Crusaders hang on to edge host Buffanblu


POSTED: Friday, February 20, 2009

Punahou guard Dalton Hilliard missed two free throws with 1.9 seconds remaining, and the Buffanblu fell to visiting Saint Louis 45-44 last night before a raucous crowd at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.

With less than 30 seconds to play in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu battle, the Buffanblu had an opportunity to hold the ball and force the Crusaders to foul while clinging to a 44-43 lead, but guard Robby Toma was whistled for traveling with 19.8 seconds left in the game. Micah McClinton took full advantage of the opportunity, and put Saint Louis ahead for good on a two-point jumper with 10 seconds to play.

Hilliard took the ensuing inbounds pass coast-to-coast, and while he attempted a game-winning lay-up, Crusader forward Dean Viena was called for a blocking foul in the low post that sent the shifty guard to the charity stripe. But after Hilliard missed the first free throw, his second attempt clanked off the front of the rim, and the Crusaders ran out the remaining time for the victory.

“;Our kids have played really hard all year,”; said Saint Louis first-year head coach Dwight Moniz. “;They never give up, they play right to the last second, and they proved that good things can happen. Our kids wanted this, and once in a while we get blessed with a little break at the end, and we were able to take advantage tonight.”;

McClinton paced the Crusaders with 15 points, while Viena chipped in 12. The win allowed Saint Louis, ranked No. 7 in the Star-Bulletin Boys Basketball Top 10, to take sole possession of third place in the ILH race with a 7-4 record, while No. 4 Punahou dropped to 5-6 in league play.

“;It was a tough game, up and down all the way, and they're a good team,”; said Punahou coach Dan Hale. “;We had a chance to make a play, they did and we didn't, and that's what it came down to.”;

The Buffanblu controlled the pace early on, and used a motion offense to circulate the ball. Toma found openings on the perimeter, and notched eight of his 11 first-half points in the opening period. Punahou held a 16-11 lead at the conclusion of the first quarter, as Joshua Taylor drained a fade-away jumper with 5 seconds to go.

But the Crusaders battled back, and eventually tied the game with 2 minutes, 10 seconds to play in the first half thanks in part to Lucas Gonsalves' game-tying 3-pointer. Punahou regained the lead on two Kimo Makaula layups, and took a 27-25 advantage at halftime.

Two buckets from McClinton to begin the third quarter gave Saint Louis its first lead of the game, and it would prove to be the Crusaders' only advantage in the contest other than the final margin of victory.

Toma led Punahou with 15 points, and sank a game-high four 3-pointers, while guard Taylor Crabb added nine points in defeat.

With a roster laden with four NCAA Division I football prospects, all of whom are still getting into basketball shape, the Buffanblu haven't reached their full potential.

“;Yesterday was the first day we had everybody at practice all year, so we're really encouraged,”; Hale said.


Saint Louis (7-4)  111471345
Punahou (5-6) 161110744

SAINT LOUIS—Lucas Gonsalves 4, Marcus Umu 2, Joey Bryant 0, Micah McClinton 15, Dean Viena 12, Mika Wong 3, Michael Tuiloma 9, Moses Samia 0.

PUNAHOU—Robby Toma 15, Shane Yoshiyama 2, Taylor Crabb 9, Dalton Hilliard 1, Casey Shibuya 0, Matthew Feldman 2, Kimo Makaula 8, Manti Te'o 1, Malik Johnson 2, Kai Gaddis 0, Joshua Taylor 4, DeForest Buckner 0.

3-point goals—Saint Louis 3 (Gonsalves, Viena, Wong), Punahou 4 (Toma 4).

Division II
Varsity boys
Saint Louis 53, Lanakila Baptist 42
Kamehameha 62, Word of Life 39
'Iolani 49, Island Pacific Academy 45
Hawaiian Mission Academy 74, Assets 47
Le Jardin 65, Hanalani 57

Leading scorers—StL: Frias 16. LB: Chase Hazelwood 18. KS: Kawaipuna Makuakane 12. WOL: Brad Foster 8. Iol: Matthew Talavera 12. IPA: Theo Duplechain 21. HMA: Grant Kono 22. Asst: George Cambra 17. LeJ: J. Whitty 28. Han: P.J. Minaya 18.

Varsity girls
Hanalani 63, St. Francis 62, OT

Leading scorers—Han: S. Hyde 28. StF: Kristen Enomoto 14.

Late Wednesday
Hanalani 38, Word of Life 30

Leading scorers—Han: Rachel Matalau 18. WOL: Rayane Alvarado 10.