Buffanblu back on top


POSTED: Sunday, May 17, 2009

Joshua Taylor and Rick Tune love firsts.

Taylor pounded 16 kills, while Taylor Crabb orchestrated a symphony of finely tuned offense as Punahou overwhelmed Kamehameha 25-11, 25-19, 25-21 in the Division I final of the New City Nissan/HHSAA Boys Volleyball State Championships.





» Taylor Crabb, S, Punahou


» Joshua Taylor, OH, Punahou


» Micah Christensen, OH, Kamehameha


» Daylan Chock, OH, Kamehameha


» Kenneth Rewick, MB, Roosevelt


» Chandler Kaaa, S, Kamehameha-Hawaii


» Scott Sakaida, DS, Iolani


Most Outstanding Player:


» Maddison McKibbin, OH, Punahou




Taylor, a 6-foot-7 outside hitter, hit .700.

“;Taylor and Maddison (McKibbin) put up great sets. It was almost impossible not to put them away,”; he said.

Crabb finished with 31 assists and McKibbin added 10 to go with 10 digs.

Punahou's 28th state title is also the first as a head coach for Tune, who assisted for several years under former coach Peter Balding. Top-seeded Punahou (20-1) got a peak performance out of several players, but Taylor had the best effort of his sophomore season.

“;Physically, Joshua showed the dominance and did a good job getting the ball high, hard and deep,”; Tune said. “;He's got great talent. We just had to polish it up.”;

A near-capacity crowd at McKinley Student Council Gym saw one of the state's hottest teams, Kamehameha (19-4), turn cold immediately because of a Punahou attack and scouting report that shackled the Warriors. The Buffanblu switched their defense to have McKibbin (6-6) shadow Kamehameha's 6-5 hitter, Micah Christenson, in a volleyball version of a box-and-one scheme.

Maddison's high energy and tenacity did the job: Christenson finished with just five kills (-.091).

“;When you can take a great player like Micah out of a match, you gotta throw the kitchen sink at him,”; Tune said. “;Kamehameha's been playing great volleyball for the last month-and-a-half.”;

Crabb's efficiency gave Punahou balance. McKibbin finished with nine kills, Henry Cassiday added five, Benjamin Lam chipped in with four. Super sub Jarrett Chang had three in place of injured middle Jared Altenhof, who suffered fibula and tibia injuries in the semifinals.

“;They've got the most talent, hands down,”; Kamehameha coach Guy Kaniho said. “;But they're also well coached and run a very complex offensive system. They have great defense at the net, and when you get by that, they're great in the back row.”;

Punahou had 42 digs to Kamehameha's 23.

“;Rick and his staff scouts well, like no one else,”; Kaniho said.

Kamehameha needed Punahou to have an off night, but it wasn't to be.

“;The way we've been playing at this point in the season, we could've beaten them,”; Kaniho said. “;But they were excellent.”;

Punahou's scouting report — a coach filmed Kamehameha's semifinal sweep of Roosevelt — had a direct impact on the first two sets.

Punahou opened with a 5-0 lead and was not threatened. McKibbin, Taylor and Cassiday each tallied three kills, while Crabb had the Warrior defense guessing.

The second set was much different. The Warriors were even until Punahou broke a 15-all tie with a 5-1 run. With McKibbin pounding away on one side, Taylor got open for four kills to help Punahou seize a 20-16 lead.

Kamehameha scored the next two points, but Cassiday and Lam got kills and McKibbin's ace helped Punahou close out the opening set.

The Warriors hung tough in the second set and rallied to 18-all after a string of miscues by Punahou. However, McKibbin and Cassiday came through again with key kills as Punahou regained the lead and completed the sweep.

Punahou won all three meetings with Kamehameha this season.


Punahou def. Kamehameha

25-11, 25-19, 25-21





Key — g: games; k: kills; e: hitting errors; att: attempts; pct: hitting percentage; d: digs; bs: block solo; ba: block assists.

Aces — Kamehameha (2): reyes, Morgan. Punahou (4): Nuuhiwa 2, McKibbin, Taylor. Assists — Kamehameha (18): Chock 12, Christenson 6. Punahou (41): Crabb 31, McKibbin 10.

T — 1:14. A — N/A.