For a while, the tempo in Saturday’s matchup between Leilehua and ‘Iolani rivaled that of the just-completed NCAA Summer League basketball at Manoa Gym.
The fast-break styles of both teams produced a combined 91 points and 828 yards of total offense, and ‘Iolani coach Wendell Look summed up Leilehua’s 56-35 season-opening win with an extension of the hoops analogy.
“They got a couple breakaways and dunked on our head,” he said.
Leilehua scored three touchdowns on plays of more than 60 yards — two runs and an interception return — and broke off another 41-yard scoring run while rolling up 522 total yards. In all, the Mules had seven plays covering more than 35 yards, starting with Tristin Kamaka’s 47-yard kickoff return to open the game.
Leilehua’s point total was its third highest since 1973, trailing only a 76-point performance against Moanalua in 1980 and a 60-point outburst, again against Moanalua, in 1991.
“We expect our guys to be efficient,” Leilehua coach Nolan Tokuda said. “We don’t look at how many reps per game, our goal is to be efficient and execute every single play.”
‘Iolani countered with its trademark no-huddle look and took a 21-14 lead in the second quarter. But after Max Look snared his second interception of the first half, the Raiders’ offense went three and out on consecutive possessions. Leilehua followed both with touchdowns and took the lead for good on Ikaika Piceno’s 62-yard run.
“You can’t attribute that all to the defense,” Look said of the margin. “The style we play, when we go three and out, it puts our defense back on the field in seconds. The tempo can be a positive for us, but also can be a detriment if we don’t keep the offense on the field. It puts the defense in a tough spot. That’s why it’s so key that we create tempo with our offense.
“(The defense) did their job, but just we gave a great team too many opportunities.”