Host Punahou raced out to an early lead to put away Bishop Hendricken (Warwick, R.I.), 80-60, to win the Punahou Basketball Invitational championship at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Friday night.
Chris Kobayashi, who dropped 25 points the night before against Santa Margarita (Calif.), scored 21 of his team-high 22 points in the second half. He hit three 3's and shot 9-for-10 from the free throw line. Three other Buffanblu starters Duke Clemens (16 points), Zayne Chong (14 points), Keala Martinson (10 points) scored in double figures.
"They were trying to face guard Chris and try to take him out of the game. It shows his maturity and let the game come to him, he didn't force any shots this whole game. When he got his opportunities, he scored. Because they tried taking Chris away, that opened up lanes for other guys," said Punahou coach Darren Matsuda.
Similar to last night's game against Sequoia, Bishop Hendricken found themselves down early as the Buffanblu went on a 9-0 run to start the game. Punahou led, 23-10 and took a 26-12 lead.
"We're playing very unselfish and when you play like that, it's good basketball. We try to put team first and get the best shot. When you do that, you can be really successful," said Matsuda.
"We'll take this and watch film on our game. We have some adjustments we have to make and one of them being how we're starting our games," said Bishop Hendricken coach Jamal Gomes.
Gomes was whistled for a technical foul with 4:18 left in the second quarter for apparently being out of the coach's box. Mazzulla scored 10 points in the quarter and the Hawks rallied to close it within five, 37-32 after Isaiah Mylers' bucket.
"I'm disappointed in the loss, but grateful for the opportunity to compete. I'm very proud of my young men, we came out here 3,000 miles away from home and battled in every single one of our games. Darren Matsuda and Punahou have a great team. We came in and gave our best, but it wasn't enough," said Gomes.
The score was 41-34 at halftime in favor of the home team.
The Buffanblu streaked out to a 9-0 run to start the third quarter and led by 18, but maintained a 10 point cushion. Bishop Hendricken didn't score until the 4:50 mark. Mazzulla carried the Hawks as he converted two 3-point play opportunities as Bishop Hendricken trailed by 12, 62-50. Mazzulla finished the game with 27 points, made three 3's and went 6-for-7 from the free throw line.
"He's a great player and passer, that's the nicer part of his game and sees the floor really well. Once you help off of him, he finds the open man. I thought we did a good job trying to contain him," said Matsuda, on Mazzulla.
Things got heated which resulted in four total technical fouls. Aside from Gomes, Andre DeLos Santos and Kaulana Makaula received double technicals and Mazzulla picked up one in the fourth.
This will be the final tune up for Punahou as the Buffanblu start Interscholastic League of Honolulu play on Jan. 4 at third-ranked Iolani.
"I like where we're at right now. We have to keep getting better because everyone else is going to get better and that's the course we're on," said Matsuda.
Coach Gomes' connections in Hawaii helped him bring his team out here to play. The Hawks depart Honolulu on Jan. 3 and hope to take the experience back to Rhode Island as they start their league play very soon.
"One of my good friends is the president at Damien Memorial and that is my connection coming out here. He is friends with Darren (Matsuda) and everyone is connected," said Gomes. "For us, this was about the experience. We'll take this and bring back to Rhode Island and hopefully go for a state title."
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