HHSAA Boys Basketball
Top seeds Campbell, Saint Louis to clash in Division I title game


Thu, Feb 9, 2023 @ Moanalua

F/2OT 1 2 3 4 OT2OT  
Maryknoll (10-5, 26-7) 3 713112238
Campbell (12-1, 25-6) 9 4 11 1021046
R. Blenman-Villarreal 15 pts  3/8 FTs
J. Yap 14 pts  2 3pm  2/4 FTs
M. Muaau 7 tot  2 off  5 def
J. Lilio 9 tot  5 off  4 def
J. Yap 4 ast

For the first-time ever, Campbell is headed to the ‘ship.

Second seed and fifth-ranked Campbell survived in double overtime to top second-ranked Maryknoll, 46-38, in the Heide & Cook/HHSAA Division I Boys Basketball State Championships semifinals at Moanalua Thursday.

After coming up short in the semifinals against Iolani, 29-27 in 2015, the Sabers broke through to reach the championship game for the first time in program history.

"These kids work so hard, man," Campbell coach Wyatt Tau said. "I'm so happy. I knew I had so much confidence coming in we were going to come out with a ‘W' only because the way we focused today. Nobody was stressed out, everyone was laughing and joking."

"It has sunk in yet, but it will tonight it will sink in because we have to play tomorrow and play hard. We're not finished yet," Rondell Blenman-Villarreal said. "It's a big ride. Since August we set up a plan, we wanted to make the OIA championship. We didn't get an undefeated season but we made it to states. We have to close it out."

Campbell will take on top-ranked/seeded Saint Louis at 7 p.m. and that game follows the Division II championship game between Kohala and University Laboratory School at 5 p.m. at SimpliFi Arena at Stan Sheriff Center.

Blenman-Villarreal took over in the fourth and powered the Sabers with 15 points and seven rebounds. Miles Hornage added 10 points, Malik Jackson with nine, and Mason Muaau had eight and seven boards before fouling out.

Campbell's Mason Muaau (10) defends a shot attempt by Maryknoll. Michael Lasquero | SL    Purchase image

Campbell survived a scare from a relentless and physical Kahuku team to win in the quarterfinal round, 43-40 to advance.

"The kids understood what we did wrong last night. We refocused after the game. We got back together and talked about everything. If you play like that one more time, you won't get through this game. You have to be composed. I don't know what more, I'm so happy for these kids,"

Blenman-Villarreal scored six points in the fourth quarter and kept the Sabers afloat with a one point lead. After Muaau missed the front end of the one-and-one, Maryknoll drained some clock and called timeout. Zion Milare skipped it to Hunter Marumoto in the right corner to drain the 3-pointer with over 18 seconds left in regulation.

On the other end, Blenman-Villarreal set a screen for Mizah Carreira, who dumped it off while he rolled to the basket and drew a blocking foul on Milare as he banked it in. He missed the free throw that sent the game into the first overtime.

"If you got it, I want to you to take em," Tau said of Blenman-Villarreal. "He's one of the best point guards now in Hawaii."

"We already knew they were going to do that. They were going to try and come off for the 3. They were going to collapse on me so I was going to get that and-one," Blenman-Villarreal said.

Hornage gave the Sabers the lead in the first overtime period at the 3:02 mark. Micah Kubo checked into the game and later tied it at 36 underneath.

Hornage missed a layup and Campbell had fouls to give. Milare's pull up jumper with 2.6 seconds left hit front iron to send the game into double overtime.

Carreira found a rolling Muaau to the basket for the lead and never looked back. Blenman-Villarreal and Jackson combined to shoot 3-for-6 from the free throw line to extend it to five.

"Patience. Instead of taking it to the lane, we decided to play slow. Play their game, and we decided to pull the ball and stall time," Blenman-Villarreal said.

