Buffanblu led 22-17 over Kaiser in this Punahou Invitational championship game. Interesting battle in the paint, where freshman Maninoa Tufono, a 6-foot-3 widebody, is going up against 6-5 Chance Kalaugher of Kaiser.
Kalaugher settled for perimeter shots in the first half, but posts up right away in the third quarter and scores. He scores again on a spin move, and Keoua Mahiko scores on drives for and-1 three-point plays. Kaiser leads 29-28 on his free throw.
Then Zayne Chong his a corner 3, his second bucket in a row, and it’s Punahou 31-29. Offensive foul on Kamu Scheer, time out Kaiser. Fun quarter so far.
I was at St. Francis earlier. University led Hawaii Baptist in the title game at halftime, 39-25.
Meanwhile… Mahiko with another nice lob to Kalaugher and he tips in his miss. He tried earlier to hit Kalaugher, too. 31-31.
Cole Mausolf with a tough post layup, and then he pushes the fastbreak and feeds big Duke Clemens, a freshman, for a layup. PUN 35-31.
Cougars should’ve had a fastbreak layup, but Isaiah Akiona turned and dribbled, got fouled, instead of passing to a wide-open Mahiko at midcourt.
Kalaugher scores on free throws, but the Buffanblu beat pressure and Tufono gets another layup, 37-33. Punahou misses, Kalaugher rebounds and outlets and he is TIRED. Mahiko goes to the rim with a spin move and bank shot. Patent that. Easy deuce and it’s 37-35.
Punahou loses the ball and gets a time out called. Kaiser bench erupts. Half the coaching staff is a step from midcourt. Passion.
Punahou misses a tough shot, Miske throws it out of bounds from halfcourt. They are fatigued after four games in five days. Their bench isn’t as deep as Punahou’s. Every possession needs to be valued.
Time ticking down in the third quarter. Cole Arceneaux blows past his man, misses badly, but Tufono gets the tip-in at the buzzer after Kalaugher had to provide help defense. Kaiser’s on-ball defense is horrible at this point. I say horrible because they know Arceneaux is a lefty and they let him go left anyway. Not a good finish to an otherwise solid quarter by Kaiser. PUN leads 39-35.
Chris Kobayashi, Mr. Clutch, hits a corner 3. They gave it to him. I’m being too hard on Kaiser, but if they’re going to win this tourney in Punahou’s house, that can’t happen. Credit Punahou. They’re in a rhythm, the right players taking their normal shots. 42-35.
Arceneaux drives again, easy floater, misses, gets his own rebound — no box out — and feeds Kobayashi in the left corner. SPLASH. Punahou 45-35.
Kalaugher drives hard, hits FTs. 45-37.
PUN misses a corner 3 and Jared Lum absolutely gives up the body to dive for the rebound. Time out, PUN. I’ll tell you, Punahou wants this as a team. I don’t seen Kaiser guys hitting the floor. AT ALL. Sad. They’ve got 6:21 to fix this.
WHAT IS AT STAKE? Nobody in the HHSAA will say it like this, but the reality is this: if these teams win their leagues, the winner of this game will be the top seed at states.
Another Punahou offensive board as Scheer refuses to box out. This is killing OIA and Kaiser fans, but all they can do is watch as their team gets outhustled, outhearted in the championship game. This leads to free throws for Lum, who hits two and it’s 47-37. This feels a lot like their game against Mid-Pacific. A bunch of guys standing around on defense while the shot is in the air.
This time it’s Chong beating his man left, feeds Tufono, basket and foul. FT good. Kalaugher ends up guarding two players every time. 50-39.
Jalen Pinks hits a 3, and Kalaugher hustles for a tip-in. But Kobayashi hits another 3, and a bad pass by Kaiser is stolen. Kalaugher hustles back to alter the layup, but Punahou scores on the follow and THERE IS NO OTHER COUGAR GIVING CHASE. All four guys stayed back on the offensive end.
They may be the No. 3 team in the state. But I’m having second thoughts. PUN 55-44.
Two FTs by Kalaugher, and Miske scoops up a bad pass by Punahou to score a layup. PUN 55-48. Time out, Kaiser.
That turnover by Punahou? Three Buffanblu gave chase. Pretty good and definitely better than what Kaiser showed earlier. They’ve got 3:13 to right this. Punahou looks like a state champ tonight.
Kaiser pressing at midcourt, but Chong is open in the corner, 3-pointer.
Miske misses a wild lefty scoop shot, air ball, and Kobayashi is open in the same corner as Chong last time, SPLASH. PUN 61-48.
Mahiko hits a 3 off an offensive board by Scheer and it’s 61-52, 1:29. Time out, Kaiser.
Cougars work the pick and roll, kick it to Miske, and he passes up an open 3. Wasn’t ready. His wild lefty layup misses.
Lum to the line for 1-and-1, 1:07. He hits the first. And the second. 63-52.