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Game of the Week
Brandon Ching | ScoringLiveJanuary 9, 2018, 10:24pm
Tue, Jan 9, 2018 @ Punahou
MAKIKI — In a battle featuring the top two teams in the state, No. 1 Punahou came out on top to beat No. 2 Kamehameha, 66-59 in an Interscholastic League of Honolulu Division I showdown at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Tuesday night.
The Buffanblu (3-0 ILH) got 26 points from Zayne Chong, who lit up the scoreboard with 15 first half points and shot 6 of 9 from the field. He was 7 of 8 from the free throw line in the first half and finished 10 of 12 for the game before fouling out with 24.2 seconds left in the fourth.
"It always good to start off well. When I don't, it carries on the rest of the game. It was good to get the first 3 in. Coach tells me to be aggressive and they switch on and it's hard for them to locate me and you get open lanes to the hoop," said Chong.
Tamatoa Falatea added 12 points off the bench while Cole Arceneaux chipped in nine and Kaulana Makaula with eight.
Punahou was able to create open looks on the perimeter by penetrating Kamehameha's defense and kicking it out to open shooters. Chong buried four of the Buffanblu's six 3-pointers while Arceneaux and Falatea each made one.
"It's our game. We space the floor and run some drive and kick. We had a better flow today on offense. It's one of those games where it could've gone either way," said Punahou coach Darren Matsuda.
"Their penetration just killed us," said Kamehameha coach Greg Tacon, whose team fell to 2-1 in the ILH.
The pace and tempo of the game seemed to fit both teams early on as the Warriors managed to tie it up twice in the second quarter. Chong dished one of his three assists to Falatea, who sank an open 3-pointer as the Buffanblu held a 29-24 advantage at halftime.
"We got a better flow on offense today. They like to run and we like to run so it would be a better game for both teams. They're a good team, Kobe and Kam are tough to stop. They do what they do. I thought we did a good job defensively on them to work for everything," said Matsuda.
"They (Punahou) were aggressive off the dribble and we had a hard time staying in front of them. They turned the corner on us and got to the basket and got easy baskets in a half court set. We have to be better defensively to keep talented kids like theirs away from the basket," said Tacon.
Kamren Victorino-Kato, who was 0 of 5 from the field in the first half, got it going with a 3-pointer and Kamehameha brought the game within one, 29-28 after Kobe Young split a pair of free throws.
"He has to be aggressive," said Tacon, on Victorino-Kato. "He wasn't knocking down shots and second half he got a better rhythm."
It almost felt like a home game for the visiting Warriors as the fans came out in force, but however Punahou went on a 7-0 run after 3's from Arceneaux and Chong to quiet things down. Victorino-Kato found a groove to score nine quarter points, but Punahou still led, 43-36 going into the fourth.
Victorino-Kato (22 points) continued to attack the basket to score 11 of his 20-second half points in the fourth. Young added 16 points and flushed two Victorino-Kato alley oops. Christmas Togiai contributed 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting before fouling out.
"Tama (Falatea) and Cole (Mausolf) did a good job defensively," said Chong, on his teammates' defensive performances against the Warriors' top scorers.
Chong extended the Buffanblu lead to 10, 49-39 off his fourth 3-pointer and later Makaula's 3-point play made it, 53-42. The Warriors whittled the deficit down to single digits. Victorino-Kato drained a step-back 3-pointer and with 54.2 seconds remaining Young made another 3-pointer to make it, 59-55, but Kamehameha could get no closer as the Buffanblu finished off the Warriors with free throws.
Both coaches felt their teams didn't shoot particularly well from the free throw line. Kamehameha finished 12 of 23 (52.1 percent), while Punahou shot 24 of 34 (70.6 percent).
"We were trading one point for their two points and that didn't add up," said Tacon.
Punahou closes out the ILH first round with home games against Saint Louis (0-3 ILH) and Iolani (1-2 ILH) in that order on Jan. 11 and Jan. 16.
Kamehameha looks to regroup and hosts Mid-Pacific (1-2 ILH) on Jan. 11 and at Maryknoll (2-1 ILH) on Jan. 16.
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