Kamehameha survives


POSTED: Saturday, March 07, 2009

Getting there may have been the hardest part.

































(1) Kamehameha63
(2) Kahuku56



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





Kamehameha earned a shot at ending its state championship drought last night, but not before enduring four quarters and three overtime periods in a 63-57 victory over Kaimuki in an epic Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Division I boys basketball tournament semifinal last night at Blaisdell Arena.

The top-seeded Warriors will have to muster another burst of energy tonight after surviving a game that stretched 2 hours, 40 minutes and featured clutch shots on both sides, momentum swinging turnovers, injuries and even a bit of controversy.

Just how much the Warriors have left in the tank will be determined when they return to Blaisdell tonight in the program's first championship game appearance since 1994.

“;When it comes down to these kinds of games, adrenaline will take over,”; Kamehameha coach Jesse Nakanishi said. “;I'm not too worried about it. We'll get them home right away, get some fluids and get some sleep.”;

The Warriors—led by sophomore forward Micah Christenson's 26 points—overcame a gritty performance by Kaimuki to advance to the final.

“;We've been talking a lot about that '92 triple-overtime,”; Nakanishi said, referring to the Warriors' win over Hilo in the title game that year. “;Little did we know we'd get one ourselves.”;

Christenson provided the biggest shots of the night for Kamehameha, the most significant coming early in the third overtime when he grabbed an offensive rebound and dropped in the go-ahead bucket while being fouled. His free throw gave Kamehameha a 52-49 lead and the Warriors were able to hold off the Bulldogs from the free-throw line, going 12-for-17 in the final period.

“;I felt it. I really wanted the ball in my hands at the pressure points,”; Christenson said.

Christenson was a wide-eyed freshman just up from the junior varsity when he made his state tournament debut a year ago.

“;Come this year he's hitting all our big shots,”; Nakanishi said. “;I don't think I've coached a more confident player in my six years.”;

The grit of Kaimuki was exemplified in point guard David Taulung, who finished the game with his head covered in a bandage after suffering a gash at the end of the second overtime and finished with 12 points, three steals and four assists while playing a game-high 44 minutes.

Kaimuki forward Desmond Tautofi, sidelined with foul trouble for most of the second quarter, scored 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who close the season in the third-place game today at 3 p.m.

“;It was definitely a good game for the spectators,”; Kaimuki coach Kelly Grant said. “;It's just tough we had to fall this way. Just too many fouls we couldn't overcome, and they're deeper than we are.”;

The Warriors hit buzzer beaters at the end of the first and second quarters, with Christenson knocking down a 3-pointer just before halftime to cut the Bulldogs' lead to 31-29. He struck again late in the third quarter by hitting closely contested jumpers to give the Warriors a 41-40 lead.

The scoring slowed to a crawl from there on, with Kaimuki's Jason Nutter taking a turn in the spotlight with a clutch 3-pointer with 1:51 left in the fourth quarter to knot the game at 45-45. The game went into overtime when a last-second shot by Kamehameha's Pi'i Minns rattled and popped out of the rim at the buzzer.

Both teams took turns running the clock down in the overtimes, scoring two points each in both of the first two extra periods. After a delay while Taulung's injury was treated on the court, Christenson gave Kamehameha the lead for good at the 3:44 mark of the third overtime and Kaimuki couldn't chase down the Warriors again.


At Blaisdell Arena

Kaimuki (20-10)16159522857 
Kamehameha (21-3)1019124221463

KAIMUKI—Raphael Vares 0, Tevin Nishiyama 0, David Taulung 12, Elijah Morita-Dudoit 0, Mason Kualii-Moe 0, Jason Nutter 3, Ryan Kakitani 12, Clay Montiho 2, Gabriel Steitzel 3, Kelly Tobin 6, Dayton Ortiz 0, John Vave 0, Desmond Tautofi 19, Chad Kaaihue 0.
KAMEHAMEHA—Edmund Kamano 3, Micah Christenson 26, Chaz Bajet 6, Pi'i Minns 5, Auwae DeRego 12, Shawn Bode 0, Koa Ka'ai 0, Blake Viena 11, Damien Teramae-Kaehuaea 0.
3-point goals—Kaimuki 5 (Kakitani 2, Nutter, Steitzel, Taulung), Kamehameha 4 (Christenson 2, Bajet, DeRego).