Kailua tops Kahuku for first time in five years
Kailua's Everett Torres-Kahapea drives by Kahuku's Thorton Alapa in the first quarter. Michael Lasquero | SL
KAHUKU — The monkey is finally off their back.
The seventh-ranked Kailua Surfriders defeated No. 8 Kahuku for the first time since 2014 with a 58-52 win at Thomas G.S. Walker Gymnasium in both teams' OIA opener Wednesday night.
Kailua (9-8 overall, 1-0 OIA East) forced 19 turnovers in the victory as they ended a seven-game losing streak to the Red Raiders, who eliminated Kailua in the opening round of the Division I state tournament a season ago.
Surfriders coach Wally Marciel said the win was big for the program.
"Losing last year and ending our state tournament road here motivated the eight guys that returned this year so this is a big win for us," Marciel said.
Senior guard Everett Torres-Kahapea was his usual self with 21 points, but he had help in a game that had eight lead changes and eight ties.
Kaniala Williams had 11 points and six steals off the bench, Isaiah Hopson had 10 despite early foul trouble and Nainoa Peters and Lydell Romero each added eight points and six rebounds to round out the Surfriders' scorers. Romero also had five of Kailua's 13 steals.
"Coach Wally does a good job helping us stay patient and diligent (and) the boys pulled it off," said Torres-Kahapea.
The Red Raiders (10-5, 0-1) outrebounded the visiting team, 37 to 24, which netted more opportunities at the free throw line — but Kahuku could not take advantage. The home team shot 10-for-24 from the charity stripe while Kailua converted on 15 of 21 free throw attempts.
Kahuku led by as many as six in the opening period, but Peters kept Kailua in it with six free throws and a basket in the paint to make it a 16-12 game heading into the second quarter.
The Red Raiders took their largest lead of the game, 23-16, on a Shon Reid pull-up triple and threatened to pull away before Torres-Kahapea answered with a step-back trey.
Missed free throws helped Kailua stay in the game as the Surfriders continued to chip away at the lead before regaining it, 26-25, on a Romero basket to make it 26-25.
Ethan Erickson - who was a thorn in the Surfriders' side with 17 points and 15 boards - had a chance to regain the lead for Kahuku with two free throws at the 1:30 mark of the second quarter, but he missed them both. Erickson was 1 of 6 from the line in the first half and 4-for-11 overall.
Kahuku's Ethan Erickson draws a blocking foul on Kailua's John Sniffen in the second quarter.
The Surfriders scored on a baseline inbounds pass just before the break to make it a 28-25 game at the half.
Kahuku started to get back into the game in the third quarter thanks to the sharp shooting of Lokana Enos, who picked up three fouls in the opening period. Enos scored the Red Raiders' first basket of the second half on a corner trey and regained the lead for the team, 34-32, on a triple from the opposite corner.
The two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the quarter before a Robbie Sauvao put back a string of Kahuku misses at the buzzer to tie the game at 42 heading into the final period of play.
Enos started the fourth quarter with bucket and a foul, but couldn't convert on the ensuing free throw. Hopson tied the game back up with a spin move in the post.
The Red Raiders had a chance to go back up when Sauvao went to the line on a one-and-one opportunity, but he missed the free throw and Kailua capitalized.
An up-and-under move by Torres-Kahapea gave the Surfriders the lead for good and a Williams' steal-and-finish made it a 48-44 game to force a Kahuku timeout with 5:39 remaining in regulation.
Torres-Kahapea assisted on a Hopson bucket down the middle of the lane to extend Kailua's lead to six, which gave the Surfriders enough cushion to hold off the Red Raiders as Kahuku never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
"It feels good. It's always fun playing Kahuku because they're scrappy and physical," said Torres-Kahapea. "Feels good to get a win, first win of the season."