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Second quarter swing helps No. 9 Kahuku edge No. 8 Moanalua, 62-56

    KAHUKU — The saying "it's a game of runs" rang true Saturday night. An 8-0 run to close out the first half was ultimately the difference as No. 9 Kahuku held off a late charge by No. 8 Moanalua for a 62-56 Oahu Interscholastic Association Eastern Division win at Thomas G.S. Walker Gymnasium. The Red Raiders, the defending league and state Division I champions, took a 27-19 lead into the break before holding off a late Na Menehune rally to improve to 3-0 atop the OIA D1-East standings. Kahuku needed every bit of its first half lead as Moanalua got a career-high performance from senior Caleb Casinas, who scored a game-high 35 points while going 6-for-7 from beyond the arc. Casinas also notched 23 of Na Menehune's 24 fourth quarter points. While Casinas was red hot from the perimter, Kahuku dominated down low and outrebounded Na Menehune, 51 to 16. Tolu Smith led the way with a double-double of 21 points and 18 rebounds and Marcus Damuni followed with 16 points and 11 rebounds of his own. The duo also shot the ball well from the field, combining to go 16-for-25 on the night.

After a back-and-forth opening period that saw five lead changes and both teams tied at 11, Kahuku started to pull away after Smith started the second quarter with two easy buckets. Moanalua's Saige Pulu knocked down 1 of 2 free throws to cut into Kahuku's lead, but Smith and Lokana Enos were able to find the bottom of the net to push the Red Raiders ahead, 19-12, and force a Moanalua timeout. Na Menehune quickly responded after the stoppage in play with a shot attempt by Casinas. The Red Raiders went cold after that, which allowed Moanalua to tie the game at 19 after a Isaiah Sugiura jumper and a straightaway triple by Casinas. Then Kahuku started to make its run. Smith put the Red Raiders ahead with a nice finish before Damuni sunk two shot attempts, one coming on a putback. Ruanui Winitana's free throws capped the run to give Kahuku a eight-point lead at the break. The Red Raiders maintained their lead after the third quarter and looked like they would put the game out of reach when Pulu fouled out 10 seconds into the final period of play. Pulu, who was tasked with guarding Smith for most of the night, had nine points and five boards when he left the game. Kahuku would then go up by 14 after two Ethan Erickson free throws and another basket by Smith before Casinas started to take over the game. 

The 6-foot senior swingman shot 12-for-12 at the free throw line and made three triples in the final period of play to close the gap for Moanalua. He hit back-to-back 3-point shots to make it a 48-42 game, and made it a one-possession game on two occasions late in the fourth quarter. Casinas' final points of the game made it a 58-55 game with under 30 seconds to play before Moanalua sent Winitana to the line. Winitana missed both attempts, but Na Menehune failed to secure the rebound and saw their leading scorer foul out of the game with 18.3 left in regulation after Damuni recovered the missed free throw. Kahuku made the rest of its free throws the rest of the way to seal the deal and hand Moanalua (1-2 OIA East) its second straight loss. Both teams missed 11 free throws each in the contest. Kahuku shot 14-for-25 while Moanalua went 22-for-33 at the charity stripe. 

Second quarter swing helps No. 9 Kahuku edge No. 8 Moanalua, 62-56 

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