STATE DIVISION II BOYS VOLLEYBALL
Top-seeded Hawaii Baptist Academy keeps the championship trophy on Oahu
They crashed the Big Island party ... in a big way.
Hana def. Nanakuli, 2-0
Waimea def. Honokaa, 2-1
Pahoa def. Hawaii Prep, 2-0
Hawaii Baptist def. Hilo, 2-0
Top-seeded Hawaii Baptist, the only non-Big Island Interscholastic Federation team among the New City Nissan/HHSAA Division II boys volleyball final four, kept the trophy on Oahu last night.
Led by tournament MVP Brandon Kaneshiro's 11 kills , the Eagles (13-4) needed only 36 minutes to sweep second-seeded Hilo 25-13, 25-16 in front of an estimated 300 at Radford's James Alegre Gym. The victory made it a sweep of the Division II titles for the Interscholastic League of Honolulu school; in November, the HBA girls also won the championship.
"That was some motivation for us and a bonus," Kaneshiro said of doubling up on titles for the school year. "But tonight was just the culmination of a lot of hard work all season long.
"We knew we couldn't let up, especially in Game 2. Coach (Teoni Obrey) told us to expect them to come back hard and be ready."
Unlike some of the previous matches where HBA had a letdown, the Eagles pushed back hard when the Vikings challenged. The biggest threat came in Game 2 when Hilo (11-5) shook off its youth and inexperience to put together an offense that got the Vikings the BIIF tournament crown and into last night's title match.
After spotting HBA a 12-4 lead in Game 2, Hilo rallied to within 14-11, scoring four unanswered points on the serves of Siaki Moana Faleta. The Eagles slowly pulled away to 18-13, the last point coming on an ace by Kyle Barretta, the team's fourth.
Faleta's team-leading fourth kill brought the Vikings to within 20-16. But the Eagles could taste victory in the humid air and scored the final five points, ending it on West Hatae's kill.
Ryan Leung had nine kills with no errors in 11 swings for HBA and libero Devin Pang was money, with seven digs and 14 serve-receives without an error.
"The guys stayed mentally focused and played within themselves," Obrey said. "We were concerned because Hilo is a very up-tempo team and we've struggled with that. But they didn't let down, cut down the unforced errors and we played our game.
"Matthew (Lui) set a nice match, was able to diversify. I'm just so happy for our kids."
Two years ago, HBA was the top seed but faltered in the quarterfinal. Last year, because of its record, the Eagles went back up to Division I. Classification has HBA in Division II for the time being.
For the Vikings, it was all about the journey. Hilo lost four starters during the past few weeks for various reasons, but coach Vetoann Budgie Baker had the young team ready for a title run that fell short.
"They're really young and some of them got called up from JV to fill spots," she said of her roster of eight juniors, two sophomores and two freshmen. "Some of our mistakes tonight were young mistakes. Most of them have never been here (to the state tournament) before. It's a learning experience.
"They'll learn from this and hopefully we'll be back. It was good experience to build on."