HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Mid-Pacific falls to Benson Tech
After 11 lead changes, five ties and no more than an eight-point advantage for either team, the Mid-Pacific Owls eventually lost 58-52 to the visiting Benson Polytechnic Techmen from Portland, Ore., during the opener of the Punahou Basketball Tournament yesterday.
"It's a good loss we can learn from," said the Owls' Marcus Holyfield, who scored a team-high 15 points. "We were right there at the end of the game. We've got to be stronger on the mental part."
The Owls gained a one-point advantage with a little more than 3 minutes to go in the game, but turned the ball over on three crucial, subsequent possessions and the Techmen made them pay for it by converting their opportunities.
Guard Ameer Shamsud Din hit a short banker to put Benson ahead with less than 3 minutes to go in the game and teammate Jamar Johnson hit three free throws down the stretch to secure the lead. Johnson and Din finished with 25 and 16 points, respectively.
"No. 11 (Din) hit some key shots in the fourth quarter, and a couple of shots didn't fall for us," Mid-Pacific coach Kevin O'Connell said.
Following a steal and an uncontested breakaway layup by the Owls' Devon Takenaka to pull his team within two points, a double-team on the Owls' leading scorer, Holyfield, gave Takenaka a chance to tie the score at 54 with less than a minute left. However, his layup in traffic rolled in and out of the basket before the Techmen snatched the rebound.
Defensive pressure by Mid-Pac on the outlet pass forced Benson to almost throw the ball away, but quick thinking by a Benson Tech player saved the possession by throwing the ball off Holyfield's legs as he was falling out of bounds.
Takenaka and Sampson Won finished with 10 points apiece.
The Owls' Kellar Ellsworth came up with two of his game-high four steals in the opening minutes of the second half, which sparked a 9-2 run to give his team a lead not enjoyed since the beginning of the game.
"Our comeback was defense-generated," O'Connell said. "We pressured, played tough man-to-man and rotated well to help out on the traps."
The Owls, who only had eight players suited up, are off to a 7-2 preseason start and will face Punahou II today at 4:30 p.m.
Mid-Pacific freshman Andrew Swanson is vacationing with his family and will not play in the tournament. Guard Brad Wu suffered a season-ending injury when he tore his ACL in the second game of the year.
Punahou 90, Thompson Academy 39
Punahou's blowout victory over the Division II Sharks makes the Buffanblu the only local team advancing to the tournament's semifinals today.
Punahou's Miah Ostrowski registered a game-high 20 points. Thompson's Tristian Sealy, who played for Campbell last year, scored a team-high 15.
Villa Park 65, Punahou II 46
A balanced team effort by the Buffanblu, who had 13 of their 14 players scoring, was not enough to overcome the visiting Spartans from California.
St. Mary's 69, Word of Life 38
Aaron Tipoti scored a game-high 16 points in the Firebands' loss to the Gaels from New York.