The Kalaheo Mustangs and Saint Louis Crusaders are about to tip off in the championship game of the Pete Smith Classic.
TIme out STL with Kalaheo ahead 15-13, 1:50. Both teams using 2-3 matchup zones, though Kalaheo’s has been able to force turnovers without trapping. Kekai Smith with a couple of steals for layups already.
Saint Louis has burned through three times already as Coach Allan Silva tries to get his team to settle down and be patient against Kalaheo’s zone. Five turnovers already as the quarter ends with Kalaheo up 17-14.
Notes: Tristan Nichols picked the ball clean from a Mustang near midcourt as Kalaheo waited to go for a last shot. There was still 45 seconds on the clock. Then Smith fouled Lance Sataraka at the buzzer, and Sataraka hit one of two foul shots.
The Crusaders close the first half with a 12-4 run. Kalaheo went cold from the field and settled for a bunch of tough runners in the paint against a tall and stronger team. Though Nichols was not a scoring factor — just six points, he and Isaac Slade-Matautia, plus Jaymason Nunuha and Chris Sykes are clogging up the lanes and making easy shots tough to come by for the home team.
Nunuha and Jett Tanuvasa came up with 3-pointers to spark the Crusaders. Kalaheo took a big chance with Smith, who committed his third foul with 3:55 left in the half. He also tweaked his left ankle during a drive (foul).
Captain Whitlock scored seven points for the Mustangs. Nunuha has nine points at the break.
Nunuha hit another 3 as the Crusaders opened the lead to 40-27. Whitlock scored five points to help Kalaheo cut the lead to 45-39, but that run cooled off. STL leads 49-39 entering the fourth.
Saint Louis got the lead up to 51-39 early in the fourth, but Whitlock and reserve Kela Thomas hit open threes. After Smith rained in an NBA-distance 3, it was 54-52.
Nunuha answered with a tough drive to the left for an old-fashioned three-point play. STL leads 57-52 with 3:55 left.
Crazy and awesome game in the final 3 minutes. Kalaheo rallied and took a 59-58 lead on two foul shots by Whitlock.
A pass from Slade-Matautia to Nichols for a layup gives STL a 61-60 lead. Time out, Kalaheo, :28.2. WOOHOO.
Kalaheo give the ball away. Nichols pokes the ball away from Andrew Kearney on the baseline and in the battle for the loose ball, Kearney’s leg is out of bounds as he touches the ball. STL ball, :21.3 left. Kalaheo pressing fullcourt all quarter.
Kalaheo deflects a backcourt pass, but Slade-Matautia makes a miraculous save. His pass goes across the court to Nichols, who drives and is fouled. He hits the first FT with 13.6 seconds left. Time out, Kalaheo. STL lead 62-60.
Nichols hits the second shot for a three-point lead. Whitlock misses a 3 from the top with 5 seconds left and time runs out on the rebound chase. Saint Louis wins the Pete Smith Classic.