BOYS DIVISION II BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
Govs pull out a miracle
They could almost walk on water, these miracle Govs.
A desperation 3-pointer by Christian Hernandez forced overtime, and a clutch layup by Jordan Ibana with 10 seconds left gave Farrington a stunning 70-68 win over top-seeded Aiea in the final of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball Division II State Championships at Blaisdell Arena.
It was a miraculous finish for the Governors (23-6 overall), who had a struggling program when Allan Silva took the helm four years ago.
"I'm walking on air right now. I'm really happy for my guys," said Silva, who remembered a promise he made to himself. "I said in three years, we'll be competitive, and by the fourth or fifth year, we'll win a state championship."
Oscar Carter (nine rebounds) was clutch for the Govs with nine of his 11 points in the final quarter before fouling out. Hernandez scored 18 of his game-high 27 points in the final quarter and overtime to lift the Governors, who had lost twice to nemesis Aiea in Oahu Interscholastic Association play. His 22-foot bomb off the dribble hit all net at the horn, ending regulation play with the game tied at 55.
"I told myself, the buzzer's gonna ring pretty soon," said the 5-foot-5 senior, whose shot over two Aiea defenders hit nothing but net.
"I was surprised," he said.
Eight lead changes in overtime kept the raucous crowd on the edge of their seats. "Coach said to drive and if we get fouled, we'll get free throws," Ibana said.
He did even better. Ibana came up with a drive and a hanging left-handed layup to give Farrington the lead for good, 70-68, with 10 seconds to go.
Aiea inbounded and got the ball upcourt quickly. Josh Chung, who finished with 17 points, passed from midcourt to the baseline, where Daniel Liilii was open. Liilii got stuck with a bad angle behind the backboard, however, and his 10-footer glanced off the side of the glass. Chung and Obie Woods tried desperately to regain control of the ball, and Woods' one-handed prayer from 20 feet was off the mark as time expired.
Woods finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting, including four treys. Aldodius Colquitt added 11 rebounds for Aiea (25-5 overall), which lost for the first time since nonconference play in December.
It was a heart-breaking finish for Na Alii, a team of mostly 6-foot and under players. "These guys were overachievers. They did as much as they could," coach Wyatt Tau said. "This loss was a killer, but give Farrington credit. They made the shots. That's basketball."
Aiea led by seven early on, but Farrington dug deep and turned it into a defensive battle for three quarters. One of the pivotal moments came with 4:33 seconds left in regulation when point Aiea guard James Buchanan was called for a blocking foul, and his reaction -- yanking out his jersey -- led to a technical foul. Buchanan got his fifth foul, and Aiea lost its point guard with a 41-40 lead.
Still, Aiea opened the lead to 46-41 on a turnaround jumper by Zack Hannemann, only to see Farrington rally.
"We had a lot of ups and downs. We tried to tweak some things and set picks for each other," Woods said. "If you play a team three times, it's tough to win them all. They deserve it."
Farrington: Jordan Ibana 8, Christian Hernandez 27, Oscar Carter 11, Steven Kamano 9, Bryson Tatupu-Leopoldo 7, Dio Labayog 1, Dayton Kealoha 3, Michael Carter 4, Joshua Wallace 0, Ephraim Vita 0, Andre Pettis 0.
Aiea: Josh Chung 17, Daniell Liilii 2, James Buchanan 9, Aldodius Colquitt 4, Obie Woods 26, Kory Naeole 6, Keenan Naeole 0, Jarred McKee 0, Jarret Vea 0, David Seva'aetesi 0, Zack Hannemann 4.
3-point goals: Farrington 3 (Hernandez 2, Kealoha), Aiea 6 (Woods 4, Chung, Ko. Naeole).
McKinley 41, Hawaii Baptist 38
Kohala 63, Kaiser 59