We are 10 minutes away from opening tip of the OC-16/HHSAA Boys Basketball Division I State Championships. I’m at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium, where Baldwin is the home team against McKinley. Baldwin is the MIL runner-up, guided by longtime guru Wayne Gushiken. McKinley is the OIA third-place team, led by one of the mellowest coaches ever, Duane Omori.
Baldwin hasn’t been king of the MIL for some time, but is still formidable and dangerous. McKinley is at home and that may set some people a bit off, but it wouldn’t be this way if more schools offered to be host sites. (More on that in today’s tourney preview.)
Note: I asked McKinley center Mark Burke (6-foot-5 junior) why he wasn’t warming up. He said he is not eligible to play tonight. He might play tomorrow.
McKinley enters the state tourney ranked No. 10 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. Baldwin has been unranked all season.
It’s 2-1 in McKinley’s favor at the TV time out with 3:08 left. Bears are in man defense. Tigers in 2-3 zone.
The quarter ends with the Tigers up 5-2. Baldwin shot 0-for-8 from the field.
Unforced turnovers by McKinley against Baldwin’s 2-3 zone, and the Bears lead 8-7 on Chayse Akaka’s layup — on a great save by Braydon-Mitchell Kalama — as the Tigers call time out with 4:56 left.
TV time out with 2:37 left, game tied at 10. Jonovan-Taje Akaka is a forward who is excellent going coast to coast in transition after grabbing rebounds.
The half ends with Baldwin ahead 14-13. Tigers shot just 2-for-11 in the second quarter and the Bears warmed up with 6-for-12 shooting. Both of McKinley’s field goals were treys, though, and that’s kept them in the game.
The tempo has quickened and Baldwin leads 27-22 with 3:33 left in the third quarter. McKinley called time out after giving up consecutive baskets in transition. Bears looking to push every time.
Abdel Jawad’s 16-foot jumper cuts the lead to 29-27 late in the third. Bears missed two layup opportunities in the last 5 seconds. Abdel Jawad with eight points in the quarter.
Tigers can’t get a bucket. Steal by Villejo, they can’t get an open layup and Abdel Jawad misses on a tough attempt in the paint as Baldwin hustles back. The Bears got the lead up to 35-27 after a transition layup, but Kyle Moraga’s wing 3 cuts it to five. Baldwin calls time out with 3:16 left.
3-pointers by Moraga and Abdel Jawad cut the lead to 35-33, but Baldwin got a post bucket by big Chayse Akaka for a four-point lead. Villejo misses his first FT, 37-33. Time out, MCK, 1:49. He makes the second, 37-34.
Abdel Jawad with a follow shot to cut it to 41-38. Time out, Tigers, :20.8.
Kalama with two clutch free throws on a 1-and-1 with :18.7 left. The Tigers miss three inside shots before Jeremy Coloyan draws contact. He hits two FTs with :06 left, 43-40. Time out, MCK.
WOH. Five-sec violation by Baldwin. Inbound to Moraga, looking for Abdel Jawad, who is covered. Moraga’s wing 3 is long at the buzzer. Baldwin escapes 43-40.