Opening-round matchup, ‘Iolani Classic.
The Master’s Academy hails from Oviedo, Fla. They’ve got nice size but nothing like the other mainland teams here. They’re using a 1-3-1 halfcourt zone that isn’t creating turnovers by Kaiser, but it’s disrupting their usual flow.
Keoua Mahiko has scored seven points already, including a pair of left wing 3s. Chance Kalaugher committed a silly foul after a Kaiser miss and was pulled out of the game. Good move; they can’t afford to lose him.
The Eagles have cut the lead to one, then score on a nice bounce pass from Tanner Rubio to Brooks Cluxton. That was too easy. Rubio is quite a passer. I wonder if he’s related to..
Master’s switched to a 2-3 while Jakobi Bonner (6-1 senior) was out, but he’s back in and so is the extended 1-3-1 zone. Kalaugher is also back in.
Quarter ends with Master’s up 14-10. Bonner drove left for a smooth bank shot on the move. The Eagles look composed and fluid. The Cougars are stagnant and have five turnovers. Coach Branden Kawazoe is imploring his team to swing the ball, but some of them are telegraphing passes. Kalaugher scored on a coast to coast drive and foul. He could dominate this game if he becomes the hub in the middle. But he’s taken a couple of deep threes and missed.
Bonner asserting himself. Reverse layup and he hit one of two FTs. Eagles lead 17-10.
Eagles using a 2-2-1 halfcourt press for a possession or two, then back to the 2-3 and it’s causing Kaiser to be impatient. After committing five turnovers int he first quarter, the Cougars have one more in the second. That’s more turnovers than baskets so far.
Eagles bump the lead to 26-14, getting some lightning-quick transition shots, before Kalaugher drives for an and-1 three-point play.
Mahiko pushes upcourt on a break and feeds Kalaugher for an easy layup, but Rubio hustles for an offensive board on an air ball and scores. They’re going back and forth, but the Eagles are still getting uninterrupted passage to the rim via transition. Nobody is stopping the ball in the backcourt, and Bonner’s speed is breathtaking.
He’s beating everybody downcourt and even steals the ball from Mahiko, who’s holding the ball for the final shot, for an and-1 opportunity. Bonner scores 12 of his 16 points during the third quarter. The Master’s Academy leads 38-26 at intermission.
I’d love to see Kalaugher establish himself more in the middle as a driver and distributor. They can’t really stop him at 225 pounds of pure force attacking the rim. Master’s defenders are tall and long, but lanky and they’d have trouble. He drove once from the top and that worked out. When he’s not in the hub, the Cougars don’t have a dominant rebounder on the offensive glass.
Eagles open in a 2-3 zone. Daring Kaiser to shoot the 3. Cougars can’t answer. Lead is 43-30 with 3:51 left.
Quarter ends with the Eagles up 55-42. Mahiko’s 10-foot runner at the buzzer helps Kaiser, which can’t get a consistent flow going. They’re beginning to find cracks in the 2-3 zone, though. Ehtan Hollandsworth, a 6-5 senior, hit an elbow shot that helped the cause. Bonner got an extended rest before returning in the last two minutes.
Bonner somehow drives left again and gets an easy layup. Kawazoe is begging his guys to force the left-hander to his right. They aren’t listening.
But Mahiko hits a 3 off a pass from Hollandsworth, and he feeds Kaleb Edison to bring Kaiser within 57-47. But Rubio steals the ball from Edison after a miss by Edison. Ouch.
Rubio’s free throws up the Eagles’ lead to 63-49. Kaiser calls time out with 3:03 to go.