Castle overcomes Kailua


POSTED: Sunday, March 01, 2009

Jeff Hiro drew up the play.

K.J. Aipia and Nick Tuamoheloa executed to perfection.

The result was Castle's first Oahu Interschaolastic Association White Conference basketball championship.

With the Knights trailing Windward Oahu rival Kailua by two points with 13.4 seconds left, Hiro designed a play for Aipia to take the inbounds pass and look to score or kick the ball out to Tuamoheloa on the wing.

His path to the basket cut off, Aipia selected the latter option and Tuamoheloa coolly drilled a 3-pointer from the left side with 7 seconds left to lift Castle to a dramatic 37-36 victory over the Surfriders last night at Jim Alegre Gymnasium.

“;It's just an unbelievable feeling,”; said Tuamoheloa, who led the Knights with 11 points. “;There was space, I was going up right there.”;

Along with its first OIA White title, and first of any kind since 1970, Castle earned the OIA's seeded berth in this week's HHSAA Division II state tournament.

“;Huge win for the program,”; said Hiro, the Castle head coach. “;It brings some exposure back to Kaneohe, which we haven't had in the past few years because we weren't too successful. But these kids in Kaneohe have a lot of heart.”;

After suffering an 11-point loss to the Surfriders last Thursday, which forced last night's decisive meeting for the tournament title, Castle elected to keep the tempo at a more pedestrian pace.

Although Kailua led for most of the game, the Knights were able to stay within striking distance and took advantage of their opportunity at the end.

“;I expected them to slow it down,”; Kailua coach Tim Harrison said. “;Slow it down, halfcourt, grind it out, that's how they've beaten us before.”;

While Castle claimed the OIA White title last night, the fifth meeting between the teams may not have been the final chapter.

“;I expect to see these guys again,”; Harrison said, alluding to a possible state tournament rematch.


At Radford

Castle (13-3)10711937 
Kailua (13-3)7159536

CASTLE—Michael Santos 5, Russell Ige 0, Nick Tuamoheloa 11, Isaiah Tilton 5, Brent Roberts 6, K.J. Aipia 4, Jordan Aleki 6.
KAILUA—Calen Friel 0, Rhys Nakakura 0, Kauila Miller 2, Dylan Farias 8, Kenny Ellis 8, Corey Lau 5, Alii Kaiama 13, Tesi Fisilau 0, Jordan DeCorte 0.
3-point goals—Castle 2 (Tuamoheloa, Tilton), Kailua 3 (Farias 2, Lau).