HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Point guard Brandon Madamba was key to Kaimuki's efforts to break Punahou's pressure defense.
’Dogs in good hands with Madamba
This time, the Bulldogs knew what to expect.
A year after a disappointing loss to Iolani in the state-title game in which the Bulldogs were dominated from the outset, Kaimuki showed the importance of having that championship-game experience.
Despite plenty of adversity, the Bulldogs stayed calm and collected down the stretch to claim the school's second boys basketball state title with a 61-53 victory over top-seeded Punahou.
This year's squad featured most of the same players as last year's team, and once again they were led by the duo of Keone Reyes and Beau Albrechtson, who combined for 37 of the team's 63 points. But it was the maturity of 5-foot-7 senior point guard Brandon Madamba in handling Punahou's half-court pressure defense that really made the difference.
"He was erratic at times this year, but I told him before the game that we had confidence in him and were going to sink or swim with him," Kaimuki coach Kelly Grant said.
Madamba played 32 minutes and committed just four turnovers while dishing out three assists.
"Last year I was kicked off the team and in order to come back, I knew I had to work harder and show coach (Grant) that I wanted to play," Madamba said. "(Grant) did a great job of preparing us and telling us exactly what to do so we were ready for everything they did."
Last year, the Bulldogs were almost lucky to get the ball past halfcourt against Iolani's press, but with Madamba and fellow guard Daniel Colon handling the ball, they were able to beat Punahou's halfcourt zone press for more than a few easy layups.
Kaimuki also had to deal with the loss of Reyes for a significant portion of the game due to foul trouble. Reyes picked up his third foul on a questionable charging call with 2 minutes left in the first half, forcing him to the bench until the 2:51 mark of the third quarter. Despite the loss of their leading scorer, the Bulldogs still managed to outscore the Buffanblu 10-7.
"Sometimes you see the other team's star player go out and you think you can score at will," Grant said. "They took some quick shots and I just made sure to put my biggest guys in there to grab all the rebounds."
Reyes returned to the game for exactly 2 minutes before picking up his fourth foul on a reach-in that sent him back to the bench until midway through the fourth quarter.
Little-used reserve freshman Desmond Tautofi was one of those bigs that filled in with six huge points and kept Punahou center Spencer McLachlin from dominating the paint as the Bulldogs increased their lead by seven points with Reyes out.
"I was going crazy," Tautofi said. "I was like, 'Whoa this is the championship game and I'm getting in there.' It was confusing."