Punahou goes old school to reach fourth straight state final

Punahou's Duke Clemens (33) and 'Iolani's Frank Felix (14) scrambled for a loose ball. Photo by Cindy Ellen Russell/Star-Advertiser.

It was old school for the Sons of Oahu, all right.

Not a single 3-point shot splashed. They missed 13 free throws, were outrebounded 29-24, committed as many turnovers (14) as they had field goals made.

As usual, Punahou (28-5) got it done with relentless defense. The Buffanblu’s wild 48-42 win over rival ‘Iolani means Punahou’s chance at repeating as state champion is alive and well. Jakob Kimura led the way with 15 points and six of his team’s 12 steals.

That nonstop motor from top to bottom gave Punahou coach Darren Matsuda plenty of ammunition despite the ups and downs of the offense. ‘Iolani had 22 turnovers, including 11 during a pivotal second quarter. Their all-in defense, with stoppers like Kaulana Makaula, Tamatoa Falatea, Peyton Macapulay, Maninoa Tufono and more, was tough to beat. They are the one team that can give top seed Maryknoll a physical battle.

“Our seniors have been to the final every year now,” Matsuda said. “No one’s gone back-to-back in a long time.”

The last team to repeat was ‘Iolani, which won five in a row from 2002-05 under Mark Mugiishi.

Kimura’s high-energy, explosive performance comes with a lot of maturity. The senior-heavy Buffanblu can blitz at warp speed one night, then play at a snail’s pace the next.

“We let the game come to us,” said Kimura, a 6-foot-3 senior. “If we play Maryknoll, I don’t think they will beat us a fourth time.”

In their three ILH battles, Maryknoll won 55-49, 51-39 and 55-42.

HHSAA D-I Playoffs

Match #DateMatchupTime/ScoresSite
1Feb. 18Baldwin vs. KapoleiKapo, 49-41 (OT)Baldwin
2Feb. 18Kailua vs. KalaheoKail, 68-40Kailua
3Feb. 18Hilo vs. 'IolaniIol, 72-45Hilo
4Feb. 18Punahou vs. KahukuPun, 64-46Punahou
5Feb. 21(1) Maryknoll vs. KapoleiMryk, 51-30McKinley
6Feb. 21(4) Waiakea vs. KailuaKail, 52-48McKinley
7Feb. 21(2) Moanalua vs. 'IolaniIol, 52-47 (OT)Moanalua
8Feb. 21(3) Lahainaluna vs. PunahouPun, 74-54Moanalua
9*Feb. 22Moanalua vs. LahainalunaMoan, 58-52Stan Sheriff Center
10*Feb. 22Kapolei vs. WaiakeaKapo, 62-37Stan Sheriff Center
11Feb. 22'Iolani vs. PunahouPun, 48-42Stan Sheriff Center
12Feb. 22Maryknoll vs. KailuaMryk, 47-29Stan Sheriff Center
13*Feb. 23Moanalua vs. KapoleiKapo, 57-50Stan Sheriff Center
14*Feb. 23'Iolani vs. KailuaIol, 48-46Stan Sheriff Center
15Feb. 23Punahou vs. Maryknoll7 p.m.Stan Sheriff Center
* — consolation


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