No. 1 Kahuku blitzes No. 10 Kalaheo, 81-60

Kahuku's Jessiya Villa puts up a shot in the lane against Kalaheo. Brien Ing | SL

KAILUA — Top-ranked Kahuku blazed out to an early lead and never looked back to rout No. 10 Kalaheo, 81-60 at Kalaheo's Pete Smith Court on Friday night.

"Kalaheo is one of the better teams in the OIA that we'll face in their place. Look at all the banners, that's not fun to come to a place like this, but we prepare our guys. We told our guys what we're getting into and they (Kalaheo) are going to come after us," said Kahuku coach Brandyn Akana.

The Red Raiders remain unbeaten at 5-0 in the Oahu Interscholastic East Division I standings, while the loss snaps the Mustangs' three-game winning streak as they fall to 3-2.

The Kahuku starters scored 61 of the team's 81 points with Jessiya Villa leading the way with 24 points and four assists. Samuta Avea (14 points and nine rebounds), Kesi Ah-Hoy (nine points), Codie Sauvao and Taimona Wright (eight points each) rounded out the scoring.

"These guys have to learn how to play together and guys off the bench to get them going," said Akana.

"It's my job to get everyone involved. Tonight they were hitting their shots. Tai, Codie and Kesi played great defense. It's important to get them involved and I was able to get my shot after that," said Villa.

Daniel Fotu, the 6-foot-7 transfer from New Zealand, came off the bench to score 18 points—12 came in the second half.

"He could be starting. Him and Tai played an excellent game. We like to play them both, but Kalaheo is smaller and quick so we couldn't play them both at the same time. Daniel comes in and will do whatever, he's a force on the inside and he's hard to stop," said Akana.

"He has a huge impact on our game. He comes in and does his thing and his impact on the court is lethal and I'm thankful for that," said Villa, on Fotu.

Kahuku blitzed the Mustangs with a 10-0 run to start the game to force an early timeout from Kalaheo at 5:59.

"That was our whole thing to start the game with intensity and our guys came out and holy cow, they got after it and it was great to see," said Akana.

Andreas Jankovic scored the Kalaheo's first three points as they found themselves down, 16-3. The Mustangs were cold and shot 14-for-38 (36.8 percent) from the field in the first half and finished 29-of-71 (40.8 percent) for the game. Andrew Kearney's 3-point play cut the deficit to 10, 16-6, but the Red Raiders led 27-15 after the refs counted Fotu's basket before the buzzer sounded.

"I think our defense bothered them and they didn't hit some shots and it was good for us," said Akana.

"It was important we got the numbers we wanted. We came out strong and it all started on defense. It helps our groove and the lead we built early in the game," said Villa.

Captain Whitlock scored his first points of the game at the 6:55 mark in the second quarter after making 1 of 2 free throws. He scored 11 of his team-high 17 in the second half. Noah Woodby scored 15 points while three other Mustangs (Kearney, Jankovic, and Harry Wallace) added seven points each.

The Mustangs opened the third quarter with back-to-back 3s from Ryan Pardini and Whitlock. Kalaheo managed to outscore Kahuku in the third, but still found themselves down by double digits. A technical foul was called on the Red Raider bench with 21.3 seconds left as Pardini made both foul shots to bring it within 11, 59-48, but it was all Kahuku from there.

The Red Raiders rolled to a 9-2 run in the fourth to extend their lead further as Villa and Fotu combined for 18 of the 22 quarter points.

Kahuku goes to Moanalua (4-1) on Tuesday, Jan. 10 while Kalaheo hosts Roosevelt (1-4) from the OIA East Division II on the same night.