POSTED: Sunday, March 08, 2009

Look carefully—the Kamehameha Warriors really do wear blue in their collars.



















(1) Kamehameha47
(2) Kahuku45



(1) Castle36






        Desmond Tautofi, Kaimuki

        Micah Christenson, Kamehameha

        Pablo Warner, Iolani

        Nehoa Akina, Kahuku

        David Taulung, Kaimuki



Most Outstanding Player:
        Pi'i Mins, Kamehameha




The Warriors, using a lock-down defense of 2-3 zone and man-to-man, limited Kahuku to just two points in a stretch of 3 minutes late in the game for a 47-45 win in the final of the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball Division I State Championships at Blaisdell Arena.

Kahuku had a chance to tie or win in the final seconds. After Kamehameha's Auwae DeRego made the second of his two foul shots, the Warriors led 47-45 with 3.8 seconds left. Instead of calling timeout immediately, however, Kahuku inbounded after the foul shot before calling time with 2.5 seconds to go.

Inbounding from the sideline about 75 feet away, Kahuku passed to Akina, who speed-dribbled up the sideline and launched a 40-footer that missed left at the horn.

“;I didn't want to call a timeout right away,”; Kahuku coach Hiram Akina said. “;I wanted to get the ball to halfcourt. Our play was to get it to Kona (Schwenke) inside, but we were too far down (court). I just wish we had one more timeout.”;

Kamehameha (22-3) won its first state title since 1992, when Jim Winchester was the coach, and now has six crowns in boys basketball. Current coach Jesse Nakanishi, a Winchester disciple, said it was best to keep things simple at the end, particularly with Kahuku's defensive stoppers in foul trouble.

“;We did a 1-4 load, high on-ball, a quick, simple attack,”; Nakanishi said, noting that the Warriors struggled offensively early on with the same set. Credit Kahuku. Their ball pressure and athleticism were great.”;

Pi'i Minns led Kamehameha, the Interscholastic League of Honolulu champion, with 20 points and three steals. DeRego, also a senior, had eight rebounds and gave Kamehameha a strong presence inside against the taller Red Raiders. Each team had 32 rebounds.

Nehoa Akina led Oahu Interscholastic Association champion Kahuku (24-3) with 12 points, but had six of his team's 16 turnovers. Nothing came easy; the Red Raiders shot just 26 percent from the field. They also shot just 4-for-10 from the foul line in the fourth quarter.

“;The key thing was their trap really hurt us. I thought playing Punahou and 'Iolani would prepare us for this,”; Akina said. “;We knew what they were going to do, but we just didn't handle it well.”;

Minns and guard Chaz Bajet came up big in a pivotal swing with 3 minutes left, when Bajet hustled back to strip the ball from Kahuku's Nehoa Akina, negating what seemed to be a sure layup.

Kamehameha got the ball back when it went off a Kahuku player out of bounds, and Minns tied it at 40-all on a pull-up jumper from the left elbow with 2:43 left.

After a pair of free-throw misses by Kahuku sophomore Shairone Thompson, Kamehameha raced upcourt and Minns fed Bajet for an easy layup and a 42-40 lead.

Thompson scored on a layup with 1:41 left to tie the game at 42, but Minns answered with a drive from midcourt for a 44-42 Warriors lead with 1:23 left.

“;I attacked hard because I knew they were in foul trouble,”; Minns said, referring to tough-nosed guard Jray Galeai.

Thompson then missed an off-balance shot from the low post, and Bajet hit a free throw for a 45-42 lead with 37 seconds to go.

After Galeai missed an NBA-range 3-point shot, sophomore Micah Christenson (11 points) made one of two free throws for a 46-42 lead with 15 seconds remaining.

That wasn't the clincher, though. Irwin Ah-Hoy's 27-foot shot hit rim, glass, rim and then fell through the nylon for a 3-pointer to pull the Red Raiders within 46-45 with 5.2 seconds to go.

From there, it was just moments away from a title for the blue-collar Warriors.

“;You have to give Kamehameha credit,”; Akina said. “;They play hard. Jesse does a great job with them. They come out and run their stuff, and they're good at it.”;


Kamehameha 47, Kahuku 45


















































































































































Red Raiders (19-2)
Ah Hoy1-61-25343427
Kaka, S.0-10-0000004 
Kaka, J.0-00-0100002



Warriors (14-1)

Key—fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fould; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime—Kamehameha 22, Kahuku 15
3-point goals—Kahuku 5 (Akina 2, Galeai, Ah-Hoy, Nauahi), Kamehameha 2 (Minns).
Steals—Kahuku 5 (Galeai 2, Ah-Hoy, Akina, Thomspon, Kamehameha 9 (Mins 3, Christenson 2, Bajet 2, Derego, Ka'ai). Blocked shots—Kahuku 1 (Nauahi), Kamehameha 5 (Christenson 3, Minns 2).
Officials—Mason Souza, King Whetstone, Kurt Hottendorf. Attendance—5, 208.