Sizing up a whopping 4 (very good) boys hoops tournaments

Kailua senior center Noa Donnelly, left, shares a post-game moment with older brother Kaelen Donnelly. No. 2 Kailua rallied for a 42-40 win over No. 1 Maryknoll behind 19 points from Noa Donnelly. Coincidentally, Kaelen Donnelly is a JV coach at Maryknoll. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Dec. 8, 2023)

As for the preponderance of zone defenses in summer leagues and preseason, Maryknoll and Kailua played man to man from the start.

Kailua’s come-from-behind win was a classic defensive struggle for 29 minutes, and then pure drama in the final 3 minutes as the Surfriders prevailed over the top-ranked Spartans, 42-40.

Here’s a review of the four boys tournaments in play on Thursday night.

Moanalua Invitational
Thursday’s scores
Seaside (Ore.) 51, @ Moanalua 36
>> Sea: Austin Palmer 13. Moa: Austin Oguma 9.
Eleanor Roosevelt (Calif.) 87, Campbell 46
>> Roos: Darnez Slater 25, Brayden Burries 19, Isaac Williamson 12. Cam: Miles Hornage 19.
No. 2 Kailua 42, No. 1 Maryknoll 40
>> Kai: Noa Donnelly 19, Maddox Pung 17 (3 treys). MS: Zion Milare 11.

Friday’s games
Kalaheo vs. Campbell, 3:30 p.m.
No. 7 ‘ Moanalua, 5 p.m.
No. 2 Kailua vs. Seaside (Ore.), 6:30 p.m.
No. 10 Kamehameha vs. Eleanor Roosevelt (Calif.), 8 p.m.

Saturday’s games
Kalaheo vs. No. 10 Kamehameha, 11 a.m.
No. 1 Maryknoll vs. Eleanor Roosevelt (Calif.), 12:30 p.m.
No. 7 ‘Iolani vs. No. 2 Kailua, 2 p.m.
Campbell at Moanalua, 3:30 p.m.

Burries is a five-star prospect, nationally rated by several outlets. I got there too late to see much of him, but his team was in primetime mode running the floor and defending 94 feet.

Punahou Invitational
Thursday’s scores
No. 4 Mililani 52, Mid-Pacific 42
>> Mil: Lauvai Pine 18, Roman Gabriel 15 (3 treys). MPI: Logan Mason 15, Jarek Yee 14.
Kalaheo 51, @ Punahou I-AA 38
>> Kal: Josh Schutter 19 (3 treys), Taishawn Jeffrey 15, Keenan Kahoekapu 10. Pun2: Tate Takamiya 11.
Kamehameha-Hawaii 56, Soledad 26
>> KSH: Kawohi Huihui 20. Sol: Pablo Morales 11.
No. 6 Punahou 60, Nanakuli 39
>> Pun: James Taras 16, Andra Uperesa-Thomas 13, Kody Jones 10. Nan: Caleb Paakaula 10.

Friday’s games
Kalaheo vs. No. 4 Mililani, 6:30 p.m.
Kamehameha-Hawaii vs. Punahou, 8 p.m.
Mid-Pacific vs. Punahou I-AA, 3:30 p.m.
Soledad vs. Nanakuli, 5 p.m.

Saturday’s games
Championship, 2:30 p.m.
Third place, 1 p.m.
Fifth place, 11:30 a.m.
Seventh place, 10 a.m.

Possibly the most parity of the four boys tournaments this week. Nanakuli had been scoring above 70 points per game of late, but Punahou’s defense has a chance to be special this season.

It’s a monumental achievement, my opinion, that Punahou coach Darren Matsuda is healthy and strong after overcoming a scare with prostate cancer earlier this year. The four semifinalists, Mililani, Kalaheo, KS-Hawaii and Punahou all have the talent to win this tourney.

Mid-Pacific has been tough as nails this preseason. Coach Rob Shklov’s teams always have grit. They’re this-close to challenging for an ILH Division I title.

Veteran coach Sol Batoon is in his first season at Farrington, while Lionel Villarmia is in his fourth decade at Pearl City. Farrington outlasted Pearl City, 48-40, in the opening round of the Merv Lopes Classic on Thursday. Paul Honda/Star-Advertiser (Dec. 8, 2023)

Merv Lopes Hoops Classic (Farrington)
Thursday’s scores
Waipahu 36. Roosevelt 23
>> Wai: Kyan Uganiza 13 (3 treys). Roos: Mateo Browning 7.
No. 9 Kahuku 69, Kapaa 41
>> Kah: Kache Kaio 16, Ronin Naihe 15. Kap: Tristen Scully 10.
Liberty (Nev.) 72, Saint Louis I-AA 52
>> Lib: Jaden Riley 24 (4 treys), Kaeden Castillero 18 (6 treys). STL2: Thomas Atol 12 (4 treys), Hayden Hannemann 12, Blaise Arakawa 10
Note: Liberty is defending Nevada state champion.
Farrington 48, Pearl City 40
>> Far: Chansen Smith 11, Heimana Richmond 10. PC: Anthony Bautista 10.

