HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Woods and Chung spark Aiea to title
Na Alii of Aiea have made the most of their second chance.
Aiea, once eliminated from the playoffs until a forfeit changed its fortunes, outlasted McKinley 68-59 last night to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association White Conference championship.
Obie Woods led Aiea (13-1) with 21 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field. Josh Chung added 19 points, including 15 in the second half. The two Alii each drilled three treys while point guard James Buchanan (seven points, seven assists and five rebounds) anchored Aiea's backcourt.
A raucous crowd at McKinley Student Council Gym saw Aiea win its first OIA boys basketball crown in school history in the first year of Division II play statewide. With last night's win, Aiea (21-4 overall) earned an opening-round bye at the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA State Championships, which begin Tuesday.
Nainoa Lessary, who sparked McKinley's furious second-half rally, led the Tigers with 24 points. Earvin Sione amassed 14 rebounds and six blocked shots to power McKinley (9-6) under the boards. Jonathon Lee added 11 points.
"McKinley came to fight, and they played hard," Aiea coach Wyatt Tau said. "Congratulations to them on a great season."
The Tigers, who upset East No. 1 seed Kaiser en route to the final, had a strong second half.
"The kids played as hard as they could. Aiea was just too quick," Tigers coach Bob Morikuni said. "We could've cut it to three, but we missed some shots under the basket and they answered every time."
McKinley shot 55 percent (21-for-38), but committed 20 of its 22 turnovers in the first half.
"We made our adjustments (at halftime). We needed to go into the post more, and we adjusted our motion offense," Morikuni said.
Aiea topped McKinley during regular-season play, 69-64, but kept its focus simple.
"We worked on what we do best," Tau said of his team's preparation. "We weren't gonna change nothing. I wasn't worried."
Na Alii endured a week of stress to reach the title game. A narrow loss to Thompson in the quarterfinals was marred by separate post-game incidents involving fans and players. Then, Thompson forfeited the win due to an ineligible player.
Aiea responded with a win over Farrington in the semifinals. Now, Na Alii have an opportunity to go further than their 1993 squad. That team reached the state finals before losing to Kaimuki.
This time around, Aiea can count its blessings. Though Na Alii led McKinley from the start, they could not shake off the persistent Tigers.
At McKinley H.S. gym
McKinley-- Oliver Diguc 5, Tilton Kaluna 5, Earvin Sione 8, Nainoa Lessary 24, Rey Vincent Enanoria 3, Jonathon Lee 11, Isaac Iuta 2, Julius Borje 1.
Aiea -- Lofa Liilii 4, Kory Naeole 0, Spencer Rogers 0, Jordan Sakamoto 0, Ryan Mora 4, Jarred McKee 7, Josh Chung 19, Eric James 2, James Buchanan 7, Aldodius Colquitt 2, Obie Woods 21, Latupou Faumuina 0, Falealii Tausaga 0, Lawrence Lagafuina 0, Zack Hannemann 2.
3-point goals -- McKinley 1 (Kaluna), Aiea 7 (Chung 3, Woods 3, McKee)