(Updates with all quarterfinal results at the Surfrider Holiday Classic.)
The long wait for game No. 1 was well worth it for Kamehameha.
Kamren Victorino-Kato poured in 12 of his 16 points in the first half as Kamehameha blazed past Campbell 62-38 on Thursday night in the opening round of the Surfrider Holiday Classic at Kailua High School gym.
In other quarterfinal games, St. Francis overwhelmed Waipahu 85-41, ‘Iolani fought off Maui 53-40 and host Kailua downed Waianae 75-23. (See game capsules below.)
Kamehameha looked like a team in midseason form.
“We have a lot of good chemistry. We all know where each other is,” said Victorino-Kato, who added three steals. “We’re better (this year) on defense. Coach said defense sparks our offense.”
Warriors coach Greg Tacon was relatively quiet all night. His squad ran the break consistently, getting dunks from Kobe Young and Lele Kawaiaea.
“I like it when we get out in transition. We can cover ground pretty good,” he said. “I like some of our individual defensive performances, too.”
Tacon got a good look at the Sabers on Wednesday night when they played Kahuku.
“Campbell likes to do stuff off the dribble. They shot the ball better than last night. Their guards are not bad. I like them,” he said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well from the perimeter when they were in zone.”
The Warriors didn’t need a lot of perimeter shooting. They had quite a bounce in their step, zooming to a 16-3 lead with explosiveness and pinpoint passing. Victorino-Kato showed some extra hops on a criss-cross handoff play, taking one dribble and throwing down a dunk in traffic.
Campbell, coming off a 43-41 home loss to Kahuku on Wednesday, went on a run to bring the lead down to three points. The Sabers got treys from Robert Hutchison, Andrew Mersburgh and Mitchell Williams, but got no closer. Kamehameha’s depth and stingy man-to-man defense were major factors.
So was Young, who has grown to 6 feet, 6 inches. The senior continually attacked the low post and offensive glass, scoring 11 of his game-high 17 points in the third quarter. That turned a 26-17 halftime lead into a decisive 49-31 margin going into the final quarter. He didn’t play in the fourth stanza and finished with five rebounds and two steals.
“I know I didn’t have any big guys guarding me. Anyone that guards me, I see as a mismatch because I work hard,” said Young, who has added more than 10 pounds of muscle to his frame. “I still have the green light (to shoot 3s), but my mentality was to get easy buckets.”
Hutchinson led Campbell with 12 points. Williams added 11.
The Warriors will meet St. Francis, which routed Waipahu in an earlier quarterfinal game.
“I think they could compete in Division I,” Victorino-Kato said. “I think they’re going to be the D-II state champs (again). We played them last year and won by two points at Kalaheo (Pete Smith Classic).”
Including the Surfrider Holiday Classic, Kamehameha will play 16 games in a 31-day period, Tacon noted.
“We played something like 26 (preseason) games last year,” Victorino-Kato recalled.
Getting more early-season practice time seems to be more of a premium for the Warriors this season.
“This is a veteran group,” Tacon said. “Only two kids didn’t suit up for us last year. Our top eight or nine guys don’t need a lot of instruction. We’ve got some sophomores like Bailey (Lee) and Micah (Soliai-Howlett). Lokahi (Pauole) will get more playing time, but they’ll get a good feel for varsity speed and pace.”
The Warriors will play in the OIA-ILH Challenge next week, then the ‘Iolani Classic in mid-December.
In late December, Kamehameha will play in The Classic at Damien, located in Ontario, Calif.
St. Francis 85, Waipahu 41
Kameron Ng pumped in 27 points and Bryce Nishida added 13 to spark St. Francis. Felice Barut led the Marauders with 10.
‘Iolani 53, Maui 40
Kawika Lee scored 14 points and Cole Hogland added nine in the Raiders’ win. ‘Iolani led 29-25 at intermission, but broke the game open with a 10-2 run to begin the second half. Jajo Pacubas paced the Sabers with eight points.
Kailua 75, Waianae 23
Everett Torres-Kahapea scored 15, Isaiah Hopson added 14 and and sophomore Lydell Pomerania tallied 12.
John Gilbert Ramos scored eight points to lead Waianae.
Kailua will play ‘Iolani in the semifinal round on Friday.