HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Punahou boys volleyball team hoisted its trophy high after winning the Division I state championship last night.
The Buffanblu sweep past the Warriors to win their 27th state crown in the sport
The Kamehameha-Hawaii Warriors gambled, but Punahou was simply destined to hit 21.
Consolation championship: Pearl City def. Leilehua 25-21, 25-18
Fifth place: Waiakea def. Kamehameha 26-24, 26-24
Third place: Roosevelt def. Kalaheo 25-15, 22-25, 27-25
Championship: Punahou def. Kamehameha-Hawaii 25-14, 25-20
Riding 15 kills by Spencer McLachlin, top-seeded Punahou capped a perfect 21-0 season with a 25-14, 25-20 sweep of the Warriors in the Division I final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.
A boisterous crowd of 2,716 at Stan Sheriff Center saw Punahou capture its third consecutive state crown under coach Peter Balding. The Buffanblu now have 27 boys state championships in the 34 years of the tournament's existence.
"They had a flawless game on that side, almost flawless," Warriors coach Guy Enriques said.
Kamehameha-Hawaii (16-3) threw everything it had at the Punahou attack. The Warriors tried to double-block the 6-foot-7 McLachlin, and later tried to double the middle. Punahou's passing was crisp, and setter Riley McKibbin found open teammates all night long to finish with 22 assists.
"You have to take some chances against Punahou. They just have so much firepower," Enriques said. "Jeez, (McLachlin) went over our block, so what can you do?"
Kamehameha-Hawaii's block includes 6-4 and 6-3 defenders.
"He even had a line shot over (Chandler) Kaaa," Enriques added. "Every time he came around from the left, we couldn't track him. They pass so well, it didn't make a difference."
Punahou came up with 30 digs, including nine by McLachlin, seven by McKibbin, six by Erik Shoji and five by Maddison McKibbin. Kamehameha-Hawaii managed to hit .203 against a Buffanblu block anchored by McLachlin and Max Halvorson.
Halvorson finished with six kills (.500), as did Shoji.
Kaaa and Andrew Love paced KS-Hawaii with five kills each. Kaaa also hustled for nine digs and dished out eight assists. Kuaka Kuamoo also had eight assists.
The show stopper was McLachlin, who enjoyed the smooth sets of McKibbin.
"I felt it before the game. It was my last one, and I didn't want to go out less than 100 percent," said McLachlin, who recently signed a letter of intent to play for Stanford.
GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Tourney Most Outstanding Player Spencer McLachlin led Punahou with 15 kills in last night's Division I final.
"(KS-Hawaii) had a great game plan. They knew all my shots. Coach Guy has them well trained. They're one of the best teams we've faced skill-wise," McLachlin added.
McKibbin had waited for a chance to see McLachlin pound away at a defense, particularly after a quarterfinal win over Waiakea. Last night, the Buffanblu ran a number of complex plays for McLachlin once Kamehameha-Hawaii adjusted.
"We knew they were going to do that. We saw them do that against Waiakea," Balding said. "If I were in their shoes, I'd do the same thing. We spent the season moving Spencer around."
The Warriors were resilient in Game 1, but had no answer for McLachlin. KS-Hawaii pulled within 13-12 on a kill by middle blocker Scott Hamilton, but Punahou went on a tear. Halvorson had a kill and a roof, and McLachlin drilled an ace and a back-row kill as the Buffanblu surged to an 18-12 lead.
Kamehameha-Hawaii called timeout and got a kill from Joshua Walters, but Punahou caught fire again. McLachlin's dink shot from the back row sparked a run of six consecutive points by the Buffanblu, and they closed out Game 1 easily.
Punahou, with just two hitting errors, hit a red-hot .410 in Game 1. McLachlin had seven kills (.583) in the opening set. The Warriors hit .154 in Game 1.
The Warriors were tough again to start the next set and tied it up four times. The last one came on Kealoha Kramer's kill over the middle to make it 18-all. However, Kramer's ensuing serve hit the net, and Riley McKibbin roofed Love on consecutive plays. After McLachlin pounded another kill, Punahou was up 22-18 and was never threatened again.
Halvorson put the game and match away with an uncontested kill down the middle.
"Punahou played an awesome game. Spencer was awesome," Love said. "We made too many errors. We were too nervous, I guess."
Balding saw a unique growth and development in a season of perfection.
"Spencer and Riley had to learn to be leaders this year. The group they were in (before) was extremely competitive and talented," he said. "I think they did pretty good. That part was special for me."