Kahuku completes OIA mission
CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARADVERTISER.COM
Kahuku’s Jessiya Villa went to the basket for two points in the second half of a win over Kapolei on Thursday.
Jessiya Villa returned with the force of a, well, hurricane.
The senior guard poured in 24 points, directing a relentless Kahuku fast break as the No. 1 Red Raiders defeated No. 6 Kapolei 70-60 to capture the Oahu Interscholastic Association Division I boys basketball championship at McKinley Student Council Gymnasium.
Dan Fotu scored 16 points and Samuta Avea added 15 for Kahuku, which went 14-0 in league play (23-3 overall).
Villa returned after a one-game absence due to a concussion suffered at practice last week.
“Glory to God for a speedy recovery. I had to be a leader on and off the court, and make up for the missed points from Kailua, and pick up the defense,” he said. “I knew Kapolei would come out and be a scrappy, physical team.”
The point guard’s court vision and ability to make plays anywhere on the floor opened everything up for a Kahuku team that missed him on Tuesday in a 42-40 semifinal win over Kailua.
“I was pretty scared in the semifinals,” Fotu said. “We got ’Siah back and he performed tonight.”
The Red Raiders went full throttle in the first quarter in a battle between two run-and-gun outfits. After a 3 by Villa and dunks by Avea and Fotu, Kahuku led 21-10 late in the first quarter.
“We needed to settle down. We were trying too hard,” Hurricanes coach Gary Ellison said. “Our guys didn’t crumble and battled with them. We just had mental lapses in the paint and Kahuku is a good team. You can’t take anything away from them.”
On a play in the final 20 seconds of the first quarter, Fotu was on the ground when he poked the ball away from Zoar Nedd, leading a fast break and a layup by Villa. Avea’s corner 3 with seven seconds left in the quarter gave Kahuku a 26-13 lead.
“That’s the way we practice. That’s how we want to come out, with intensity,” Akana said.
Avea and Fotu each had eight points in the opening stanza.
“We came out with good energy,” said Avea, a 6-6 senior. “Coming off last game’s performance, we were really upset, so we came out with a lot of fire.”
The furious pace slowed in the second quarter, and by the third stanza, Kahuku was in a more conservative halfcourt man-to-man, preserving the lead. Kapolei battled in the paint, making it tough on Kahuku, but couldn’t get the lead below double digits.
The margin got up to 56-35 after Kekaula Kaniho swished a baseline jumper and two foul shots late in the third quarter.
Nedd led Kapolei (19-6, 12-1) with 15 points. Jayson Manapul added 10.
The lone glitch of the night for Kahuku was at the foul line, where it shot 18-for-36, partly due to lengthy minutes by reserves.
The league title is the eighth in Kahuku hoops history.
The Red Raiders last won titles in 2012 (Darren Johnson) and ’09 (Hiram Akina). They also won in ’05 (Nathan Davis) and ’68 (Harry Kahuanui), and took championships in ’64, ’66 and ’67 under Allen Yokomoto.
OIA DIVISION I BOYS PLAYOFFS
Kahuku 70, Kapolei 60 (at McKinley)
>> Kapolei (12-1) 13 13 9 25 — 60
>> Kahuku (14-0) 26 13 17 14 — 70
KAPOLEI— Hezekiah Del Prado 3, Isiah Higa 9, Kieran Queen-Booker 3, Jayson Manapul 10, Zoar Nedd 15, Marquis Montgomery 6, Ja’shon Carter 9, Kamakana Cunningham 0, Jeremiah Sanchez 3, Riley Asuncion 2.
KAHUKU—Kekaula Kaniho 5, Jessiya Villa 24, Kesi Ah-Hoy 0, Ethan Christensen 1, Marcus Damuni 1, Daniel Fotu 16, Ethan Erickson 2, Codie Sauvao 6, Robbie Sauvao 0, Samuta Avea 15, Stennett Alapa 0, Mark Viloria 0, Taimoana Wright 0, Kaluna Nihipali 0, Ra Elkington 0.
3-point goals—Kapolei 6 (Manapul 2, Carter, Del Prado, Higa, Queen-Booker). Kahuku 2 (Avea, Villa).