Guangming (China) and Kaimuki haven’t won a game yet in the ‘Iolani Classic, but both teams are competing hard in the second game of the day. This one began at 9:30 a.m. and I got here during the first quarter. It’s nice and cool as usual in here. One of the few air-conditioned gyms in the state.
In the first game, No. 5 Leilehua edged No. 10 Kahuku 45-42. I’m taking in as many games as possible, videotaping everything I can. Wish I’d seen the earlier game, just had to get some work done at home first. And watching the 11:35 p.m. showing of Star Wars last night probably didn’t help.
The Dragons put their 2-2-1 halfcourt press to work. Kaimuki broke it but didn’t get easy layups off it. The Dragons have a clear height advantage, but it hasn’t been a big factor. Kaimuki is playing physical on the boards, getting some open looks from 3 (Sifo Lauvao) and could’ve extended the lead with a few hits.
Turnovers have plagued the Bulldogs since halftime. The Dragons got two steals off their press right out of the lockerroom and the momentum switched. Hongzheng Ma’s 3-pointer pushed the Dragons ahead in the third quarter and they haven’t relinquished the lead since. Kaimuki has handled the press better in the fourth quarter, but has missed a lot of open looks.
Lauvao hits a contested 3, all net, to cut the lead to 48-44 with 1:28 left. The Dragons have played well, scoring in transition.
Dragons miss a 1-and-1 and the Bulldogs push upcourt. Freshman H.S. Haruo’s follow shot on a miss by Christian Ono banks in. Time out, Kaimuki, :56.7. The lead is down to 48-46.
Wenjun Luo is at the line for a 1-and-1, :51.1 left. He misses. Bulldogs running their offense, but Shanson Kapanui drives and gets stripped. Luo back at the line, :23 left. This time he hits the first shot.
This time, Kapanui with a strong drive to the bucket, but his layup misses. Luo fouled after getting the rebound. He’s at the line with 11.3 seconds left. First shot rattles out. No time outs left for Kaimuki. Luo misses both shots, but Kaimuki’s next shot is a miss from 3 by Tayler Espinda. Final: Dragons 50, Bulldogs 46. Good battle.