By Paul Honda
There’s not a whole lot of air under the feet of the St. Joseph Cardinals, but they certainly wear wings.
The Cardinals, using a methodical halfcourt offense and fine-tuned efficiency with a sticky 2-3 zone, stunned Moanalua 56-50 on Monday in the quarterfinals of the Na Menehune Holiday Classic at Moanalua’s gym.
St. Joseph will face defending state champion Kamehameha in a 6 p.m. semifinal on Tuesday.
Thomas Fairman, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, had 18 points and 13 rebounds for St. Joseph. Another sophomore, Sebastian Ohara-Saft, added 15 points, including seven in the final quarter as the Cardinals gutted out the win.
Jacob Andrade hustled for eight points as St. Joe improved to 11-1 in nonconference play. The Cardinals shot 17-for-20 from the foul line and showed the savvy craftsmanship of a group that has played together throughout the offseason.
“If we played them 10 times, they’d win seven and we’d win three,” St. Joseph coach Harry Scanlan-Leite said. “Our guys understand what we need to be: unselfish on offense, but really unselfish on defense. They help each other a lot.”
Moanalua will have time to work on its zone offense, which was efficient at times with freshman Marcus Keene at the point (five assists).
“We lost to the better team,” Na Menehune coach Greg Tacon said. “Harry’s being nice. It’s good for my team to lose in preseason.”
Marcus Monroe led Moanalua with 20 points. Kevin Amaral added eight and Wesley Armburst had six. Josiah Kauhola, one of the hottest shooters in preseason, cooled off and finished with five points.
Ballhandlers Will Scanlan-Leite (five assists) and Ohara-Saft were key against Moanalua’s tough on-ball pressure. Their coach warned, though, that it’s a long season.
“All it is is a preseason game. It’s a good step forward,” Harry Scanlan-Leite said. “We’re not always the best players, but the best team will win.”
The Cardinals took a 37-25 lead on a drive for a three-point play by Ohara-Saft midway through the third quarter.
A 17-3 run by Moanalua put St. Joe, which used just seven players, on the ropes. Na Menehune had a 49-47 lead on a drive by Amaral with 4:03 left, but Ohara-Saft drove hard on the next two possessions, hit four foul shots and the Cardinals never trailed again.
Armburst’s foul shot brought Moanalua within 51-50 with 2:24 left, but his team didn’t score again, missing its last three field-goal tries. Scanlan-Leite fed Devyn Monberg for a layup for a 53-50 lead, and Monberg hit one of two foul shots for a four–point lead with 21 seconds left.
Two free throws by Fairman with 12 ticks left gave the Cardinals their final margin of victory.
Quarterfinal: Kamehameha 55, Waiakea 49
The defending state champions trailed 26-18 at halftime before rallying behind a fullcourt press and the long-range shooting of Dyrbe Enos and Shane Matayoshi.
With All-State Fab 15 selection Micah Christenson gone to the mainland for a club volleyball tournament, the Warriors struggled in the first half against the fast-breaking visitors.
Enos finished with 16 points and Matayoshi had 10 for Kamehameha, which went ahead for good, 46-44, on a steal and layup by Chaz Bajet with 2:22 left.
Clayton Morante powered Waiakea with 19 points, all in the paint.
Kamehameha is 9-1 nonconference play. Waiakea is 5-4.
Quarterfinal: ‘Iolani 50, Mid-Pacific 41
Kainoa Chu scored 14 points and the Raiders’ suffocating man-to-man defense forced 18 turnovers by the rising Owls.
Chu swished three foul shots in a row to give ‘Iolani a 19-17 lead with 4:02 left in the first half, and MPI never led again.
Andrew Swanson, a 6-foot-4 senior, scored 16 points to pace the Owls. Patrick Matthews, a 6-5 junior, had 12 points and 13 boards.
Quarterfinal: Marina (Calif.) 61, Kaimuki 47
Dane Okuda poured in 21 points, including five treys, J.J. James added 14 points and Tyler James had 13 for the Vikings.
Gabriel Stetziel led Kaimuki with 23 points, including five 3-pointers.