HHSAA Boys Basketball
Saint Louis survives over Kailua; will play Moanalua in semis


Wed, Feb 8, 2023 @ Moanalua

Final 1 2 3 4  
Kailua (12-1, 23-7) 9 3171948
Saint Louis (9-4, 27-7) 11 13 11 1651
P. Sepulona 20 pts  8/13 FTs
J. Philbrick 19 pts  1 3pm  4/6 FTs
J. Posiulai 13 tot  8 off  5 def
N. Donnelly 10 tot  4 off  6 def
M. Pung 3 ast

When the brackets for Heide & Cook Division I Boys Basketball Championships were released, Saint Louis coach Dan Hale knew that his Crusaders were in for a dogfight in the quarterfinals against Kailua.

The Surfriders did just that and gave Saint Louis all it could handle Wednesday night.

The Crusaders, the reigning state champion and top-seeded team in the 12-team tourney, built a 17-point lead before staving off a spirited comeback by Kailua for a 51-48 win at Moanalua's gymnasium.

"We knew they were going to come back. That's a really good team and they got so many scorers out there. We just had to hang on," coach Hale said.

Saint Louis got double-double performances from Pupu Sepulona and Jordan Posiulai to advance to the semifinals, where it will take on Na Menehune after the first semifinal between second-seeded Campbell and Maryknoll.

Sepulona scored 20 points with 11 rebounds and Jordan Posiulai had 16 points with 13 boards to lead the Crusaders, who outrebounded the Surfriders, 38 to 21. Saint Louis' dominance on the glass was a big reason why it was able to take a 35-18 lead with 4:23 to play in the third quarter.

Saint Louis' Pupu Sepulona puts up a shot against Kailua in the first half. CJ Caraang | SL    Purchase image

But like they did in their regular season matchup against Kahuku, the Surfriders did not go down quietly. Kailua closed the third period on a 11-0 run and got a corner triple from Dylan Kunz to start the fourth quarter to cut the Crusaders' lead to 35-32.

But Saint Louis weathered the storm. Even when Jordan Nunuha had to leave the game with an ankle injury, the Crusaders continued to make plays to keep Kailua at bay. Posiulai scored off a baseline-inbounds play and Keanu Meacham got loose on a backdoor cut to put the Crusaders up by seven with 4:37 left in regulation.

The Surfriders continued to scrap and got as close as two points, 48-46, with 32 seconds left in the game after a triple by Kunz, but they couldn't capitalize when Saint Louis split a pair at the free throw line and the Crusaders were able to hold on for the victory.

"That team can beat anybody and they're not going to down lightly and that's what they did," Hale said of the Surfriders. "They fought all the way to the very end. We had to make a few free throws and at the end we were fortunate to come out of that one."

Senior guard Jonny Philbrick scored 19 points with six steals to lead Kailua in the loss.

"Jonny had an awesome career, fantastic player," Kailua coach Wally Marciel said of Philbrick. "I hope he gets to go somewhere to play (collegiately). Wherever he goes, there's going to be a happy coach out there when they pick him up. A hidden gem."

Moanalua guard Skylar Miyasato dribbles into the paint against Kamehameha-Hawaii in the second half.

Moanalua pulls away from Kamehameha-Hawaii, 54-49
The hottest team in the state continues to sizzle.

Skylar Miyasato scored 19 points and Na Menehune got contributions from across the board as they fended off fourth-seeded KS-Hawaii in the earlier quarterfinal matchup.

Moanalua led 30-24 at halftime before the Warriors rallied to make it a 41-41 game heading into the fourth quarter.

Na Menehune second-year coach Brandon Dumlao's message heading into the final period of play was the same as it was all year.

"We always talk about winning the quarter, no matter what happens, win the quarter and we'll be alright," Dumlao said.

"It was the perfect situation. Tie game, told them 'we got eight minutes for you guys to just go win. All we need is to win by one' and they freaking did it. I'm proud of these guys."

Kiai Yasso and Nixis Yamauchi each scored 17 points and combined to make seven 3-pointers to lead KS-Hawaii in the loss.

"Hats off to them," said Dumlao. "They were knocking down shots all in our faces. They're a good team."

Reach Michael Lasquero at [email protected].

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