Rough Riders storm
back to beat Mules

Described as the team's "quiet guy" by his coach, junior Keo Keola made some noise by scoring 27 points to lead Roosevelt past Leilehua 58-44 last night at Pearl City High School Gym.

The Rough Riders used a 40-point second half to come from behind in the Oahu Interscholastic Association first-round playoff game. Keola scored 23 points after halftime, mostly by cutting through the Mules defense and by being in the position to put back missed shots.

"That's his job, what he's supposed to do," Roosevelt coach John Chung said. "We were a little worried at halftime that he was going to run out of gas. But he sucked it up."

Chung said Keola wasn't at 100 percent in the game. He had been battling the flu the past two weeks.

"He lost some of his conditioning, so we sat him down toward the end of the first half. But in the second half we said, 'Hey, it's do or die,' " Chung said.

Roosevelt plays at Campbell in a quarterfinal game today at 6:30 p.m. Kalaheo faces Pearl City in the 5 p.m. matchup.

Kerstan Ho scored 11 points for the Rough Riders, while Danton Balbas added 10.

Both teams opened the game with perimeter passing, unable to penetrate the opponents' zone defense. But Leilehua went to a full-court press, allowing the extremely quick Rough Riders to get open shots once they got the ball out of the back court.

"I think we were putting pressure on them," said Leilehua coach Keith Spencer. "They had some shots, and they made it. I didn't want them to just walk the ball down court."

Roosevelt took a 14-8 lead into the second quarter, but the Mules went on a 9-0 run near the end of the quarter. With 3:25 left in the half, Anthony Palomares hit Leilehua's first 3-pointer of the game, giving the Mules a 19-16 lead. Leilehua led 23-18 at halftime.

Palomares finished with six points. Center Clayton Laurel led the team with 12 points in the loss.

"The kids started to settle down. I think we were a little too hyped in the beginning," Spencer said.

"In the first half we couldn't stop them," Chung said. "They had their way with us."

The Rough Riders opened the second half much more patient while also picking up the pace. The strategy paid off when Danton Balbas hit an open jumper to close the lead to just three points.

"Coming out of halftime, we wanted to pick up the tempo," Chung said. "Our kids were looking kind of sluggish, so we wanted to speed up the game, that's why we went to a full-court man. That sort of kick-started our comeback."

But Mules matched the Rough Riders basket for basket, as the Mules also took advantage of open looks underneath. But with 4:30 remaining in the quarter, a putback by Keola closed the gap to one point.

While Leilehua missed its shots and committed turnovers, Roosevelt capitalized, going on a 10-0 run that gave the Rough Riders the win.

"Down the stretch we had some open looks, we just didn't hit them," Spencer said.

The Rough Riders made eight of 10 free throws in the fourth quarter.

At Pearl City H.S. gym
Leilehua (6-5) 8 15 9 12 -- 44
Roosevelt (9-3) 14 4 18 22 -- 58

LEILEHUA--Edward Garcia 13, Mene Coffin 0, Leon Drake III 0, Anthony Palomares 8, Antonio Periera 0, John Gory 5, B.J. Fruean 8, Clayton Laurel 10, Daniel Omalza 0.
ROOSEVELT--Micah Dutro 2, Kevin Fujii 3, Danton Balbas 10, Kerstan Ho 13, Laakea Moikeha 5, Keo Keola 25, Troy Quon 0.
3-point goals -- Leilehua 4 (Garcia 3, Palomares), Roosevelt 2 (Fujii, Ho).

Pearl City 47, Kailua 41

Defense ruled as the Chargers (8-3) pulled off a fourth-quarter comeback to defeat the Surfriders (7-5).

Brandon Jackson drained three 3-pointers en route to scoring 17 points to lead Pearl City into the quarterfinals of the OIA playoffs.

Kainoa LaCount led Kailua with 15 points.

Both teams struggled offensively in the first quarter, neither team making a two-point goal until the last minute of the period. The Charger defense clamped down on the Surfriders in the second, holding them to five points. Three points came on free throws and LaCount scored the only field goal for the Surfriders.

Sparked by their defense, the Chargers went on a 6-0 run to end the quarter and led 20-15 at halftime.

"They were aggressive (on defense). The refs let us play," Kailua coach Tim Harrison said. "And if we could do it all over again, I think we would have played more aggressively."

"We like to put a lot of pressure on the ball, we've been doing that all year," Pearl City coach Lionel Villarmia said.

But the third quarter yielded another momentum change in the form of LaCount, who used his big body to gain position under the basket and score eight points in the period.

"We didn't have anyone to match up with LaCount. He made a big difference," Villarmia said. "We had to dig down. We had to tighten up the defense."

Pearl City contained LaCount in the fourth quarter by double-teaming him.

"We need to keep getting (LaCount) the ball, and we didn't do that," Harrison said. "They did a good job of doubling him."

The Chargers gained a two-point lead when Ernest Vidinha scored on a layup and made a foul shot.

From there, Pearl City continued to force bad shots by the Surfriders.

Charger Rollie Salvacion went 5-for-5 from the free-throw line to seal the win.

At Pearl City H.S. gym
Kailua (7-5) 10 5 23 3 -- 41
Pearl City (8-3) 11 9 9 18 -- 47

KAILUA--Kelroy Kohatsu 0, Tyler Harrison 8, Zack Akamine 2, Cory Nemoto 7, Justin Pedro 9, Kainoa LaCount 15.
PEARL CITY--Rollie Salvacion 10, Brandon Jackson 17, Andrew Blue 5, Dee Briscoe 2, Antoin DeWalt 2, Ernie Vidinha 11.
3-point goals -- Kailua 2 (Nemoto 2), Pearl City 4 (Jackson 3, Blue).

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