We are 5 minutes from tip-off between BIIF champion Waiakea and OIA runner-up Kaiser here at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium. It’s the quarterfinal round of the OC-16/HHSAA Boys Basketball Division I State Championships.
Kaiser rallied past Kailua on Wednesday night to advance. It was one of the headiest, most disciplined games I’ve seen the Cougars play. Chance Kalaugher stayed out of foul trouble, just using his length to affect Kailua’s post players. It was a smart, defensive-minded win with a lot of patience and, no question, plenty of killer instinct at the right moment. Kalaugher will be a 2 or 3 at the next level, but in this tourney, he might be most effective the way he played last night, dominating the glass (against a big, physical team) and using the 3-point shot more as a dagger than as a disposable bunch of bullets.
Waiakea? They are coached by Paul Lee, the former Hilo standout, and one of his assistants is another former Viking great, Brandon Kauhi. They don’t run and gun like the 1990s Vikings, but they do pick their spots. This is a team, as Josh Pacheco said on the air today, that is built for this kind of situation. A one-and-done situation.
Though Waiakea is the BIIF champion, the Warriors are unranked entering the tourney. Kaiser is ranked No. 4 in the Star-Advertiser Top 10. If there’s an underdog champ, it’s Waiakea.
Warriors hit two early treys but mostly struggled from the field. Kaiser continuing to be patient and Kalaugher avoiding fouls. They scored he last 7 points.
Kaiser jumped to a 23-12 lead on a 13-0 run but Waiakea scored six points in a row. It’s 28-18, 3:38, TV time out.
Isaiah Akiona wing 3, Kalaugher fastbreak layup, Kalaugher fastbreak dunk. 35-18.
The Warriors got within 61-51, but getting open looks was a struggle all night against a determined Kaiser zone defense. Kalaugher finished with 28 points and eight rebounds, while Mahiko tallied 23 points.