BOYS DIVISION I QUARTERFINALS
Konawaena hangs on for win
After 51 years, what's a few more heart-pounding minutes?
Second-seeded Konawaena reached the state tournament semifinals for the first time by beating Kamehameha last night at Radford's Jim Alegre Gymnasium, but not before having to sweat out an interminable final 3 minutes before hanging on for a 54-53 win.
Konawaena led 46-34 with 3:42 left, only to have the Warriors storm back to turn the game into a thriller. The Warriors were within four with 2 minutes left and drew to within a point with 4.3 seconds left before their rally ran out of time.
"My heart was beating -- it was scary, but I knew we could take it," said Konawaena forward Austonn Lazoff. "I knew we'd bring it through and our guys would play hard at the end. But I don't want it to be like that. That was too much."
Konawaena, the Big Island Interscholastic Federation champion, will make its first appearance in the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys DivisionI State Tournament final four tonight at Blaisdell Arena.
"As we started to get better at midseason, I stopped worrying about getting to states and I started thinking about how far we could go," second-year Konawaena coach Donny Awa said. "If we play our game, we can play with anybody."
The Wildcats took control in the first half, led by Darryl Milana's 14 points, and held on down the stretch as Lazoff scored nine of his game-high 17 points after the break.
Kamehameha had taken an arduous path just to reach last night's quarterfinal game. The Warriors worked their way through the Interscholastic League of Honolulu's third-place tournament, then had to win a play-in game just to earn a spot in the tournament. They edged Kahuku on Wednesday and nearly kept the run going with their late rally.
"We've been playing a lot of games, tough games for that matter, but I don't see that as an excuse," Kamehameha coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "We just didn't execute well, Konawaena made big shots and made less mistakes. I thought we created turnovers but it was too little, too late."
Punahou 56, Mililani 31
Robert Toma got the Buffanblu started.
The Buffanblu defense took over from there.
Toma scored nine points in the first 2:30 of last night's quarterfinal against Mililani and the Buffanblu held the Trojans to a total of six points in the second and third quarters en route to a 56-31 win at Jim Alegre Gymnasium.
"This whole season, Coach (Dan Hale) has told us defense was the key," Toma said. "He told us come out strong and keep that pressure up all game."
Punahou faces BIIF champion Konawaena in a semifinal game tonight at 8 p.m. at the Blaisdell Arena.
"They're a very good team," Hale said of the matchup with the Wildcats.
"They're very athletic, they play very tough pressure defense and they're disciplined on offense. That's going to be a really tough game."
Punahou forward Kameron Steinhoff, who finished with five points, was in foul trouble much of the night.
Toma led a balanced Punahou attack with 12 points. Manti Te'o finished with eight.