Poised and pulverizing.
Less than a week after a stunning loss to Division II Damien, the Punahou Buffanblu were in prime mode. Jakob Kimura scored 12 points and Ryder Hsiung also chipped in 12 as Punahou overwhelmed Mid-Pacific 64-43 in the final of the 20th Annual James Alegre Invitational.
Defending D-I state champion Punahou (5-1) lost to Damien in the final of Damien’s tournament on Monday, but showed no problem getting the energy level up in the Alegre tourney against Leilehua, Kalaheo and MPI.
“This year, were a lot faster and athletic. Our tempo gets better every day. We’re getting better every day with our process,” senior Tamatoa Falatea said. “We lost a lot of people (to graduation), a lot of big players. A lot of our seniors are stepping up. Even some of be younger guys are stepping up. It’s responsibility that comes with this. It’s words. It’s actions.”
The Buffanblu wasted little time taking command. Their fullcourt press fueled an 18-6 lead after one quarter, and then Kimura and Hsiung splashed 3s to start the second quarter. The 12-2 run opened the lead to 30-8 against an Owls team that had been outstanding in wins over Moanalua and Radford.
On day three, however, fatigue kicked in against Punahous’s deep, fast and big lineup.
MPI (2-1) pulled within 36-25 thanks to its reserve unit, but got no closer the rest of the way.
Lucca Kitashima led MPI with 12 points.
Punahou keeps marching forward in a business-like way. The defensive tenacity never waned.
“Everyone’s coming at us. We just focus on ourselves and don’t worry about who we’re playing,” Falatea said. “We’ve got a chip on our shoulders.”