Kailua’s upset bid against Kaiser is hanging by a thread. The Surfriders led 14-10 at the half, but Kaiser went on a 16-6 run to take a 26-20 lead entering the fourth quarter.
The Cougars have been patient and willing to battle Kailua at its slower tempo. Perimeter man-to-man press by Michael Miske and Keoua Mahiko has become a big factor. Nic Tom, at 5-foot-10, is matching up effectively against Kailua’s 6-3 and 6-4 posts.
The biggest factor, though, is Chance Kalaugher, who has mostly remained in the post to battle Kailua’s formidable front line. He’s clearing the glass more than usual and staying in rebounding position on the offensive side. He connected on a straightaway 3 as a trailer on the fastbreak to open Kaiser’s lead to 26-20.
Jalen Pinks, who had one of Kaiser’s big threes in the third quarter, opened the fourth with a corner 3. Kalaugher has added another 3, this one from the corner, and Kaiser has stretched the lead to 32-23.
Christian Mejia, who left the game due to foul trouble with Kailua ahead 18-14 early in the third quarter, is back in the game. Kaiser went on an 18-5 run while Mejia sat. Mejia hits two foul shots and Zach Marrotte adds two more, and it’s down to 32-27.
Kalaugher misses a corner 3 and a 7-foot runner in traffic.
Kailua got within 32-29 on a jumper by freshman Everett Torres-Kahapea. After Mahiko scored on a drive, Torres-Kahapea sank a 23-foot trey from the top to cut the lead to 34-32.
Kamu Scheer muscled his way inside for a layup and a four-point lead with 2:12 left.
Auld misses the front of a 1-and-1, rebound Kaiser. Fouls left and right now as officials call the game much tighter. Kalaugher shooting two with 1:35 left. Misses the first. Makes the second, 37-32.
Torres-Kahapea misses a tough corner 3, contested, Kaiser rebounds. Kalaugher steps out as he drives from the corner, but he lands on his back as he takes off, glancing off Mejia. He bounces up with a fury, but calms down as Mejia avoids any ruckus. Kailua ball at :50.
Ah Yat goes fullcourt against pressure, but his pass under the rim to Mejia is off target, turnover. Kaiser time out with :35.4 left.
Auld goes coast to coast and almost makes a layup in traffic. Kalaugher rebound. He shoots 1-and-1 with :21.4 left. Makes the first, 38-32. Misses the second and Kaiser fouls Marrotte as he drives toward the 3-point arc. He’ll shot with :16.6 left. Mahiko’s fifth foul. Marrotte rattles home the first FT, 38-33. Swishes the second, 38-34. Time out, Kailua.
Pinks added a foul shot for a 39-34 lead. Mejia then managed to get a foul called on Tom as he screened the guard. He missed his 1-and-1, however, and in the battle for an offensive rebound, Marrotte went to the line and made one of two FTs, and Mejia was called for a technical foul. With 4.4 seconds left, Isaiah Akiona hit two FTs for a 41-35 lead.