Findlay Prep dominates Kahuku, 87-43
Findlay Prep's PJ Washington prepares for a slam dunk against Kahuku. He scored 19 points in the Pilots' win. CJ Caraang | SL
It took the second-ranked team in the country to cool off the No. 2 team in Hawaii in the semifinals of the Iolani Classic boys' basketball tournament Tuesday night.
PJ Washingon and Lamine Diane each scored a game-high 19 points to lead Findlay Prep (Henderson, Nev.) over Kahuku, 87-43, at Iolani gym.
The Pilots, second in USA Today's Super 25 Computer National Rankings, will play seventh-ranked Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) for the Classic championship at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
The Red Raiders, second in the Hawaiian Electric Division I Power Rankings, will play Southwind (Memphis, Tenn.) for third place at 6:30 p.m. Kahuku is seeking to be the highest finishing Hawaii team since Iolani placed third in 2006.
Daniel Fotu led Kahuku with 15 points and Jessiya Villa followed with 11. Hawaii recruit Samuta Avea had six points, but led his team with six rebounds.
Justin Roberts added 14 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers, for the Pilots
Kahuku shot 13 of 51 from the field, while Findlay was 35 of 61. The Pilots' key was containing Villa, who had 27 points against Mount Vernon (NY) and 26 against De La Salle (Concord, Calif.), was 2 of 10 from the field, but 7 of 9 from the free-throw line.
"Their No. 4 (Villa) is a good player," Findlay coach Paul Washington Sr. said. "Their team runs off his energy, so made a point to try and shut him down to get him out of the game early because we didn't know who else could do anything, but him."
Meanwhile, the coach's son, Paul Jr., had a balanced game. Besides his 8-of-13 shooting from the field, he had team highs in rebounds (8), assists (7) and steals (6).
"For my team, I feel like I have to everything for us to win," Washington Jr. said. "Every night, I decide to do my best in my situation. Get assists, rebound and steal the ball. I felt I did great tonight."
Unlike its previous two Classic games, Kahuku could not match Findlay's length and speed. Moreover, it could not sustain any runs to close the gap.
"You try and do everything, mix it up, junk it up and those guys still hit 3s, they still run in transitions, you're just like ‘Wow,'" Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana said. "There's a reason they're top-ranked in the country."
Kahuku pulled to within 10-7 in the first quarter, only to see the Pilots use an 8-0 run to take a 20-9 at the end of the first quarter.
When Kahuku closed to 22-13 in the second period, Findlay had a 10-0 run, eventually taking a 42-17 lead into the half. Kahuku was a dismal 3 of 23 from the field, while Findlay was 18 of 31.
The Pilots kept the pace up all game and winded Kahuku, which had to extend its starters in minutes played, watched their deficit grow in the third quarter. Findlay had runs of 10-0 and 9-0 to take a commanding 75-26 lead into the fourth.
Findlay saw its lead expand to 50 on two occasions in the fourth, only to see Kahuku get an 11-0 run against Findlay's reserves.
It was a rough night for the Red Raiders overall. As the Pilots pulled away, the Red Raiders could only keep fighting.
"Just to finish," Fotu said. "We had nothing to lose, just play our hearts out until the end."
Aside from the numerous dunk shots and nine 3-pointers by Findlay, the standing-room only crowd of about 1,200 got worked up over the appearance of Pilots' reserve guard Dillon Glendenning, who at 5 feet, 10 inches is the shortest player on his team. When he entered the game, the crowd let out a cheer. Each time he touched the ball, the same thing happened. Then each time he drained his two 3-pointers – including a banker – the crowd roared its loudest in the game.
"I actually felt at home, even though I'm miles away," Glendenning said. "I had the crowd with me so it makes me motivate my game, so I try harder."
He said he has received the same treatment on occasions at home. But when junior Pilot drained the 3-pointers, he seemed as popular as 21 Pilots.
"You know, as soon as you hit'em you don't think anything about it," he said. "When you see the crowd's with you, they're trying to motivate you to keep going, so it's an overall special experience for me."
Added coach Washington: "At least we had some fans rooting for us at some point, so we're excited for that."