Friday’s games
No. 9 Kahuku vs. Liberty (Nev.), 6:30 p.m.
Waipahu vs. Farrington, 8 p.m.
Roosevelt vs. Pearl City, 3:30 p.m.
Kapaa vs. Saint Louis I-AA, 5 p.m.

Saturday’s games
Championship, 2:30 p.m.
Third place, 1 p.m.
Fifth place, 11:30 a.m.
Seventh place, 10 a.m.

Liberty got going in the second half of its game with Saint Louis I-AA. It was 10-all in the first quarter and 37-29 at the end of one half. The Crusaders were very athletic and competitive. The Patriots are deep, extremely skilled and athletic — no surprise for the Silver State’s 2022-23 state champs. There’s a connection here: Farrington coach and tournament coordinator Sol Batoon’s grandson plays for Liberty.

Imagine if we had Saint Louis’ D-I team, the two-time defending state champions of Hawaii, playing Liberty. Tonight, Liberty plays Kahuku in a semifinal (6:30 p.m.).

Kaimuki Invitational
Thursday’s scores
Kalani 62, Molokai 40
>> Kal: Cole Hata 12, Wade DeCambra 11, Joaquin Manaligod 11. Mol: Jericho Adolpho 20 (4-15 FT).
Kaimuki 66, Hawaii Baptist 48
>> Kai: Iosefa Letuli 23, Jeremiah White 19 (3 treys), Daysen Lupica 10. HBA: Mathew Shigetani 12, Kai Toyofuku 12, Samuel Lim 11.
No. 5 Leilehua 61, Damien 44
>> Lei: Twain Watson 23 (3 treys), Cobe Wyatt 13. DMS: AJ Tuifua 9.
Rocklin (Calif.) 83, Kapolei 50
>> Rock: Kanyon Rice 14, Josiah Andrews 10. Kap: Harold Dudley 13, Tye Porter 10.

Friday’s games
No. 5 Leilehua at Kaimuki, 6:30 p.m.
Kalani vs. Rocklin, 8 p.m.
Molokai vs. Hawaii Baptist, 3:30 p.m.
Damien vs. Kapolei, 5 p.m.

Saturday’s games
Championship, 5:30 p.m.
Third place, 4 p.m.
Fifth place, 2:30 p.m.
Seventh place, 1 p.m.

Credit to Kaimuki coach Greydon Espinda. He could’ve lined up his team for a less competitive route to the final. Instead, Kaimuki will take on Leilehua in tonight’s semifinals. It is painful to know that so many great matchups are on tap tonight at the same time.

My bucket list: win the Powerball Lottery, rent Simplifi Arena and play all these tournaments there from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday through Saturday.

Kaimuki has shown flashes of great basketball, but inexperience is a factor. Letuli’s 23-point breakout game is a huge plus for the Bulldogs. At 6-5 and 230 pounds, he is a force to be reckoned with if he keeps gaining momentum and confidence. Also, he’s one heck of a football player.

Ka‘apuni Tournament (Baldwin)
Thursday’s scores
At Baldwin

No. 3 Saint Louis 48, Kamehameha-Maui 13
>> STL: Shancin Revuelto 14, Pupu Sepulona 12.
@ Baldwin 62, Corona 49
>> Bal: Manangan 11. Cor: Anderson 14, Burnell 11
At Seabury Hall
Bonita (Calif.) 76, Konawaena 56
Kohala 65, @ Seabury Hall 58

Friday’s games
At Baldwin
No. 3 Saint Louis vs. Konawaena, 3 p.m.
Bonita (Calif.) at Baldwin, 4:30 p.m.
Konawaena vs. Lahainaluna, 6 p.m.
No. 3 Saint Louis vs. Bonita (Calif.), 7:30 p.m.
At Seabury Hall
Kohala vs. Corona (Calif.), 3 p.m.
Corona (Calif.) at Seabury Hall, 6 p.m.
Kohala vs. Kamehameha-Maui, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday’s games
At Baldwin
Kohala vs. Bonita (Calif.), noon
No. 3 Saint Louis at Baldwin, 1:30 p.m.
At Seabury Hall
Corona (Calif.) vs. Lahainaluna, noon
Konawaena at Seabury Hall, 1:30 p.m.

Talk about some great matchups. The Kohala-Seabury Hall game could easily be a preview of a D-II state-tourney matchup. Saint Louis will have a doubleheader on Friday (today). (Back on Oahu, Kalaheo is slated for a doubleheader on Friday and another on Saturday.)


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