Red Raiders will their way past Warriors into semis
Saying he could "see it in his coach's eyes," Kahuku junior guard Clinton Parks had no doubt that the Red Raiders would walk off the court victorious last night.
Not everyone else was quite as confident.
Kevin Unga's layup with less than 2 minutes to go gave Kahuku its first lead since the opening quarter, and Parks iced the game with six consecutive free throws in the final 41 seconds as Kahuku outscored Kamehameha by 17 in the final 8 minutes to come from behind and defeat the Warriors 56-47 last night at Blaisdell Arena.
The Red Raiders move on to face Baldwin in tonight's Hawaiian Airlines Boys State Basketball Championship semifinals.
"Confidence breeds confidence and it's contagious," Kahuku head coach Nathan James said. "I try to be calm and composed all the time, but it wasn't easy."
Not with the way Kamehameha was playing. After falling behind 7-2 early, the Warriors rode the 3-point shooting of Keo Wright-Pacarro, who was 3-for-3 from beyond the arc in the first half, to a 27-25 halftime lead.
"We learned we can't turn the ball over so much," James said of the first half. "(Kamehameha) really stepped up their pressure and when they can create turnovers and push the ball up the floor, that's when they're at their best."
The game remained close until Kamehameha's Jacob Ho came off the bench to score five quick points that gave the Warriors their largest lead, 40-32, heading into the final quarter. But two quick fouls on Warriors center Kamalu Miller to open the fourth gave Kahuku the opening it needed.
With Miller out, the Red Raiders began to pound the ball inside. Two offensive rebounds off missed free throws helped Kahuku score six points on one trip down the floor that cut the lead to two, 40-38.
After a Kamehameha bucket, a 3-pointer by Kahuku's Shane Hayden helped set up Unga's layup that put Kahuku on top for good.
"The game completely changed once (Miller) went out," Kamehameha head coach Jesse Nakanishi said. "With him out, they kept getting rebounds off their missed free throws and got too many second-chance points."
Kamehameha also struggled handling the ball down the stretch, and turnovers on three-straight possessions helped seal Kahuku's win.
"We definitely had our chances," Nakanishi said. "But give credit to Kahuku, they played the better game tonight."
At least one Red Raiders player was willing to give some credit for the victory to the sea of red that filled the stands.
"We really fed off of our fans," Parks said. "Once they got into it, we really got into it and came together and made the plays we needed. They've been there for us all year and again today."
KAMEHAMEHA--Keo Wright-Pacarro 11, Ikaika Hardie 7, Brandon Ahlo 0, Rykin Enos 5, Jacob Ho 9, Quincy Crowell 0, Michael Nii 5, Matthew Hoapili 2, Kea Smith 0, Kamalu Miller 8.
KAHUKU--Devin Unga 5, Shane Hayden 12, Josh Wily 0, Junior Ale 13, Clinton Parks 14, Kevin Unga 8, Viliami Tilini 0, Micah Wily 4. 3-point goals--Kamehameha 6 (Wright-Pacarro 3, Ho, Enos, Hardie), Kahuku 4 (Hayden 3, Ale).
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