Captain Whitlock and his teammates went out with a bang.
Kalaheo ended its season by beating Leilehua 50-43 in the fifth-place game of the Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships. It was all that the Mustangs wanted, but all things considered — and that includes a monster Kahuku squad that was a nemesis in the OIA East and the state tourney — Kalaheo for as far as it could.
Whitlock got to play at the home of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors basketball today. After the win, and after players hugged Coach Rob Pardini before heading out of Stan Sheriff Center, Whitlock looked to the past and the future.
“Coming here did give me motivation knowing my dad (Tes Whitlock) made shots here. It was a regular game. On the car ride here, we talked about things to do off-season,” the 6-foot-2 senior guard said. “It went by fast. It like just last year I was a sophomore.”
That year, 2015, he had just transferred from Hawaiian Mission, which has a D-III boys hoops team in the ILH.
The chance to play in the SSC one more time — tourney games earlier were played at high school gyms — may have been his last. Though he has received some interest from HPU, Whitlock will likely play at Saddleback Community College (Calif.). There, he can fully pursue his two major passions: basketball and music.