OIA Boys Basketball
Mules edge Trojans for 1st OIA hoops crown in 36 years


  



Wed, Feb 14, 2024 @ McKinley


Final 1 2 3 4  
Leilehua (12-1, 22-5) 11 5231049
Mililani (12-1, 21-6) 13 9 12 1448
T. Dorn 20 pts  1 3pm  3/4 FTs
T. Wilson 25 pts  5 3pm  0/0 FTs
T. Dorn 11 tot  1 off  10 def
M. Ioane 9 tot  5 off  4 def
T. Wilson 5 ast

KAKAAKO — This one was a long time coming. Thirty-six years, to be exact. 

Trystin Stevens knocked down a 3-pointer with 5.3 seconds left and Twain Wilson poured in a game-high 25 points to lead No. 6 Leilehua to a pulsating 49-48 win over previously-unbeaten Mililani in the title game of the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I boys basketball tournament Wednesday night. 

It is the second OIA title for the Mules (12-1) and the first since 1988. 

The fourth-ranked Trojans (12-1) were making their third straight appearance in the OIA final and were seeking their second league crown in three years. 

A spirited crowd of about 800 fans at McKinley's Student Council Gymnasium was on hand for the second meeting between the Central Oahu rivals. Mililani escaped with a 52-50 win over Leilehua at Paul T. Kobayashi Gymnasium in the final game of the OIA West regular season back on Jan. 26. 

This time around, however, the Mules reigned supreme. Sixth-year coach Chad Townsend said this one was for Wahiawa. 

"It feels unreal, just for the community, because as you can see they're such a great community — support til the end, students all came out — and I just can't be more appreciative," Townsend said. 

Leilehua erased a six-point halftime deficit with a 23-point third quarter, including 15 from Wilson. The junior guard hit three of his five 3-pointers in the third period. 

The Mules took their largest lead of the game on a Chaysen Montayre 3-pointer about 20 seconds into the fourth quarter to go ahead 42-34. However, Mililani cut it to a one-point game with a 7-0 run that included five straight points by Timothy Dorn. 

A few minutes later, Dorn tied it at 46 after he spun around a defender and hit a 10-foot jumper. The Trojans pulled back ahead two possessions later when Ezekiel Virtudes drove the lane and finished at the rim to put his team up 48-46 with 39 seconds to play. 

On the go-ahead bucket, Wilson ended up with the ball and drew the attention of two Mililani defenders. Wilson passed it to an open Stevens in the left corner and the 6-foot-4 junior drained the triple — his only 3-pointer of the night — to give Leilehua the lead for good. 

Stevens said the play didn't exactly play out as it was drawn up by Townsend during a timeout with 22.7 seconds left. 

"Not really, but I got the ball, I gave it to Twain, but then I seen him cheat over a double-team so I slipped out," Stevens said. "I was open, I took the shot and it went in."

Stevens shot 2 of 9 from the field and 0 for 2 from beyond the arc prior to his game-winning shot, but it did little to affect his confidence. 

"As soon as I shot it I thought, hundred percent, it was going in," he said. 

Wilson credited Stevens, who came off the bench, for delivering in the clutch.

"It was a good play by Trys. (Mililani) came for the double, he went to the corner — I know my teammate can hit that shot, I got all the trust in him; any one of my teammates if they were in corner, I'm hitting them. I'm just glad he hit the shot and we came out with the (win)," Wilson said. 

Trojans coach Garrett Gabriel also tipped his cap to Stevens for the late-game heroics. 

"I thought we did a good job doubling it at the time and he just did a nice job of sliding away and (Wilson) found him, so they did a good job," Gabriel said. 

Gabriel called back-to-back timeouts before the final play. Dorn received the inbounds pass from Davyn Joseph at about three-quarters court before he took a few dribbles across mid-court and got off a shot from several feet beyond the 3-point line just before the final buzzer, but it was off the mark. 

Gabriel noted that LeCedric Brown may have had a good look at the basket near the baseline. 

