 0, Tamatoa Falatea 8, Kai Nafarette 3, Kaulana Makaula 4, Ryder Hsiung 2, Jordan Deshawn Hepting 0, Duke Clemens 13.
3-point goals—‘Iolani 10 (Felix 3, Wheeler 3, Lee 2, Bumanglag, Molina), Punahou 2 (Kimura, Nafarette).

Punahou’s Maninoa Tufono, Tamatoa Falatea, Duke Clemens and Kaulana Makaula helped the Buffanblu beat ‘Iolani in a boys basketball game after football practice in the morning at Aloha Stadium for the Polynesian Bowl. Photo by Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser.

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