Keau Thompson had 10 kills and a block as Punahou remained unbeaten with a 25-17, 25-15 sweep of Kamehameha at Kekuhaupio Gymnasium on Thursday night.
The Buffanblu are now 7-0 in Interscholastic League of Honolulu play with three regular-season matches left. Kamehameha dropped to 3-2 despite a hearty effort on its home court.
“They’re so consistent, so hard to get points on these guys,” Punahou coach Rick Tune said of his squad. “They just scrap and battle for everything. We did a lot of good things tonight, this is one of the best serving and passing teams we’ve had.”
Aidan Tune added seven kills and Riley Haine tallied six for Punahou. Setter Keegan Au Yuen had 25 assists, two aces and a block. Nate Loose added three kills and two blocks, and Ryder Hsiung chipped in two kills and a block.
“The broken plays, we were able to get swings. We work a ton on that in practice,” Tune noted. “Riley Haine was amazing tonight. Broken play, bip! Bang! Keau, amazing tonight. We’re getting good swings. Even Nate Loose had one at the end there out of the back row. They’re just ready for the opportunity and they’re making smart swings with the ball, which is hard to get a team to that level.”
Cruse Aea led the Warriors with seven kills and an ace. Laiakea Hirahara and Caleb Helenihi-Aweau added three kills apiece, and setter Cade Trujillo had a team high 14 assists with one block.
“I think overall we come out and did everything well. We were able to pass. We were able to block,” said Thompson, a 6-foot-3 junior. “Overall, all of our skill sets were there.”
Haine, a 6-4 junior, took the words of coach Rick Tune to heart.
“In the beginning, he said that we’re the predators and they’re the prey. That’s what he emphasized, so I thought we did that pretty well,” Haine said.
Tune reminded his team during the match to “stay aggressive.”
“We always want to stay aggressive. We don’t want to get timid. We played at HBA, which is tough. Maryknoll is tough, but there’s something different about playing at Kekuhaupio Gym that’s always a special challenge,” he said. “Maybe it’s the cavernous, massive gym. There’s a rich history there. I didn’t want our guys to ever get passive in the entire time we played, and we didn’t. I was really proud of the way we played tonight.”
A major advantage for Punahou is familiarity. Tune said several of the Buffanblu has played in the system since they were 9 and 10.
“The majority of our starting group has been playing with each other over five years,” Thompson said. “At school and outside of school in general.”
“Spike and Serve (Volleyball Club),” Haine added.
Two blocks by Loose helped Punahou pull away to a 12-7 lead in the opening set. The home team got within 12-10 after a block by Makana Melchor on Thompson, but couldn’t get closer. Thompson finished with six kills in game one, all from the right side.
The second set was close again until Punahou pulled away with a strong serve-receive and an advantage at the net. Thompson’s block opened the visitors’ lead to 13-9 and the momentum did not stop. After Haine’s back row kill off a Kamehameha double block, Punahou led 18-12 en route to the sweep.
Punahou will host Maryknoll on Tuesday. Match time is 5 p.m. Kamehameha will visit Hawaii Baptist on Tuesday with a start time of 6 p.m.