By Paul Honda
There are chess matches, and then there is something a little more.
This is the kind of game that belongs on TV (which it is, check out OC 16 tonight) with microphones on Kalaheo coach Chico Furtado and Moanalua coach Greg Tacon. Both are masters of motivation. Can you separate each man’s personality from his respective team? Not really.
Ninth-ranked Kalaheo isn’t particularly deep or tall, but Furtado continues to will the Mustangs forward. Fifth-ranked Moanalua has several moving pieces, decent height and is coming off the heels of a big win at Kahuku.
On paper: Moanalua (14-5, 6-1 Oahu Interscholastic Association Red Conference) rebounded nicely from last week’s home loss to Kahuku by traveling to the North Shore for a win four days ago. Na Menehune could’ve become an iso type of team, depending solely on 6-foot-3 Marcus Monroe for the bulk of its offense. Instead, Tacon’s team has multiple weapons.
Guard Josiah Kauhola broke out with a 21-point game at Kahuku, his best shooting night since tallying 26 against national power Gonzaga (D.C.) in mid-December.
Kalaheo sharpshooter Aaron Fernandez has a single-game high of 41 points this season, but defenses have smothered the 6-4 senior often. Kona Makaula is a key scorer, but the Mustangs (12-6, 4-3) go as Fernandez goes.
The skinny: In their last meeting, Moanalua won 59-47 behind big games from reserve forwards Kevin Amaral (13 points) and Wesley Armbrust (11). Monroe had only nine points, but was a nice distributor and defender. Kalaheo had 16 turnovers to Moanalua’s eight that night.
X factor: That earlier matchup was a anti-clinic in free-throw shooting. Kalaheo shot 42 percent from the line (14-for-33) and Moanalua shot 52 percent (12-for-23).