The Punahou Buffanblu are heating up while the Saint Louis Crusaders are wondering what just happened.
Ryder Hsiung had the hottest quarter of the season, swishing five consecutive 3-point shots in the second quarter, to finish with 24 points in Punahou’s 59-49 win over Saint Louis. Third-ranked Punahou improved to 4-2 in ILH play (14-8 overall). Saint Louis had a chance to even its league mark, but dropped to 2-4 (3-8 overall). If not for Hsiung’s torrid shooting — he was 6-for-6 from the arc with 22 points in the first half — it’s an entirely different game.
Coach Darren Matsuda had his Buffanblu in the gym early, 2:30 p.m., to get extra shots up. Hsiung said he got at least 100 shots before the 5 p.m. tip-off.
“We knew Saint Louis was going to come out in a 1-3-1 zone, so we just wanted to be patient and move the ball. We knew we were going to get open 3s, open layups. We just executed really well,” said the 6-foot-4 junior.
The Buffanblu are just a week or so removed from a 3-for-20 shooting night from 3-point range. That was in a loss to then-No. 1 Maryknoll.
“I think this gives us more confidence going into our next game. We’ll keep on building our confidence going into the middle of the season, which is right now. We’re doing a good job with that,” Hsiung said.
Meanwhile, Jayden de Laura finished with 25 points, providing a major spark in Saint Louis’ fullcourt pressure. The visitors forced the Buffanblu into seven turnovers during the first quarter, an unusual reversal of roles for Punahou. The football standout had missed the past week due to Polynesian Bowl practices, activities and game.
Going full blast, de Laura was winded at times, but his string of three consecutive treys brought the Crusaders within 57-48 with 2:50 left.
“This is only our third game with the entire team,” de Laura said, referring to the return of himself and other football teammates. “I think we’re going to click before the playoffs.”
At Hemmeter Fieldhouse
Saint Louis (3-9, 2-4 ILH) 12 11 16 10 — 49
Punahou (14-8, 4-2 ILH) 16 24 11 8 — 59
STL: Jayden de Laura 25, Malu Ing 0, Caleb Shin 3, Isaac Silva 2, AJ Bianco 6, Shoncin Revuelto 0, Aiva Arquette 5, Kahaku Marquez 0, Nalu Liftee 6, Kalan Ellis 2,
PUN: Yoshi Kobayashi 11, Peyton Macapulay 2, Kanoa Kalahiki 2, Kai Nafarrete 5, Noah Kameehonua 6, Grant Nakanishi 0, Ryder Hsiung 24, Alexandru Iosivas 5, Jordan Deshawn Hepting 2, Ioasa Tua 2.
3-point goals—Saint Louis 5 (de Laura 3, Shin, Arquette), Punahou 11 (Hsiung 6, Kameehonua 2, Kobayashi, Nafarrete, Iosivas).