Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, December 21, 2001


Iolani falls just
short against Fairfax

The host Raiders lose 61-59
on a Lions basket with 3
seconds left in the game

By Jason Kaneshiro

This time Goliath ducked.

Southern California power Fairfax avoided a major upset and advanced to the semifinals of the Iolani Classic with a heart-stopping 61-59 win over the host Raiders last night at Iolani gym.

A standing-room-only crowd watched Iolani erase a 29-18 halftime deficit to take the lead in the fourth quarter. A fast-break layup by Fairfax forward Evan Burns with three seconds left in the game gave the Lions the lead, but it wasn't until Fernando Sampson stole the inbounds pass that the Lions could breathe easy.

"I was really proud of our effort," Iolani coach Dr. Mark Mugiishi said.

Fairfax, which hails from Los Angeles, will face Clovis West of Fresno in an all-California semifinal today at 8 p.m. Iolani must recover quickly for a meeting with Northwestern (Miami, Fla.) in a fifth-place bracket game.

Junior point guard Kevin Bell led Fairfax with 16 points and made the key assist at the end of the game which led to Burns' winning basket. Burns, a 6-foot-8 forward bound for UCLA, finished with 15 points, 11 coming in the second half.

The Raiders were led by sophomore guard Derrick Low, who scored 17 points. Bobby Webster hit three 3-point shots in the third quarter and finished with 15 points. Bobby Nash added 12 and Jon Grobe scored 11 points.

The Raiders kept the more athletic Lions within reach and eventually took the lead by slowing the pace and keeping it a half-court game.

"I thought they did a good job of controlling the tempo," Fairfax coach Harvey Kitani said. "(Low) is an outstanding player and everybody kind of plays off of him."

The Raiders started quick, taking a 10-7 lead after the first quarter. But Fairfax took control with an 11-2 run to open the second period.

The Lions held an 11-point lead at halftime, despite getting only four points from Burns. As a team, Fairfax made 13 of 19 shots from the field in the first half.

Iolani clawed back into the game in the third quarter thanks to Webster's shooting. The senior knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers to cut the Fairfax lead to 31-26. He hit another at the end of the quarter to bring Iolani within four points, 41-37, entering the final period.

Low opened the fourth quarter with a layup, and a 3-pointer by Nash gave Iolani its first lead at 42-41 with 6:40 left in the game.

The teams traded baskets in the final minutes, but the Raiders were able to maintain a slight edge until the 59-second mark, when Burns tied the game at 57 with two free throws.

A putback by Joshua Shipp then gave Fairfax a 59-57 lead with 24 seconds left. Low hit two free throws to tie the game with 9 seconds remaining. But after the second shot dropped, Bell sprinted upcourt and found Burns all alone under the basket.

"He stepped up," Kitani said of Burns' 10-point fourth quarter performance. "The kids got him the ball and he delivered. He's supposed to do that."

Mugiishi said fatigue contributed to the Raiders' defensive breakdowns at the end of the game.

"Our starters were tired, so at the end it showed in our inability to stop their dribble penetration and inability to grab a rebound," he said.

The Raiders had a final shot with 2 seconds left, but Sampson tipped away a pass intended for Webster and ran out the clock.

"Anytime you know you're a very good team and can play with the best in the country, I hope that pushes you to work harder," Mugiishi said. "And I think we have the kind of kids on our team that will take it in the right way."

Montrose Christian (Rockville, Md.) 64, Kalaheo 40: In a battle of Mustangs, Montrose Christian advanced to the semifinals with a convincing win over the defending Hawaii state champiojns.

Montrose forward Linas Kleiza led all scorers with 0 points. Eric Price added 10 for the Mustangs, ranked 14th in the country by USA Today.

Kalaheo was led by Ikaika Alama-Francis' 16 points. Kalaheo guard D.C. Daniels, playing on a sore ankle, scored just five points.

Montrose, last year's tournament runner-up, will face Garfield (Seattle) at 6:30 in today's first semifinal. Kalaheo will face Wilson (Florence , S.C.) in a fifth-place bracket game at 3:30 p.m.

Clovis West (Fresno, Calif.) 78, Northwestern (Miami) 66: Nick Debban scored a game-high 29 points as the Golden Eagles knocked off the defending tournament champions.

After leading 15-14 after the first quarter, Clovis West opened up a 54-35 lead at halftime and held off the Bulls the rest of the way.

Randolph Alvin led Northwestern with 16 points.

Garfield 42, Wilson 33: Brandon Roy scored 14 points and Marcellus Kemp added 13 as the Bulldogs advanced to the semifinals.

Raymond Dorsey led Wilson with 14 points. But Garfield's defense stifled the rest of the Tigers, holding 6-foot-10 center Major Wingate to six points.

Consolation bracket scores

Mililani 82, Kealakehe 52
Aiea 61, Damien 56
Cathedral (Erie, Pa.) 76, Roosevelt 48
Punahou 73, Farrington 44

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