States closer for Punahou after rout of Saint Louis


POSTED: Friday, February 27, 2009

The bruises were well worth a shot at defending its state title.

Punahou survived the Interscholastic League of Honolulu boys basketball tournament with a 67-43 rout of Saint Louis in a physical contest yesterday at McCabe Gym—one that often resembled something closer to football than basketball.

Now, the No. 6 Buffanblu travel to the Big Island to take on Kamehameha-Hawaii in a play-in game tomorrow for the state tournament. It's a rematch of last year's state championship game, which Punahou won 41-38.

“;Hopefully we'll continue to get better,”; said Punahou coach Dan Hale, who hasn't been in the ILH-BIIF pre-tournament showdown. “;The Big Island has some great teams, so we'll have to show up and play as hard as we can. Hopefully we'll get a chance to get to states.”;

The season of No. 5 Saint Louis (8-5) is over after the Crusaders—the ILH's third-place team in the regular season behind Kamehameha and 'Iolani—were unable to rally from a six-point halftime deficit.

In a game that featured three technical fouls and a flagrant hit in the open court, Punahou (8-5) got 22 of its 24 points in the fourth quarter at the free-throw line to put the game away. Thirty-four of the visitors' points came at the charity stripe.

Three players came off the bench to post double-figure-scoring games for the Buffanblu, who were led by Henry Cassiday (17 points), while Taylor Crabb added 14 and Matthew Feldman 10.

“;Yeah, it was pretty physical. More than I thought,”; Cassiday said. “;It's great because we get a second chance. We messed up early on in the season, but we're finally pulling together.”;

The rivals were highly familiar with each other after a preseason meeting and two narrow Saint Louis victories in the ILH season. Both looked to press fullcourt for most of the game, but the difference came when Punahou went on a 9-1 run behind a Cassiday 3-pointer and layup off a slick Dalton Hilliard pass to open the second half. The Buffanblu maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

Dwight Moniz, coach of the fifth-ranked Crusaders (8-5), credited his team for playing hard and regretted only that he couldn't give a better send-off for his seven seniors.

He tipped his cap to Punahou, but thought the lopsided loss was more to do with an off night from his team, rather than a new strategy devised by the Buffanblu. Three players—Micah McClinton, Bulla Viena and Mike Tuiloma—led Saint Louis with 11 points each.

“;We play physical—everybody knows we have a bunch of football players,”; Moniz said. “;We don't have any real natural basketball players, but my guys play hard. They really run a lot and play right up to the last minute. I can't be prouder of the team. We brought them together, and we've had some really good games and some bad games.”;



At McCabe Gym

Punahou (8-5) 158202467
Saint Louis (8-5) 89121443

PUNAHOU—Robert Toma 4, Shane Yoshiyama 5, Dalton Hilliard 6, Kimo Makaula 6, Kainoa Gaddis 2, Taylor Crabb 14, Manti Te'o 3, Henry Cassiday 17, Matthew Feldman 10, Joshua Taylor 0, Casey Shibuya 0, James Dowsett 0, Malik Johnson 0.

SAINT LOUIS—Lucas Gonsalves 4, Marcus Umu 2, Micah McClinton 11, Bulla Viena 11, Mike Tuiloma 11, Jordan Ilagan 0, Moses Samia 2, Mika Wong 0, Joey Bryant 2, Acen Cabral 0, Starr Sua-Passi 0, Quinn Arakawa 0.

3-point goals—Punahou 3 (Crabb 2, Cassiday), Saint Louis 1 (McClinton).


ILH Division II boys

Christian Academy 55, Lanakila Baptist 53, OT
Hanalani 48, ASSETS 28

Leading scorers—LB: Chase Hazelwood 18, Keawe Ochman 18. CA: Michael Urcia 23, Jason Ko 18.