"We were hoping he'd throw the ball up court because (Brown) was open on the baseline, but he decided to take it himself, which is fine," Gabriel said of Dorn, who paced the Trojans with 20 points on 8-of-13 shooting, 11 rebounds and seven blocks. 

Townsend didn't dare exhale until the final seconds ticked off the clock. 

"It was never safe because the first time we played, you guys saw, Tim Dorn hit some ridiculous shots — spinning, fade away, free-throw line — so even then it wasn't safe with him coming down full speed like that because he's one of those guys that, at 6-6, 6-7, he can get any shot he wants off on the court that he wants to take, so that's the danger with a guy like that," said Townsend, whose team was coming off of a 73-67 double-overtime win over Kailua in Monday's semifinals. 

Stevens acknowledged the team's fans and supporters, many of whom were in attendance Wednesday night. 

"It means a lot," he said. "The community's been waiting for a long time and I'm happy we came out here and won it for them."

Leilehua went scoreless for a stretch of more than six minutes in the second quarter, which led to Mililani's largest lead at 22-13 following a Roman Gabriel free throw with 1:29 left in the first half. 

The Trojans were up 28-20 a few minutes into the third quarter after a one-handed dunk in transition by Dorn that was set-up by a steal by Brown on the other end. However, the Mules closed out the third quarter with a 19-6 run that included 13 points by Wilson.

"They played well. They went on a big run, that probably was the game," Gabriel said. "We were able to fight back, give ourselves a chance with the lead and they just made the plays when they had to. They did a good job."

Wilson, a 6-foot senior guard, shot 10 of 17 from the field and 5 of 7 from the arc. He also grabbed nine rebounds and added four assists along with a couple of steals. 

Wilson said the third-quarter momentum shift began on the defensive end of the floor. 

"Honestly, we just had to pick up the defense. We started hitting shots, people started gaining confidence, bench players started coming in, playing a big role for us and I thank them for hitting their shots and doing everything, coming in with defensive help," Wilson said. 

To Wilson's point, the bench scoring was one-sided in Leilehua's favor, 12-0. 

Tyree Wilson tallied 10 points for the Mules, who shot 46.4 percent (13 of 28) from the field after halftime. They made 7 of 15 3-pointers as a team. 

After it was out-rebounded by Mililani 31-24 in the regular-season meeting, Leilehua finished plus-11 (37-26) in rebounding margin in Wednesday's rematch, including 16 offensive boards. 

"After that game we practiced, we did a lot of box-out drills, rebounding drills and that helped us a lot," Stevens said. 

"This game we executed on the offensive boards, because last game we couldn't stop them from getting offensive rebounds, so we did that and that led to us getting out in transition and that's what we're known for, making those layups, getting those open shots in the corner and then we just executed, like usual," he added. 

Matteus Ioane recorded nine rebounds and three assists, Stevens scored all seven of his points in the second half and Cobe Wyatt chipped in five rebounds, two assists and a steal in the win. 

Mililani shot 43.5 percent (20 of 46) from the field, but struggled from distance. It converted its first 3-point shot, but went on to miss its final eight attempts. 

Roman Gabriel scored eight of his 10 points before halftime in the loss. Brown contributed eight points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals and Virtudes added five assists, four points, three steals and a block. Lauvai Pine, who 19 points and six rebounds in the first matchup against the Mules, was held to six points and one rebound. He also tallied three blocks, two steals and an assist. 

There were six ties and seven lead changes over the course of the game. 

"Like coach Gabriel said in his other interview, I think if we play ten times, we go five-and-five and I really believe that. I got the highest respect for that guy, that's my alma mater and it's also good to see them thriving under Gabriel, so nothing but love for those guys," Townsend said. 

Both teams, along with Nanakuli, Kailua, Kahuku and Kalaheo, will represent the OIA in next week's Heide & Cook/HHSAA State Championships. 

Mililani will host Kalaheo in a first-round game Monday, while Leilehua will have a bye and play either Kamehameha-Maui or No. 10 Kahuku, 5 p.m. Thursday in a quarterfinal at Saint Louis. 



Reach Kalani Takase at [email protected].




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