Castle overcomes tough Molokai


POSTED: Saturday, March 07, 2009

After successfully contending with an unfamiliar adversary, the Castle Knights must deal with a usual suspect in tonight's Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Division II Boys State Championship game.

































(1) Kamehameha63
(2) Kahuku56



(1) Castle57
(4) Molokai44
(2) Kohala57





In a semifinal last night at Farrington, the Knights nailed all eight of their 3-pointers in the first half and held on for a 57-44 victory over Molokai.

An Oahu Interscholastic Association team is now guaranteed to win the D-II state title for the third straight year. Castle, which has never won a state basketball title on any level, plays nemesis Kailua at 5 p.m. today at the Blaisdell Arena. The two teams squared off for the OIA White title, with Castle prevailing in the double-elimination format.

“;Oh, (a title) would be something. Pretty special, that's what you play for,”; Castle coach Jeff Hiro said. “;It's history. Win or lose, it's the farthest that we've gotten.

“;(We and Kailua) know each other's strengths and weaknesses. It's going to come down to who makes plays.”;

The Farmers (13-4) had never advanced to the semifinals in the Division II tournament, but their hopes of owning the boys and girls state titles in the same year were dashed.

Castle went 7-for-13 on 3-pointers to start the game and opened up a 27-9 lead.

Michael Santos led Castle with 22 points, while Nickolas Tuamoheloa added 14 points and six assists. Jordan Aleki grabbed 14 rebounds.

Castle (17-2) was successful despite a foot injury to starting forward Kevin Aipia, one of the team's best rebounders, which caused him to miss all but the opening 2 minutes. As a result, Molokai piled up a 48-33 rebounding advantage.

Molokai surged back into the game with a 12-2 run to open the second half. With wild man-to-man pressure, the Farmers hounded the Knights off the 3-point line and pulled to within 37-32 with 2 minutes, 50 seconds left in the third quarter.

“;Coach was telling us we weren't showing much effort in the third quarter so they kind of ran us down,”; Santos said. “;It turned around, like Coach said, when we started showing on our defense, and we just pulled through.”;

That was as close as it would get. The Farmers, who opened up with a match-up zone, couldn't make up ground in the fourth and had to resort to fouling.

“;Even if we started man-to-man, they just shot lights-out,”; Molokai coach Lee DeRouin said. “;Castle came out and wanted to put us away early, that was their game plan, but you're not going to put Molokai away early. We're going to fight you all the way to the end, and the boys had a tremendous effort.”;

Joseph Akaka led the Farmers with 22 points on a series of putbacks and pick-and-roll baskets.

At halftime, the Knights led 35-20 and Santos had 14 points.


At Farrington

Molokai (13-4)713121244
Castle (17-2)191641857

MOLOKAI—Herbert Antolin 0, Scottie Rapanot 6, Joseph Akaka 22, Kawaiola Kalipi 5, Kamakana Duvauchelle-Andrade 2, Kinohi Kelly-Paleka 4, Keoni Kahoalii 0, Alvin Ringor 3, Julien Bumatay 0, Micah Ritte-Manangan 2.
CASTLE—Michael Santos 22, Isaiah Tilton 11, Kevin Aipia 0, Nickolas Tuamoheloa 14, Dennis Barrientos 4, Jordan Aleki 6, Russell Ige 0.
3-point goals—Molokai 1 (Kalipi), Castle 8 (Santos 3, Tilton 3, Tuamoheloa 2).