Maryknoll routs Kahuku on final night of Challenge
SALT LAKE—Niko Robben scored a game-high 18 points to lead Maryknoll over Kahuku, 45-23 on the final night of the OIA-ILH Challenge at Moanalua's gymnasium Saturday.
"They (Kahuku) were missing their football guys so the score was not indicative of what it should be if they had all their players. As far as us running our packages and defensively we've done pretty well in all of our games so we're trying to touch the ball as much as possible," Maryknoll coach Kelly Grant said.
The 6-foot-4 senior scored 11 of his 18 in the first half and was 4 for 7 from behind the 3-point line to go with five rebounds and four assists to help the Spartans remain unbeaten at 8-0 in the preseason.
"We had so many options last year. This year, he's our primary option. We're trying to get him the ball in different spots of the court and not just one spot. I think he's shooting too many jump shots, he needs to get to the basket. When he's going full force to the basket, no one can stop him or block his shot," Grant said of Robben stepping up this season.
Niko Soares another returnee from last year's state championship team added 12 points and another returnee Noah Furtado had seven points, three assists, and two steals.
Oscar Cheng, a 6-foot-8 newcomer from the Bay Area led the Red Raiders with 10 points, seven boards, two steals and a block.
"When he gets the ball, he's hard to defend him, he got good moves and you can't block the shot. When he puts it on the ground, we try to rake it. We're trying to give opposing teams different looks," Grant said.
"He's getting better, he's getting used to the guards. The timing is important. They're going to get better and better. It was good for him to go against the next biggest guy in the state. I told him, if we're going to win a state championship, we're going to have to go through guys like that," Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana said.
The Spartans countered Kahuku's size in the post with a 7-footer of their own.
"He's good. He's long and he's still reaching over the top which he doesn't need to. He's getting stronger. Next year, he's going to be a force. From his ninth grade year to tenth grade, he got stronger, but there's a ways to go," Grant said of Tolentino.
Tolentino sank a 3-pointer for the Spartans' first points and Robben found his stroke early hitting two 3's as Maryknoll led 13-6 heading into the second quarter.
The Spartans led by 12 as Robben hit his third 3-pointer, but Soares went to work scoring eight points in the paint and converted assists from Furtado and Robben to put the Spartans up 10 then 12 going into halftime with a 24-12 advantage.
Kahuku was not able to crack double digits in each quarter, partly due to Maryknoll's defense and the offense still coming around.
"That's the one that takes the longest, the offense. Defense is usually ahead of offense. I thought we played well, I thought we stopped them, but gave up easy 3's. They're (Maryknoll) is a talented team," Akana said.
The Red Raiders were short-handed as some players were participating in the JPS football all star game, but nine players suited up and saw playing time.
Loren Nakauciri was the next leading scorer with six and returnee Lokana Enos grabbed seven boards.
"We still have four or five guys missing and plus we got them back. It's going to be a tough one, but when we get everybody going," Akana said.
The Red Raiders head to Molokai to face the Farmers while Maryknoll plays University Lab at Kaimuki both on Dec. 12.
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