OIA-ILH Challenge: Punahou 68, Farrington 50

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Punahou and unbeaten Farrington met last week at the James Alegre Invitational. Farrington won 61-53. This time, Punahou has its football guys back, healed up from the long season.


Big crowd was huddled around the big-screen TV here at Moanalua as Marcus Mariota delivered his Heisman Memorial Trophy speech. Congratulations to a gentleman and scholar.

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Q1: Punahou 6, Farrington 4, 4:53
Buffanblu using a 2-2-1 fullcourt press to slow the Govs. Farrington’s not crisp in its halfcourt offense against PUN’s man. I think it’s going to be that kind of season for FAR, a lot of klunky halfcourt offense until all these new players gel. It’s especially challenging with a lineup that is lacking perimeter shooters. They’ll thrive on hustle plays, offensive boards and unselfishness. Jake Smith is a heady scorer, but there’s no lift on his pull-up J. But he is deadly on the open threes.

Punahou is having no problem with FAR’s fullcourt press, and yet, FAR is staying close, as usual.

The Buffanblu closed the quarter with wide open threes and easy layups. Kala‘i Santos hit a 3 early, then Kanawai Noa and Jared Lum scored on fastbreak layups against a very soft Farrington press. Noa then swished a trey from the right wing. Farrington a step slow so far. No platooning in their big games, like against PUN.

End Q1: Punahou 21, Farrington 12

Q2: Punahou 23, Farrington 12, 5:20
Time out by FAR, their second. Coaching staff not happy about execution and transition defense. Coach Allan Silva not saying a lot in the course of action, as always. But he’s got plenty to share with his team during this break. He’s not a yeller, not that I’ve seen.

PUN’s man defense forcing FAR to go deep into the 35-second shot clock. FAR is not a strong one-on-one iso kind of team, so this is becoming a big challenge. PUN rotating a lot of players, and the football guys who didn’t play last week like Micah Ma‘a and Noa are making an impact. Noa and Santos are especially tough on the press; they ran into each other going for an easy steal and ended up kicking the ball.

Just before that, Noa hustled for an offensive board — no boxout — and fed Dayson Watanabe for an easy 12-footer.

Mamiya pushes the break, feeds Jake Smith, who nails his second trey in a row. Time out, PUN. Their leads is down to 23-18, 2:37.

Keola Kealoha hits the floor for a steal and Ranan Mamiya scores a layup in transition. Kealoha then hits a 17-footer from the wing and FAR is within 23-22.

HALF: Punahou 31, Farrington 25
Kam came alive for Punahou with six points in a row to close the half. He hit a pull-up J at the foul line, a baseline J, and then worked inside for a putback in the last 5 seconds. Think those were his first points of the game. It’s not going to be easy for Matsuda to pare down this rotation. A lot of active parts, players who good enough to start for a lot of teams. A good problem.

Here’s the situation for Farrington. They’re tough defensively, attack the offensive glass, and certain players have very high roundball IQ. But the only one who can consistently get to the rack off the dribble is Mamiya and, eventually, smart defenses will sag off and dare him to shoot the 3. He’s got nice rotation on his shot, but it’s been very short and that will take some time to tweak.


I’m pretty sure most defenses in the OIA will go zone against Farrington, expecting them to struggle from the 3-point arc. That’s the safe approach. But going man against them isn’t a bad idea for a long team that is active and willing to box out. The Govs aren’t tall, but guys like Tatupu-Leopoldo are very active and smart.

That IQ level is one of the main reasons Farrington wins these close games in spite of its weaknesses.

Q3: Punahou 42, Farrington 33, 3:56
Govs inconsistent with a turnover against Punahou’s soft 2-2-1 press. Mamiya scored five points in a row, including a corner 3, but Watanabe had a nice drive and dish to Jordan Tanuvasa for a 22-foot trey, and then Watanabe hit a 3, and after Kam hit a 3, Punahou leads by nine. Time out, FAR.

End Q3: Punahou 46, Farrington 40
Tatupu-Leopoldo is key to this offense at this point. When they’re in halfcourt, his ability to create is vital. He drove from the top of the key, kicked it out to Smith, who hit the corner 3 and was fouled by Ma‘a. Four-point play.

Smith just took that role, driving and drawing Mamiya’s man. Mamiya took the pass and drove the baseline for a layup. They’re going to need a little more of that from Smith. That’s his first assist of the game.

I can see if FAR was running its traditional high-low game in the post, clogging up the driving lanes. But they’re not running it. The more Tatupu-Leopoldo and Smith look to drive and dish, FAR becomes much, much more dangerous with Mamiya working off the ball.

3.3 seconds on the clock, Punahou inbounds at halfcourt to Kam, who hits a pull-up 3 from the top.

Q4: Punahou 57, Farrington 46, 5:14
Kam asserting himself a lot more. He partially blocked a shot inside, but got whistled for a foul. Then he hit a low post shot after a small collision.

Govs trying to press, but PUN shreds it again for an easy layup. Kam hits a 3 from way out. 54-46. Then Watanabe hustles all the way back to track down Tatupu-Leopoldo for a steal, and Kam hits a wing 3 in transition. That’s a 10-4 run for a 57-46 lead.

Some Govs jogging back on defense during this quarter. Not good.

Q4: Punahou 60, Farrington 50, 3:31
PUN making the hustle plays. Santos intercepts a pass by Mamiya on a FAR fastbreak, Watanabe scores an open layup on the other side. Govs look like dead legs right now, maybe because they’re used to platooning.

Q4: Punahou 66, Farrington 50, 1:30
Tua Unutoa fouls out with 2:57 left. He’s a weapon unused. He spent much of the game trying to post up on guys 6-3 or 6-4, was never used as a stretch 4. He showed 3-point range last year. No points tonight. Puzzling.

Both teams empty their benches.


FINAL: Punahou 68, Farrington 50

OIA-ILH Classic
Saturday’s scores

Punahou 68, Farrington 50
> PUN—J.B. Kam 26 (four treys), Dayson Watanabe 14. FAR—Jake Smith 24 (four treys), Ranan Mamiya 16.

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