STATE SEMIS: Takenaka, Punley to square off in final

Leilehua's Keanu Punley, the top seed at 170 pounds, survived extra time to beat Roosevelt's Salvador Gonzalez to reach the final. Photo by Jerry Campany/Star-Advertiser.

The bracket that never stops giving is moving on to the final.

The two semifinal matches lived up to the billing of the loaded 170-pound class.

Top seed Keanu Punley of Leilehua had to fight back from a two-point deficit to defeat Roosevelt’s Salvador Gonzalez 8-6 in overtime.

Losing 6-4, Punley got a takedown with 20 seconds to go and then was able to keep Gonzalez from escaping.

In overtime, once again Punley — the OIA champ — stopped Gonazalez from escaping and got the winning takedown.

“I saw the score and he was beating me 4-2, so I got that takedown and scored,” Punley said. “He took me down with another one to make it 6-4. I was struggling and in the last 20 seconds I decided to use a high crotch and pulled it off. I heard my fans, my coaches, my mom, my friends in the stands yelling at me, ‘Hold him down. Hold him down. There’s only a couple of seconds left.’ I used everything I had in me to hold him down. As we went to overtime, he’s a tough kid, so I figured I’d let him work, just work him a little bit and make him lose his breath and just come out with the ‘W’.”

Up next for Punley is ‘Iolani’s Kaysen Takenaka, the second seed who is the reigning three-time ILH champ.

Takenaka came on strong at the end of his back-and-forth semifinal encounter against Campbell’s Kachi Respicio to win 12-7.



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