HHSAA Boys Basketball
Punahou blitzes McKinley to face Lunas


Mon, Feb 12, 2018 @ Punahou

Final 1 2 3 4  
McKinley (8-6, 14-14) 7 5111639
Punahou (10-3, 30-4) 12 14 16 1759
Pts: Cole Arceneaux (PUN) 14 pts  Reb: Kyle Moraga (MCK) 8 reb  Ast: Zayne Chong (PUN) 5 ast

MAKIKI No. 2 Punahou unleashed the pressure in the second quarter to race past McKinley, 59-39, to open the Snapple/HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championships at Hemmeter Fieldhouse on Monday.

The Buffanblu (27-4 overall) win their 100th state tournament game and advance to play third-seeded and fifth-ranked Lahainaluna (19-6 overall) on Wednesday at McKinley. Punahou has beaten the Lunas, 57-47, in 2016 and, 54-47, in 2017.

"They go inside and out. They're always well-disciplined and they play good defense. We have our work cut out for us and we have to play good basketball," said Punahou coach Darren Matsuda, on Wednesday's showdown.

"They play great man defense and their coach is intense. They're going to come out with high intensity. We have to go in that game just playing hard and do what we do. We can't take them lightly," said Cole Arceneux.

The Tigers, who made their first Division I state tournament appearance since 2016 (third overall), end their season at 14-14.

Arceneaux led the Buffanblu with 14 points and three steals, Zayne Chong chipped in 12 points, five assists, and Kaulana Makaula added 11.

"If I can get my guys open and see the ball go through the net with them shooting it, it makes me feel great. When we're moving the ball, the game is fun," said Arceneux as he deferred credit to his teammates.

The Tigers trailed, 6-2, which forced McKinley to call an early timeout. Following the timeout, Frank Camacho hit a 3-pointer and a steal by Hsein Pascua led to Caleb Corpening's jumper for a 7-6 lead. Despite shooting 0 of 6 from the perimeter, the Buffanblu answered with a 6-0 run to end the quarter.

"Duane does a great job with them. They play really hard and scrap. Kyle, Frank, and Caleb are good offensive players. They're a good team. They don't have a size, but they make up for it with their effort and speed," said Matsuda.

Arceneux echoed the same sentiments.

"A lot of teams would overlook them due to their roster. They're not the biggest team, but they would give us a run for our money. We knew they were scrappy. Hands down they are one of the best effort teams in the state. Their effort makes up for their lack of size."

Kyle Moraga completed a backdoor cut to bring McKinley within two, 12-10, but Chong and Arceneux's steals sparked the Buffanblu to an 8-0 run that pushed the lead to double digits and the Tigers weren't able to recover.

"Punahou is a good defensive team. We don't see that kind of pressure throughout the year. Our kids lost their composure and the turnovers killed us. They took us out of our offense too," said McKinley coach Duane Omori.

"Our press as a team, it's like a boxing match. We're throwing jabs and as you seen toward the end of the half, the jabs turned into blows," said Arceneux.

The Buffanblu shot 24 of 45 (53.3 percent) from the field for the game and 4 of 16 (25 percent) from the three-point line. Punahou tallied 13 steals and forced 16 Tigers turnovers that helped lead to easy transition buckets.

"It was big for us," said Matsuda, on the transition points. "We weren't shooting well trying to get used to new balls. Both teams weren't shooting well and we had to pick up points. We had to generate some offense. As the game wore on both teams started hitting."

The Tigers shot 15 of 43 (34.8 percent) overall from the field and 3 of 15 (20 percent) from the perimeter.

McKinley loses 11 of their 14 players to graduation. Corpening led the Tigers with 14 points and five rebounds, Camacho added eight and Moraga had seven with eight rebounds.

"The one good thing about our team is that we played together throughout the season. Good kids, good grades, they listen and it was gratifying coaching them this year," said Omori, on bidding farewell to the seniors.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].




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