HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Mililani's Curtis Murakami drove under Radford's So'oso'o Taulelei last night at McKinley.
Mililani rallies past Radford
Curtis Murakami scored nine points during a pivotal 15-0 run midway through the second half as No. 5 Mililani rallied past upset-minded Radford 70-52 last night at Jim Alegre Gymnasium.
The Trojans, now 10-0 in Oahu Interscholastic Association Red West play, secured a key win in a hostile environment. Mililani (19-5 overall) is on track to seal a first-round bye in the playoffs.
"They stepped up. They were men," coach Hiram Akina said. "They showed a lot of patience, and they played great team defense."
Radford, which lost at Mililani in double overtime two weeks ago, slipped to 7-3 in league play. The Rams again had Mililani on the ropes.
"We lost our composure," said Radford coach Kai Enos, who tried to halt Mililani's run by calling two timeouts. "They made a good run. We didn't know whether to take away the outside or the inside."
Mililani trailed 47-37 after Radford guard So'oso'o Taulelei hit a foul shot with 1:56 left. Up to that point, the game looked like a how-to clinic on dismantling Mililani's normally troublesome 1-3-1 zone defense.
Murakami, a whirling dervish who pushes the ball upcourt on every touch, hit a 3-pointer, a foul shot and a tough layup in traffic to spark the Trojans comeback. A technical foul on Radford's Justin Lord after Murakami drove and drew a personal foul made life easier for Mililani.
Murakami hit three of the four free-throw tries to give the Trojans a 50-47 lead. Brandon Dela Cruz then scored on a low-post move to give them a 52-47 lead with 6:54 remaining.
Radford never led again.
"Psychologically, I think (the technical foul) really affected them. You don't want them to drop their heads," Akina said. "(Lord) is a competitor. He plays so hard. I'd love to have a few kids like him."
Matt Hoover's 3-pointer cut the lead to three on the ensuing possession, but Mililani continued to roll. With two more low-post buckets by Dela Cruz, the Trojans went on a 9-0 blitz to take a commanding 61-50 lead with 3:17 left.
With 1:04 left and Mililani still ahead by 11, both teams emptied their benches.
Dela Cruz, a 6-foot-2, 255-pound senior, led Mililani with 19 points and 10 rebounds. He shot 8-for-10 from the field thanks to a consistent stream of entry passes from Jordan Torres, Jonathan Keen and Scott Burns. Torres had five assists.
Murakami finished with 15 points and Kendrick Clarke added nine points and six boards.
The comeback, practically a Mililani norm now, was a matter of tempo.
"We still played the same. Coach told us to work the offense, swing the ball," Murakami said of Hiram Akina's direction. "Get it to the big man."
Dela Cruz took Akina's advice to the hardwood.
"Coach said, 'Don't rush, take your time and go up strong.' (Radford) was talking trash, so I tried to ignore it," said Dela Cruz, who was whistled for a technical foul in the opening quarter during a loose-ball tussle on the floor.
It was Radford, however, that could have maintained some momentum by staying composed.
Gary Satterwhite, who sat out the latter part of the final quarter, scored 14 first-half points as Radford bolted to a 32-27 lead. The fast tempo seemed to favor the Rams, who crashed the boards and outrebounded Mililani 24-15 before halftime.
"I didn't worry about him. He was shooting a lot of jumpers. I knew he'd wear out," Akina said. The 6-3 senior made four of his first five shots, but was 1-for-9 in the final three quarters.
Hoover finished with 11 points and Taulelei had eight points and seven boards for Radford, while Antonio Williams had a team-high eight rebounds. The Rams shot 33 percent from the field (19-for-57) and 50 percent from the foul line (9-for-18).
After being outrebounded in the first half, Mililani dominated the glass and finished with a 33-30 edge in rebounding. The Trojans shot 57 percent from the field (27-for-47), but just 52 percent from the line (13-for-25).
At James Alegre Gym
MILILANI--Devon Castellano 2, Scott Burns 2, Jordan Torres 0, Curtis Murakami 15, Kendrick Clarke 9, Fred Nillo 2, Donovan Olmos 5, Nick Kanno 3, Rustin Funakoshi 0, Warren Duke 4, David Otte 3, Brandon Dela Cruz 19, Jonathan Keen 6.
RADFORD--Andre Brown 0, Jonathan Combis 0, Travis Daniels 0, Joash Pangalinan 0, Justin Lord 6, Mario De Los Santos-Gonzalez 0, Stevie Williams 0, Matthew Hoover 11, Jared Brown 0, Matt Alofaituli 7, So'oso'o Taulelei 8, Gary Satterwhite 14, Antonio Williams 6.
3-point goals--Mililani 3 (Murakami 2, Clarke), Radford 5 (Hoover 3, Taulelei, Satterwhite).
Junior varsity -- Mililani 66, Radford 51.
Waianae 55, Leilehua 40
Bryson Kekahuna scored a game-high 15 points as the Seariders routed the Mules, clinching the final berth in the OIA playoffs.
Art Laurel paced Leilehua with 12 points.
At Waianae H.S. gym
LEILEHUA--Dustin Pau'u 5, Kolwin Dixon 8, Tavana Alailima 0, Jodee Taua 0, Corey Morgan 3, Josh Brooks 9, Art Laurel 12, Afe Talaeai 3, Kekoa Kama 0.
WAIANAE--Bryson Kekahuna 15, Kapena Bungo 5, Ed-Recco Eli 0, Jeremy Green 2, James Pond II 2, Kaipo Punihaole 0, Ramsey Beers 12, Jamerson Smith 6, Jesse Lafua 1, Jarred Burns 10, Austin Cunningham 2.
3-point goals -- Leilehua 4 (Laurel, Brooks, Morgan, Pau'u), Waianae 4 (Beers 2, Kekahuna 2).
Junior varsity -- Waianae 42, Leilehua 36
Kapolei 44, Pearl City 38
DJ Dubois, Nate Dixon and Mason Koa each scored 13 points to lead the Hurricanes over the Chargers for their first conference victory of the season.
Kellen Oshiro led Pearl City with 8 points.
At Pearl City H.S. gym
|Pearl City (1-10)
KAPOLEI--DJ Dubois 13, Kaleo Cajigal 0, Josh Hose 0, Landon Soriano 0, Nate Dixon 13, Jordan Ferreira 2, Lawrence Olive 2, Mason Koa 13, Deonte Moore 0, Justin Cossey 1, Kamuela Foki 0.
PEARL CITY--Kellen Oshiro 8, Skye Kaapuni 4, John Giran 0, Troy Antoque 4, Lawrence Acasia 2, Ryne Calbero 5, Allan Agni 4, Scott Braceras 2, Karlo Rarangol 3, Micha Choy 3, Kawika Borden 3.
3-point goals -- Kapolei 3 (Koa 2, Dubois), Pearl City 2 (Oshiro 2).
Junior varsity -- Kapolei 48, Pearl City 40