• Paul Honda-Honolulu Star-Advertiser

A first for Kahuku


CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM

The Kahuku Red Raiders celebrated their 70-55 win over Punahou for the DIV I HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championship title on Friday.

Kahuku finally has its first boys basketball state championship.

In one of the most fast-paced state finals in recent memory, top-seeded Kahuku got 23 points from point guard Jessiya Villa and 20 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks from Samuta Avea to outlast second-seeded Punahou 70-55 in the Division I final of the Snapple/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships on Saturday at Stan Sheriff Center.

A crowd of 3,565 sounded double its size, and most of the volume came from Kahuku fans.

“I’m blessed to be at such a great school with great teammates,” said Avea, who transferred back home after one year at Bingham (Utah), where he won a title.

Villa was the spark to the engine, pushing the tempo all night. He added seven rebounds and made seven of his last eight free-throw attempts as the Red Raiders closed the game with a 14-5 run.

“I shot well from the free-throw line and got everyone involved,” Villa said. “To represent Kahuku, everyone is part of this wonderful team.”

Dan Fotu, a 6-foot-7 junior, tallied 14 points, eight boards and three dimes for Kahuku (26-3 overall).

The Red Raiders also displayed superb defense from stoppers Codie Sauvao and Kesi Ah-Hoy. Sauvao covered Punahou’s top scorer, Chris Kobayashi, and Ah-Hoy smothered Zayne Chong most of the night.

Kobayashi shot 5-for-15 from the field and finished with 12 points. Chong, a huge contributor to Punahou’s comeback win over Lahainaluna in the semifinals, had 11 points on 4-for-12 shooting. Cole Mausolf led ILH champion Punahou (26-6) with 14 points.

The Red Raiders had reached the finals three times, including the most recent in 2012, when they lost to Punahou.

Coach Brandyn Akana didn’t get acquainted with Snapple drinks until after his media interviews, when reserve guard Mark Viloria doused him.

That left a smile on his face.

“I told them not to do it. They don’t listen to me sometimes,” he said.

They did everything else asked by Akana, in his first full season as head coach.

“All year long these guys have fought, found a way, and showed up every night,” he said.

Punahou played near flawless basketball, committing just two turnovers against Kahuku’s air-tight man defense for the first three quarters. Then came a rash of giveaways, five in the first three minutes of the final stanza, and Kahuku turned a four-point lead into a 55-46 margin.

“We needed stops and we got some big stops,” Akana said. “For the most part, we were able to run, play under control. Tonight everybody came together and played solid.”

They also got a complete game from Fotu, who committed just two fouls all night.

“I told him to stop thinking about it,” Akana said. “We needed him to play, just play, and sure enough, tonight he was a beast inside.”

Punahou, a team with a load of junior talent, almost came back from a nine-point deficit.

“I think we missed the shots we would need to beat this team,” coach Darren Matsuda said. “They’re a very good team, obviously, and our kids had nothing to lose. I’m just so proud of my team. To me, we’re champions.”

The Red Raiders tried to get off to an explosive start, but found the Buffanblu running with them. In one of the few matchups of elite teams that prefer to run, it was pure entertainment for the fans.

The Buffanblu shot 48 percent from the field in the opening quarter, getting two triples from Mausolf to stay within 16-15. Kahuku opened the second quarter with an 8-0 run, getting a spark off the bench from Kekaula Kaniho. After Avea swished a 3, Kaniho nailed a corner 3 on the fast break on a feed from Villa, then hit a baseline jumper on an inbound pass, again from Villa. That gave Kahuku a 24-15 lead.

Punahou stayed close, however, supplying extra help on the low post against Fotu. A follow slam dunk by Avea brought the house down late in the quarter, but Mausolf drilled a 25-foot straightaway 3 before the buzzer to bring the Buffanblu within 35-29 at the break.

Punahou shot 43 percent from the field (12-for-27), including 4-for-10 from 3-point range, in the first half. Kahuku shot 42 percent in the first half (11-for-26), but got to the line more (6-for-10) than the Buffanblu (1-for-2).

HHSAA BOYS DIVISION I PLAYOFFS

Championship

Kahuku 70, Punahou 55

Buffanblu

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS

Mausolf 28 5-9 0-0 3 2 1 14

Hosoda 19 2-4 0-0 4 3 1 4

Kobayashi 29 5-15 1-3 1 2 4 12

Makaula 9 0-2 0-0 3 0 5 0

Clemens 22 4-8 0-0 7 0 4 8

Chong 25 4-12 1-2 1 3 3 11

Cockett 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 0

Tufono 9 2-4 0-0 4 0 0 6

Cortez Feria 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Nafarrete 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Martinson 5 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0

Whittaker 11 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0

Kimura 0+ 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0

Falatea 3 0-1 0-0 0 0 1 0

TEAM 3

TOTALS 160 22-57 2-5 28 10 22 55

Red Raiders

MIN FG-A FT-A R A PF PTS

Villa 32 6-14 10-14 7 3 2 23

Ah-Hoy 27 0-2 1-2 2 2 0 1

Fotu 30 5-12 4-5 8 3 2 14

Sauvao 32 3-4 0-4 5 0 1 6

Avea 31 6-11 6-6 11 1 0 20

Kaniho 6 2-3 1-2 1 0 1 6

Viloria 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Damuni 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

Wright 2 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 0

Alapa 0+ 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0

TEAM 2

TOTALS 160 22-46 22-33 37 9 6 70

Key — fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; r: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.

Halftime — Kahuku 35, Punahou 29

3-point goals — Punahou 9-27 (Mausolf 4-7, Tufono 2-4, Chong 2-6, Kobayashi 1-6, Kimura 0-1, Falatea 0-1, Hosoda 0-2). Kahuku 4-11 (Avea 2-4, Kaniho 1-1, Villa 1-5, Ah-Hoy 0-1). Steals — Punahou 4 (Clemens 2, Mausolf, Kobayashi). Kahuku 5 (Sauvao 3, Ah-Hoy, Fotu). Blocked shots — Punahou none. Kahuku 6 (Avea 4, Fotu, Sauvao). Turnovers — Punahou 9 (Mausolf 3, Kobayashi 3, Chong 2, Clemens). Kahuku 8 (Ah-Hoy 3, Villa 2, Fotu 2, Avea). Technical fouls — none. Officials — Ryan Wells, William Puchalski, Ian Akamine. A — 3,565.

http://www.staradvertiser.com/2017/02/18/sports/a-first-for-kahuku/

#JessiyaVilla #SamutaAvea #DanielFotu #CodieSauvao #KesiAhHoy #BrandynAkana #MarkViloria #KekaulaKaniho

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