HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Tigers edge Govs to move into final
It wasn't pretty. But when it comes to playoff games, a win is a win.
Despite hitting just 11 of 27 free-throw attempts, McKinley found a way to defeat Farrington 33-29 last night in the semifinal round of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Division II Boys Basketball Championship tournament at Kaimuki High School.
The Tigers (12-6) move on to face Kohala tonight at the Stan Sheriff Center at 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on OC-16 and will precede the Division I championship contest.
"It was ugly," said a relieved McKinley head coach Bob Morikuni after the game. "We gotta work on our free throws. We were keeping them in the game, and it's hurting us. But fortunately we made enough stops on defense."
The squads -- both from the Oahu Interscholastic Association -- met twice in regular-season conference play with the Governors claiming victories both times.
"Coach (Allan) Silva and Farrington, they're a bunch of athletes and we were worried that if we were down late they would pull it out," Morikumi said. "Luckily our defense kept us in it, and we made enough free throws to seal it."
Points came at a premium in the first quarter, with the teams tied at 6-6 with less than 2 minutes to play. Farrington reserve guard Dio Labayog broke the stalemate with a nothing-but-net 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded, giving his team the 9-6 advantage.
The Tigers clawed back in the second quarter and tied the game at 13 on an Oliver Diguc free throw with 2:29 to go in the half. But guard Christian Hernandez took the ensuing inbound pass to his end of the court and answered right back with a trey for the Governors.
McKinley had an opportunity to tie the game as the clock wound down, but Tilton Kaluna's 3-point attempt bounced off the iron, allowing Farrington to hold onto its 16-13 lead at the break.
The teams traded buckets until the Governors took a 20-15 lead on a wide-open layup from Labayog, who had to leave the game with a head injury suffered when he collided with teammate Cody Hua after the play.
Farrington (12-6) extended its third-quarter lead to 23-17 on a 3-pointer from Elijah Filifili, and allowed McKinley to put up just four points, all by Nainoa Lessary.
McKinley looked flustered throughout the game and were not patient on offense -- the key to its two earlier tournament victories.
Still, the Tigers did not fade, and used a 10-3 run in the fourth period to take a 27-26 lead with 3:02 remaining in the game. Farrington took it right back with a Filifili layup which put the Governors up 28-27 with 1:52 to play.
An emotional Jonathan Lee took over for the Tigers and scored five of his game-high 13 points in the final 50 seconds of the game, giving McKinley the 32-29 lead.
With 15 seconds to go, Filifili saw his 3-point attempt to tie the game fall short. Earvin Sione then hit one of two free throws to seal the victory.
Christian Hernandez scored nine points for Farrington.
Tonight, McKinley will be gunning for its first basketball state championship in school history.
"We've just got to go out and do our thing. We can't be satisfied with just being here," Morikumi said.
At Kaimuki H.S. gym
MCKINLEY--Oliver Diguc 5, Tilton Kaluna 0, Bryce Ishikawa 0, Ryan Flordeliza 0, Jefferson Pou 0, Austin Yoon 0, Earvin Sione 5, Nainoa Lessary 8, Rey Vincent Enanoria 0, Jonathan Lee 13, Issac Iuta 2, Ian Paez 0, Travis Asing 0, Julius Borje 0, Marshall Miyasaka 0.
FARRINGTON--Jordan Ibana 0, Christian Hernandez 9, Dio Labayog 5, Oscar Carter 2, Steven Kamano 0, Bryson Leopoldo 0, Elijah Lesu 0, Ziggy Muramoto 0, Charles Rocha 0, Elijah Filifili 8, Joshua Wallace 0, Rey Bartiana 4, Glenn Ernest 1, Cody Hua 0.
3-point goals: McKinley 0, Farrington 2 (Hernandez, Filifili).