By Paul Honda
Tall order for the Kailua Surfriders.
They bounced back from last week’s heart-wrenching loss to Roosevelt with an impressive win at Waianae on Tuesday. This means Kailua needs two wins over Roosevelt, the only undefeated team in the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference double-elimination tourney, to win the league crown.
The Surfriders are capable. They had a 34-17 lead on Roosevelt when they played at McKinley Student Council Gym last week.
Jordan DeCorte is a powerful scorer on the low post, but does most of his damage in the early going, as he did in the loss to Roosevelt. Rhys Nakakura is a streaky long-range shooter. Corey Lau is a ultra-quick point guard, but he was somewhat neutralized in the second half against Roosevelt.
Kailua is tall and athletic, but until another scoring option — ideally a slasher with mid-range accuracy and good passing skills — emerges, there will be ups and downs.
Roosevelt? The Rough Riders aren’t a complicated team. They’re turnover prone at times, but capable of getting big plays on both ends thanks to center Kaipo Pale. The junior erases a lot of mistakes by teammates. They’re undersized, but never fail to attack the basket, especially with slasher Brendan Nakatani. It’s a team of role players, and when those roles are fulfilled, Roosevelt is tough for anybody to beat.
This was a fun game to watch last week. Expect more tonight. Tip-off at McKinley is 5 p.m. with live coverage on OC 16.