MAKIKI — Jaylen Cain scored a career-high 20 points with 11 rebounds to help Maryknoll stave off visiting Kamehameha, 55-53, in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I contest Friday night.
The 6-foot-3 junior guard shot 7-for-13 from the field and knocked down the go-ahead 3-pointer to give the Spartans a homecoming win before a crowd of about 500 at Tony Sellitto Court at Clarence T.C. Ching Gymnasium.
The Spartans, ranked eighth in the ScoringLive/Hawaiian Electric Division I Boys Basketball Power Rankings, notched their second straight two-point win in three days to improve to 2-0 in the league standings.
Fourth-ranked Kamehameha dropped to 1-1 in ILH D1 play.
There was no shortage of offense between the two teams as both squads shot the ball with great efficiency as Maryknoll went 18-for-36 from the floor and Kamehameha converted on 19 of its 34 shot attempts. The game also featured 10 lead changes, four coming in the final period of play.
"That was a great game for the fans," said Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant. "They (Kamehameha) got two superstars on that team, and a lot of great role players, really hard to defend. (Coach) Greg Tacon runs all kinds of sets, all different kinds of defenses so it really makes us really work on what we want to do."
The two superstars that Grant alluded to was Kamehameha's Kamren Victorino-Kato and Kobe Young, who both scored 16 points in the Warriors' ILH opener.
Against the Spartans it was no different. After missing his first four shots of the game, Victorino-Kato connected on eight straight attempts to finish with 20 points and four treys. Young spent most of his time operating in the mid-range game and added 18 points with nine made free throws.
In spite of the scoring barrage by the Warriors' duo, the Spartans still kept fighting. While Kamehameha was knocking down jumpers, Maryknoll worked at getting to the rim. The end result saw the Spartans earn 22 trips to the free throw line, where they knocked down 15 attempts. By comparison, the Warriors were 9 of 15 from the charity stripe.
"We made a lot of mistakes defensively because they're so aggressive offensively," said Kamehameha coach Greg Tacon. "They did a really good job of going hard to the basket. They won a lot of hustle plays tonight, a lot of the 50-50 balls they got them, and that hurts because that kept possessions alive for them."
Cain agreed with Tacon's sentiments.
"We just looked to attack off of their mistakes," he said. "Anytime they turn the ball over we ran it down the court and made sure we scored. When they were pressing we made sure we broke their press and tried to attack the basket."
The Maryknoll junior guard was clutch in the final period of play, scoring 12 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter. Cain knocked down a triple from the left wing with 4:02 left in regulation for the final lead change, 47-46. He also scored on a backdoor cut and had a strong take to the basket in the final three minutes to help keep the Warriors at bay.
"We knew he was going to be good when he was a freshman," Tacon said on Cain. "He's kind of struggled off and on here and there, but he's playing the way he should be playing. He's really physical, he's strong and he can shoot it. He's a good player."
Maryknoll's Payton Grant knocked down two free throws with 15 seconds left in the fourth quarter to make it a two-possession game, 55-51. Kamehameha guard Christmas Togiai scored on a drive and was fouled with five seconds to play. The Warriors got the offensive rebound on the missed free throw, but could not get a clean look off at the buzzer as the Spartans held on to win.
Isiah Gelacio joined Cain in double figures with 10 points.
Kamehameha hosts Mid-Pacific next Wednesday while Maryknoll takes on Punahou on the road.
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