HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL
Chico Furtado won't allow himself to think of it as a preview -- not yet, anyway.
His No. 6 Kalaheo Mustangs put on a blistering offensive display and dominated the backboards in dismantling previously unbeaten and third-ranked Kamehameha-Hawaii 61-46 in the quarterfinals of the second annual Merv Lopes Holiday Classic at King Armory last night.
Thanks to 62 percent shooting from the field and a 38-23 advantage on the glass, the Mustangs (9-3) led by as many as 23 points early in the fourth quarter and were never seriously threatened.
"I thought for the most part we played hard," Furtado said. "We coaches are very seldom totally satisfied," he added, pointing out his team's 17 turnovers to Kamehameha's 11.
Senior guard Cheynne Lishman led the way with 20 points on 9-for-14 shooting, while forward D.J. Chang added 10 points and five rebounds, all on the offensive end.
In a matchup between two of the final four teams in the HHSAA state tournament last year, the Warriors (8-1) were held to just 34 percent shooting, in large part to their 4-for-19 brick-laying barrage from 3-point range.
Point guard Kawika Cazimero led the Big Island Interscholastic Federation team from Keaau with 15 points, including three 3-pointers to dent the sizable deficit late.
When Kamehameha did decide to work the ball inside, it didn't fare much better. Warriors forward Hogan Rosehill, who leads the team with double-figure averages in points (17) and rebounds (10), was hampered by foul trouble all night. He finished with 13 points and four rebounds against the tough Mustang front line of Chang, Christian Kepa, and Alika Ka'anapu.
Kalaheo, meanwhile, spread around its offense and six players had five rebounds or more. Lishman notched three assists in helping get his teammates involved and gathered three steals in the open court.
"Kamehameha-Big Island, they're always a rival to us," Lishman said. "As of now, we're starting to gel more with each other. We're getting more balanced scoring, so you know a win like this against them is always good. They're going to be a good opponent in the states."
Kamehameha-Hawaii coach Nelson Wong acknowledged the Mustangs are the best opponent his team has faced this year. Kalaheo also knocked off his team for third place in the states last year.
"They have a combination of size and agility," Wong said. "They can shoot the ball outside, they can also get to the basket. We didn't stroke the ball well; their defense had a lot to do with that. We have a long way to go before we can talk about the state tournament and matchups and whatnot."
Things get much more difficult for Kalaheo, as well. While all four ranked Hawaii-based teams in the tournament played each other yesterday, the four remaining mainland teams squared off, leaving Hawaii-Mainland matchups in both semifinals. The Mustangs take on Maryland powerhouse Our Lady of Good Counsel today in the last semi at 8:30 p.m. The Falcons destroyed Kahuku and a good Thousand Oaks (Calif.) team to get there in the 16-team field.
"You come to a tournament like this, once you get to the upper bracket every game's going to be tough," Furtado said. "The whole point is to progress as you get toward the opening of the (regular) season. Tonight was a good start."
OTHER QUARTERFINAL GAMES
Our Lady (Md.) 63, Thousand Oaks (Calif.) 47
Jordan Clarke poured in 23 points on 8-for-13 shooting and the Falcons outscored the Lancers 32-18 in the second half in their win.
Bishop Gorman (Nev.) 62, Otay Ranch (Calif.) 50
Four Gaels scored in double figures and the Las Vegas team outscored the opponents 17-7 in the third quarter.
No. 1 Punahou 71, No. 10 Mililani 52
Kameron Steinhoff scored 24 points to lead the Buffanblu.
Aaron Lehanko had 17 for the Trojans.
Leilehua 44, Damien 29
Hoku Kama led all scorers with 19 points to lead the Mules over the Monarchs.
Hanford (Calif.) 67, Kamehameha-II 44
D.J. Jackson scored 18 points for the Bullpups in the win, while the Warriors' Kepoo Noa had a game-high 23.
Hilo 48, Kailua 37
The Vikings' Kelden Lee was the only player in double figures with 12 points.
Waiakea 60, Kahuku 53
Collin Cabatbat and Mitchel Shintani scored 16 points apiece to lead the Warriors over the Red Raiders.
The Raiders' Willie Ching posted a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds in the loss.