JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Salesian's Kendell McCree grabbed a rebound against Kamehameha's Pono Hanson during the first half yesterday.
Chiefs win date with host at Punahou Holiday Classic
Salesian defeats Kamehameha 51-38 to reach tonight's tournament championship game
Salesian will face Punahou I tonight in the Punahou Holiday Classic's championship game at 7:30 p.m.
The small Catholic school team from Richmond, Calif., defeated Kamehameha 51-38 last night to advance to the final.
The Chiefs used their superior size and athleticism to jump out to a 12-0 lead before Kamehameha's Kanoa Mokiao broke the Warriors' scoring drought with 1:24 left in the first quarter.
"We've had a couple of slow starts and it is something that we need to remedy," Warriors head coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "We had the opportunities, but we just missed a lot of shots -- we need to knock more of those down."
Mokiao's jumper from the left elbow sparked a 3-minute 10-3 Kamehameha run to close the deficit to five points, 15-10. However, Salesian countered the Warrior attack by finishing the first half with a 13-6 run of its own.
Despite missing their leading scorer, Kendell McCree, for the entire second quarter due to foul trouble, the Chiefs enjoyed a 28-16 lead heading into the locker room.
The senior forward, who is averaging 19 points in the tournament, finished the game with 13 points and picked up his second foul with 34 seconds left in the first quarter.
"Everyone contributed to this victory," Chiefs head coach Bill Mellis said. "We executed our offense and played a good halfcourt man defense."
Although the two teams traded baskets throughout the second half, the Chiefs maintained their double-digit lead. Kamehameha pulled within 10
points, 32-22, when Mokiao scored two of his 12 points at the third quarter's 3-minute mark. However, Chiefs point guard Drew Gipson, who led all scorers with 14 points, answered with a basket of his own on the ensuing play.
David Singleton chipped in 12 points for Salesian.
The Chiefs have enjoyed much success in their first Hawaii tournament, winning all three of their games by double-digit margins.
"We've wanted to come here for a while," Mellis said. "One of our assistant coaches (Russell Ware) is from Hawaii."
Ware, a 1974 Roosevelt grad, played guard for the University of Hawaii in the mid-1970s.
Punahou 1 52, Mercer Island 41
Miah Ostrowski and Spencer McLachlin tossed in 13 points apiece as the Buffanblu topped the Islanders to reach tonight's finale against Salesian.
Danny Cho added nine points for the host team, which led 29-13 at the half.
Kael Kristof led Mercer Island (Wash.) with 15 points, and Trevor Fulp added 10.
Baldwin 37, Mililani 29
The Bears squeezed out a victory over the Trojans despite missing high-scorer Matt Heyd (averaging 19 points in the tournament), who re-injured his ankle with a few seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of their loss (51-44) to Kamehameha Wednesday night.
Sophomore center Jordan Helle picked up the slack to lead the Maui team with 11 points.
Mililani's Ken Moses was perfect from the free-throw line (6-for-6) and paced his team with 14 points.
Kamehameha-Hawaii 49, Moanalua 46
Mea Wong sank a pair of free throws for a 47-46 lead with less than 2 minutes to play as the Warriors hung on for the win. Pono Kaleohano added a layup with 20 seconds left for the final margin of victory. Moanalua missed on a couple of 3-point tries down the stretch.
Mana Silva, one of KS-Hawaii's multi-sport standouts, led his team with 13 points. Reece Alnas hustled for 10 points. The Warriors made nine of 15 from the foul line (60 percent).
Wayne West, a 6-2 guard, led Moanalua with 18 points. The Menehunes attempted only 11 free throws and made six (55 percent).
Moanalua led for most of the way and opened a 10-point lead midway through the second half before succumbing to turnovers. KS-Hawaii outscored Moanalua 14-2 in the final quarter.
Kamehameha-Hawaii, which knocked off Kalaheo at a recent tournament, struggled mightily against host Punahou in the opener of the Classic. The Warriors have since won two games.
Kahuku 53, Campbell 51
Okesene Ale Jr. scored 23 points as the Red Raiders escaped with a win over the scrappy Sabers. Ale, a 6-foot-1 senior, made a pair of treys and hit five of his seven free-throw attempts. Devin Unga added 11 points for Kahuku, which was 8 of 15 from the foul line (53 percent).
Kevin Unga scored five points.
Tristan Sealy, a 6-3 junior, led Campbell with 15 points. Senior point guard Ryan Hayes added 15 points and 6-1 junior Matthew Samante tallied 12. The Sabers went 10-for-15 from the free-throw line.
Maryknoll 35, Damien 26
Senior forward Jordan Ho-Ching scored 11 points as the Spartans outlasted a familiar foe from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu. The defensive battle was in favor of Maryknoll, 18-16, going into the final quarter.
Tyler Tsukazaki, the Spartans leading scorer in nonconference play, returned to the lineup and scored six points. He missed Wednesday's game against Moanalua due to flu symptoms. Maryknoll shot 10 of 15 from the charity stripe.
Matt Gochenouer paced Damien with eight points. The Monarchs shot 10 of 14 from the foul line.
Farrington 53, Punahou II 50
Nathan Serdenia, a 5-8 senior, pumped in 17 points as the hardy Governors edged the Division II Buffanblu. Elijah Filifili, a 6-1 junior who quarterbacks the football team, added 13 points despite missing all five of his free-throw tries. Glenn Ernest, a 6-4 junior, chipped in with 12 points.
The Govs shot 41 percent from the foul line (9 of 22).
Riley McKibbin, a 6-2 junior who is also a standout setter for the Buffanblu's state championship volleyball team, led the hoopsters with 14 points. He made two of his team's four 3-point shots.
Matt Galarneau added 10 points, including a pair of treys. Punahou II shot 63 percent from the free-throw line (12 of 19).