HHSAA Boys Basketball
Kaimuki set to face off with defending state champ Kohala in D2 semis


Thu, Feb 22, 2024 @ Kaimuki

Final 1 2 3 4  
Kaimuki (8-4, 15-14) 12 12142260
Kapaa (10-2, 20-7) 13 18 11 850
R. Camacho 17 pts  1 3pm  8/11 FTs
D. Lupica 20 pts  2 3pm  2/5 FTs
A. Green 7 tot  7 def
I. Letuli 9 tot  5 off  4 def
K. Kauhane 3 ast
J. White 3 ast

Kaimuki surged late to take down Kapaa, while Kohala rolled in the second half to eliminate Le Jardin in quarterfinal action of the Heide & Cook/HHSAA Division II Boys Basketball Championshps held at Kaimuki High School.

Kaimuki weathered a 31-24 halftime deficit, then held on despite losing leading scorer Jeremiah White in the latter stages of the fourth quarter, getting big production from Daysen Lupica and Regan Fritz-Betiru in a 60-50 win over Kapaa.

"We were down (on the scoreboard), but we didn't feel down, we still had that positive energy and we just wanted to start the third off strong," said White. "Coming off of that 18 point deficit (in the OIA title game against Aiea) we know we're only just a few shots away, a few possessions away from catching up."

Lupica hit for 20 points and added four steals, and Fritz-Betiru added 13 points off the bench for the Bulldogs, who hit eight threes in the game, but needed 32 attempts to do so.

Down six points in the final quarter of play, the Bulldogs found instant offense courtesy of Fritz-Betiru, who hit a three-pointer to halve the Warriors' lead, then tied it up a possession later with another triple, both assisted by White.

"Those were super big," remarked White. "He lives for those moments, he always wants the big shots and we trust them to hit those."

Following a Kapaa turnover, Fritz-Betiru found Lupica for a layup that ultimately put the Bulldogs up for good.

White hit a jumper for his 19th point at the 3:43 mark of the fourth, pushing the margin to nine, but he was called for his fifth foul on the next Warriors' possession, chasing him from the game.

"I let them down, leaving them out to dry that last minutes of the game," said White, "But I trusted them, and Regan hitting big shots, Daysen doing what he does, I'm just so proud of my guys."

Despite White's departure, momentum was still clearly on the side of Kaimuki, who built the margin to as large as 13 following a layup by Fritz-Betiru and a jumper by Lupica.

Kapaa, who hit just 3 of 21 three pointers in the game, shot just 33 percent from the field in the second half and never got into rhythm out of the intermission after shooting 11 of 21 in the first.

Reimel Camacho led the Warriors with 17 points, Keaka Kauhane added 16 and Tristen Scully 11.

Turnovers proved costly for the KIF champs, who committed 22 to just 11 for Kaimuki.

Rayden Aoki | SL    Purchase image

In the late quarterfinal at Kaimuki, defending D2 state champ Kohala got its campaign for a repeat started with 31 big points from Layden Kauka and held Le Jardin to just 30 percent shooting in a 67-53 win.

Kauka scored 19 points in the second half alone, which included two big triples, to doom Le Jardin, who just were not able to find the answer to slowing the sophomore swingman, who also added six rebounds, six assists and three steals.

The Bulldogs were very much in it through one half of play, and even led briefly in the opening moments of the third at 29-27 on a Kai Kim Han three pointer, but Layden Kauka tied the score up a possession later, the start of a 15-0 spurt in the quarter that made it an uphill climb the rest of the way.

Kohala built the margin to as large as 18 in the fourth quarter before Le Jardin staged a mini-rally, and got within 10 on a three by Jackon Swirsky, but time would run out on the Bulldogs, and the Cowboys eventually cleared the bench with about a minute left.

Layden's brother Landon scored 10 points for Kohala, as did Jayden Hook. Hezekiah Wilson pulled down 10 rebounds, and Isaac Salvador-Libron added eight points, six steals and three assists.

Le Jardin got 18 points from Kim Han and 14 points from Giovanni Oliva, and the duo combined to hit six threes on 15 attempts. Swirsky had seven points to go along with 12 boards and two blocks.

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