Friday, December 31, 2004


Guards help Iolani
win Punahou Classic

The battle of Hawaii's prep basketball giants was won by the little men.

Point guard Barry Kang scored 14 points and sharpshooter Vinny Nip added 13 as No. 1-ranked Iolani defeated Punahou 43-33 last night in the finals of the Punahou Holiday Classic.

A pensive crowd of 1,100 watched in muggy Hemmeter Fieldhouse.

The Raiders used their patented pressure defense to force the host Buffanblu into 20 turnovers. They led by as many as 18 before Punahou narrowed the gap in the final 3 minutes.

The Interscholastic League of Honolulu archrivals provided little drama by the end of the second quarter. For Iolani, Kang, a 5-foot-10 junior, and Nip, a 5-9 senior, came through with key points against a depleted Punahou defense. Starting guard Danny Cho saw limited action due to stomach flu, and 6-5 center Spencer McLachlin was away at his brother's wedding festivities.

"This whole tournament, we didn't shoot well, but we brought our defense again," Iolani coach Mark Mugiishi said of his team's string of four victories in four nights. "Barry controlled the tempo and attacked the basket."

Kang and Nip found openings in the lane in large part because of McLachlin's absence.

"I knew they'd take away the wings," Kang said of Punahou's habit of switching on screens. "Not having Spencer in there makes a big difference."

Mugiishi agreed.

"He creates matchup problems. It's a different game with him in there," he said.

Jeremiah Ostrowski scored 13 points to lead Punahou (10-6), which is ranked No. 2 in the Star-Bulletin's Top 10. The first half was a microcosm of the previous matchup won by Iolani 71-52 in the James Alegre Invitational final.

"I don't feel like we played better at all. It felt like they had 25 guys on the court," said Ostrowski, a 5-7 sophomore. "Maybe defensively we played better, but on offense we need to calm down. We need to study these guys and come up with better ways to get off shots."

The Buffanblu stayed close, tying the game at 6 on two free throws by Brenton Lee. However, three turnovers gave Iolani a chance to take a 10-6 lead.

The Raiders went deep into their bench, using freshman Taylor Mounts and junior Kiran Kepo'o on the post. Ostrowski's pull-up 15-foot jumper tied the game at 10, but Iolani's defense took control. Nip hit a 3-pointer from the left corner, and then a foul-line jumper as the Raiders went on an 11-2 run.

Punahou finished the half with 12 turnovers, including three in a row after Ostrowski went to the bench with three fouls at 1:15 to go in the half. Iolani didn't take advantage, though. Kang sank two foul shots, and intercepted an Ostrowski pass and scored on a layup for a 25-15 lead going into the half.

Kang had eight points at the break, and Nip had seven. Iolani had just three turnovers in the first half.

Iolani's momentum carried into the second half. Punahou committed four more turnovers as Iolani went on an 8-0 run. Running its series of motion and screens, the Raiders meticulously picked apart Punahou's defense. Kang blew past Ostrowski for an easy baseline layup, and Nip scored on a follow shot, and then a layup off a feed from Kawika Shoji.

Iolani led 33-15 with 3:50 left in the third.

Fullerton Union 47, University 32

Brett Hoerner and Grant Meyer get the headlines, but David Allen came up with big plays to trigger a key second-half run by the Indians against the Junior Rainbows in the third-place game.

Fullerton Union won this event in 2002.

University was within 30-27 after A.J. Clark sank a trey from the left corner with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter.

After that, Fullerton Union took command against University's man-to-man defense. Allen scored seven points in a row, including a 3-pointer and a coast-to-coast layup, as the Indians went on a 15-3 run.

The run came with Hoerner, a 6-foot-11 center, and then Meyer, a 6-6 forward, putting in time on the bench.

University struggled once Fullerton went to a 2-3 matchup zone midway through the third quarter. Meyer, who had four personal fouls, returned to the game with 3:37 left in the game. By then, the Indians had a 45-30 lead.

The Junior Rainbows went 4 minutes, 38 seconds without scoring. Mike Tenorio's acrobatic scoop shot in traffic ended the drought, but it was too late.

Tenorio, a senior guard, led University with 12 points. Center John Duro managed seven points, and leading scorer David Johnson finished with just three.

Mililani 47, Kalaheo 43

Ken Moses drilled a go-ahead 3-point shot with 2:07 left, capping a big comeback by the Trojans. Nick Rogers led the way with 12 points.

Mililani trailed by as many as 10 points, but Kalaheo turnovers helped turn the tide.

"We only made one of our seven free throws in the third quarter," Kalaheo coach Chico Furtado said. "We didn't handle their high screens well."

Moses, cold from long range all night, hit an open trey from the left corner for a 44-43 lead.

The Mustangs struggled to get an open shot, and Ryan Shular sank two free throws to extend Mililani's lead to 46-43 with 19 seconds left. Kahua Hollinger missed a tough 3-point try from the left corner with 4 seconds left. Moses sank a foul shot with 2 seconds remaining to ice the game.

Tate Brown led Kalaheo with 12 points. David Moore added seven. The defending Oahu Interscholastic Association champions have progressed since the start of preseason despite having just two returnees.

"We played better today. We have to accept improvement when we get it," Furtado said.

Baldwin 58, Kealakehe 36

Cody Nakamura powered his way for 20 points and Matt Heyd added 10 as the Bears wiped out the Waveriders. Baldwin, ranked No. 5 in the Star-Bulletin Top 10, improved to 8-2.

Ioane Spencer led Kealakehe (5-5) with 13 points.

Kailua 39, Radford 37

Kainoa LaCount pumped in 17 points to lead the Surfriders over the Rams.

Kailua blew an eight-point lead as Radford went ahead 37-34 late in the game. Kailua guard Tyler Harrison came up with three steals in the final 3 minutes, including one that led to a reverse layup. That gave the Surfriders a 38-37 lead with 1:28 remaining.

Harrison added a free throw with 14 seconds left for a two-point advantage. Radford guard Mike Davis missed a 29-foot shot at the buzzer. The ninth-ranked Rams dropped to 6-5.

Leilehua 45, Damien 36

Anthony Palomares scored nine of his 16 points in the final quarter as the improving Mules dethroned the Monarchs. Edward Garcia added 11 points, while B.J. Fruean scored seven. John Gory led the Mules on the boards with six caroms.

Leilehua stayed in a 2-3 zone for much of the second half, even after the Monarchs hit a couple of 3-pointers. Devin Shiroma scored nine points and Kealoha Pilares added eight for Damien.

Moanalua 41, Farrington 34

Wayne West scored 10 points to lead the Menehunes over the Governors.

Nathan Serdenia tallied 14 points for Farrington, which trailed 29-18 at halftime and rallied to within four before losing steam.

Kaiser 56, Punahou II 33

Adam Aila pumped in 17 points as the Cougars overwhelmed the Division II Buffanblu. Matt Ching scored 12 points on a sore ankle, and Jeff Peters added 11.

Kurt Yoshino paced Punahou with eight points.

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