Warriors stifle Buffanblu


POSTED: Wednesday, January 07, 2009

The long-range bombs weren't hitting their targets, so the top-ranked Kamehameha Warriors got defensive.

Kamehameha limited fourth-ranked Punahou to just two points in the final 5 minutes to secure a 41-37 win last night before 500 fans at Kekuhaupio Gym.

The Warriors hadn't beaten defending state champion Punahou in two years, and coming into the regular season with a top ranking may have created some nerves. Kamehameha shot just 2-for-16 from 3-point range, but played solid man-to-man defense down the stretch to stifle the Buffanblu.

Chaz Bajet sank a free throw for Kamehameha with 19 seconds to go for a 40-37 lead and Punahou called time out.

Kamehameha, with just three team fouls, had plenty of fouls to give. Bajet tried to foul Punahou guard Matt Feldman on a drive, but Feldman passed off and Kimo Makaula eventually missed a 3-pointer in traffic from the top of the key.

Pii Minns hit a foul shot with six-tenths of a second left to put the game away for the Warriors.

The win was enough for coach Jesse Nakanishi, whose team had its first local game since playing in a New York City tourney over the holidays.

“;We need consistency. It's a cliche, but it's pretty true,”; he said, noting that the Warriors came through in the final minutes. “;Our seniors really wanted this one.”;

Minns led the charge with 17 points, five rebounds and four steals for Kamehameha (9-2 overall).

“;Our guys were a little tight, a little banged up, too,”; said Minns, a 6-foot-3 senior guard. “;Punahou's a great program. This was the last time we'll play them at our house.”;

Micah Christenson added 10 points and six boards, and senior Auwae DeRego also hustled for six rebounds. Christenson's long-range shot didn't fall, but he made up for it on the glass.

“;Micah proved he's not just a 3-point shooter,”; Punahou coach Dan Hale said of Christenson, the 6-5 sophomore who had five offensive caroms. “;He killed us on the boards.”;

Makaula powered Punahou (7-5 overall) with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Feldman added 11 points.

Using a mix of zone and man defenses, and halfcourt and three-quarter presses, Kamehameha opened the game with a 16-5 run. The lead extended to 20-9 after Christenson tipped in a miss midway through the second quarter.

Punahou junked its 2-3 zone and went man-to-man in the second half with big results. Feldman hit a fast-break layup and a 3-pointer to spark an 11-4 run. Kai Gaddis' free throws brought the Buffanblu within 32-31 with 1:38 left in the third quarter.

After a steal and bank shot by Feldman with 5:29 remaining, the score was stuck at 37-35 in Kamehameha's favor for minutes.

A left-handed layup by Christenson ended the drought with a little more than 1 minute to go. Blake Viena, who made the pass on the score, came up with a big steal a moment later for the Warriors.

Kamehameha, which shot just 7-for-18 from the foul line, missed the front end of two 1-and-1 opportunities in the final 2 minutes to give Punahou breaks.

Makaula's drive for a bucket to cut the lead to 39-37 with 25 seconds left.

“;We're a work in progress,”; Hale said, referring to the return of some key players from football season. “;Kamehameha did what they needed to do to win the game. We had some really untimely turnovers and we missed opportunities on blocking out.”;

Kamehameha outboarded Punahou 25-24.

Punahou (0-1)
Kamehameha (1-0)

PUNAHOU—Robby Toma 0, Dalton Hilliard 2, Henry Cassiday 0, Sean McFadden 5, Matt Feldman 11, Kimo Makaula 13, James Dowsett 0, Kai Gaddis 4, Deforest Buckner 2.

KAMEHAMEHA—Edmund Kamano 0, Shane Matayoshi 0, Micah Christenson 10, Chaz Bajet 3, Pii Minns 17, Auwae DeRego 3, Shawn Bode 0, Koa Ka'ai 0, Blake Viena 6, Damien Teramae-Kaehuaea 2.

3-point goals—Punahou 2 (McFadden, Feldman), Kamehameha 2 (Minns 2).