Muaau blocked a shot and on the other end, Hornage found him in the paint to put Campbell up 43-36 with 54 seconds left as Saber fans could sense victory. Justin Yap hit a jumper for the Spartans and Jackson sank a pair of free throws for the final points.

Campbell shot 6-for-14 in the final 2:12 in the double overtime period and shot 8-for-19 (42.1 percent) overall.

The Sabers went to a zone that held the Spartans to shoot 15 of 53 (28.3 percent) from the field and was just 5-for-25 (20 percent) from the 3-point line for the game.

"It helped us close out on their threes even though they got a lot. It helped us close out and stay composed," Blenman-Villarreal said.

"I think we play our zone differently from everybody. We look like we're in a man, but everything is in rotation. It takes a lot of practice all season, but these guys are good listeners and they're good student athletes," Tau said.

Yap finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and four assists to lead the Spartans, Marumoto had eight and Fabian Camacho and Rome Lilio each had six as Maryknoll falls to the third place game.

Campbell went up by as much as seven in the first half and led, 13-10 at halftime. Maryknoll did not take the lead until the 4:32 mark in the fourth quarter after Yap's driving layup.

Maryknoll defeated Campbell, 55-35, in McKinley's Black and Gold Classic back on Nov. 26.

The Spartans were seeking their first championship game appearance since 2020.

Saint Louis' Pupu Sepulona drives to the basket against Moanalua.

Saint Louis pulls away from Moanalua to return to title game

After trailing in the first quarter, the Crusaders outscored Na Menehune the rest of the way to win, 47-34, to reach the title game in consecutive seasons.

It was quite an accomplishment for the young Saint Louis squad that saw its championship core graduate last year.

"We stacked our preseason and with a young group, you have to get them as much experience as you can and as fast as you can. They responded and it was tremendous to see them hang in there tonight. Moanalua is a tough team and they're on a really big roll," Saint Louis coach Dan Hale said.

Pupu Sepulona the way with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Shancin Revuelto added nine points and three steals for the Crusaders.

Moanalua was the last OIA team to get into the state tournament and knocked out Mililani, 60-56, in the opening round and held off Kamehameha-Hawaii, 54-49, but their quest to reach the title game for the first time since 1997 came to an end.

Na Menehune fed off its home crowd despite being the designated visitors and led, 6-4 led by Faradineh's four points in the paint.

Saint Louis settled in and Sepulona scored 10 in the second quarter and started pulling away with 47 seconds to go. Sepulona could not complete the 3-point play and led, 20-14 at halftime.

"We kept telling them to settle down and settle in to what we do. They started making the extra pass and getting the extra look and when we did that, things opened up for us," Hale said.

Revuelto and Sepulona combined for three points from the free throw line and Revuelto drove baseline for a layup to beat the buzzer as Saint Louis built a 10-point lead heading into the fourth.

"We got the ball to Pupu. When two or three guys were on him, other guys have to step up. Jordan Nunuha, I can't say enough about what he did tonight. He couldn't even walk out of here, he was on crutches. He got treatment all day and sacrifices up to the point where he couldn't finish the game. That's what it's going to take to beat a team like that," Hale said.

The Crusaders went up by as much as 11 in the final period before Moanalua started making a run. Skylar Miyasato was fouled on a drive to bring Na Menehune within six with 3:09 remaining.

Miyasato led Moanalua with 12 points despite shooting 2-for-10 from the field but hit eight of his nine free throws. Cyrus Faradineh added 10 points and collected five rebounds.

The Crusaders closed out Na Menehune with an 11-4 run and was 6-for-9 from the free throw line in that stretch.

Na Menehune will face Maryknoll in the third place game at 1 p.m.

Saint Louis and Moanalua met twice in the preseason. The Crusaders won in the Jim Alegre Invitational, 48-33 and Na Menehune won, 58-57 in the Iolani Classic.

Saint Louis is looking to repeat as state champions for the first time since 1966 to 1968.

Reach Brandon Ching at [email protected].

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