Chase for the Championship
Iolani outlasts Moanalua in OT to advance


 



SALT LAKE — Survive and advance was all Iolani needed to do.

The No. 3 Raiders rallied in the fourth quarter and outlasted No. 6 and second seeded Moanalua, 52-47, in overtime in the Snapple/HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championship quarterfinals nightcap on Na Menehune's home floor Thursday.

"We're used to this, this is like an ILH game. Hard-fought, down to the end. It was a game of runs. We had to be resilient, keep coming, fighting and believing. We're fortunate to come out with a win," said Iolani coach Dean Shimamoto.

Iolani outscored Na Menehune 11 to 6 in the overtime period to advance to the semifinals to face Interscholastic League of Honolulu rival Punahou for the fourth time this season in the 5 p.m. game at the Stan Sheriff Center.

"This feels great, especially being in the state tournament. I'm so happy for the ‘W'," said Sam Wheeler. "The state tournament is my last one so no regrets, we're going to give everything we have."

The Buffanblu won the past three league contests by an average of 3.33 points.

"It's been good games every time, we hope to give them another good game and see how it finishes," said Shimamoto.

Iolani shot 7 for 24 (29.2 percent) from the field in the first half and 8 for 27 (29.6 percent) in the second half before breaking through shooting 4 for 5 in the overtime period.

"We knew that was the worst offensive half we could've had. We knew we had to continue our tough defense and then the shots would fall," said Wheeler.

"It was one of our weaker halves offensively. We knew we were doing good on defense, battling. We were getting looks that we wanted, they weren't falling. As the game progressed, we got more comfortable and knocking more down," added Kawika Lee.

Wheeler scored a game-high 21 points, scoring 10 in the fourth quarter and Lee (14.0 ppg) added 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting and this was his eighth straight game scoring in double figures this season.

Na Menehune led by as much as seven in the third quarter and led by six, until Lee cut the deficit in half with a 3-pointer in the fourth. Iolani would cut the deficit in half again after Wheeler converted the three-point play, but Moanalua would go up by five after Geremy Robinson's layup. The Raiders hit another 3-pointer and Carter Kamana hit two foul shots to tie the game at 37.

"Kawika was huge, he could've been the MVP for this game. He was huge hitting 3's and playing defense," said Wheeler.

McRaven was fouled and drew blood so Rocky Ramones filled in to sink both free throws. Wheeler tied the game up at 39 before Robinson and Felix each traded baskets to make it 41-all. Iolani got the ball back for the final shot with 16.1 seconds left on the clock after Robinson missed a jumper. Noah Bumanglag flipped up a layup that was no good as the game headed into overtime.

"I think our mentality changed. We started attacking on both ends. I thought we cared a little bit more when we finished. We were playing not to miss and in the end we were shooting to make them," said Shimamoto of the fourth quarter and overtime. "We had the momentum and we had to keep playing the way we've been playing."

Lee started the overtime period hitting a 3-pointer, but Isaiah Sugiura answered with a 3 of his own from the right wing. Wheeler and Felix each took turns driving to the hoop to make it 48-44.

"We're a 3-point shooting team. Me and Frankie weren't hitting 3's tonight so I knew I had to change up and do something different to score," said Wheeler.

"We stretched them out a little bit. McRaven had to cover on the perimeter so he couldn't protect the basket quite as well and we were able to finish. A little bit of scheme, but a lot of our guys being tough and getting in there and finishing," said Shimamoto.

Elijah McGruder converted the three-point play after being fouled as Moanalua trailed by one, 48-47. Shayden Molina made two free throws to put Iolani up three with 38 seconds remaining. Sugiura missed a potential game-tying 3 and Wheeler was alone in transition to put the game away with a layup.

Moanalua shot 8 for 19 from the field in the second half but was just 2 for 8 in overtime.

Robinson and McGruder each had 11 points. Robinson was 3 for 15 from the field and shot 5 for 8 from the free-throw line.

"They came at us, they're really physical and attacked us. We had to stay with it and keep competing," said Lee.

Moanalua saw its 13-game winning streak snapped and will play Lahainaluna in the consolation bracket at 1 p.m.

Kaulana Makaula scored a team-high 17 points as Punahou advanced to take on ILH-foe Iolani in the state semifinals. Pete Caldwell | SL

Punahou 74, Lahainaluna 54

No. 2 Punahou handled third seeded Lahainaluna in the state tournament for the fourth-straight year, this time with a 74-54 win at Moanalua Thursday.

Kaulana Makaula scored a team-high 17 points and blocked three shots and Duke Clemens added 13 points and eight rebounds to lead a balanced scoring effort.

The Lunas kept it close in the first half as Punahou led 31-24 at intermission. The Buffanblu opened up the third quarter with a 7-2 run and followed up with a 6-2 run to open the floodgates.

The Lunas committed 23 turnovers mostly due to Punahou's full court press and trailed by as much as 26.

Tre Rickard led all scorers with 25 points on 9-of-13 shooting and Reece Pascua added 14 points (6-for-13 shooting) in the loss.



Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].


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