Moanalua tops Kahuku, Kailua wins thriller to reach final
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARADVERTISER.COM
Moanalua’s DiAeris McRaven, above left, found major resistance from Kahuku’s Marcus Damuni on this shot during an OIA semifinal at McKinley on Wednesday.
Geremy Robinson poured in 25 points as No. 6 Moanalua rallied past Kahuku 66-58 on Monday night in the semifinals of the Oahu Interscholastic Association boys basketball playoffs.
Moanalua (19-6 overall) will meet Kailua on Wednesday night for the title. Moanalua last won the league crown in 2011, a back-to-back feat, under then-coach Greg Tacon.
Center DiAeris McRaven had 10 rebounds, eight points and three blocks to counter Kahuku’s powerful attack in the paint. His 6-foot-5 presence and shot-blocking ability were crucial.
“I just knew I couldn’t be afraid of them,” the junior said. “I had to match their intensity.”
McRaven, who is also an outstanding volleyball player, injured his left ankle in the second half. He returned to the game, but left a couple of minutes later, limping off the court. His ankle was wrapped in ice after the game.
“I hurt it a couple of years ago. This isn’t that bad,” he said. “I’ll be back soon, I hope.”
Robbie Sauvao had 12 points and five assists, and Ethan Erickson tallied 11 points and nine rebounds for Kahuku (18-9). Lokana Enos added nine points, all in the first half on 3-for-3 shooting from the 3-point arc. Moanalua opted to faceguard him after that. Kahuku was 6-for-8 from the arc in the first half and 2-for-12 in the second. Enos didn’t get another look from 3 after intermission.
“A couple of teams did that to me before,” said Enos, who was guarded primarily by Rocky Ramones. “Maybe I should’ve posted him up.”
Another factor was Moanalua’s decision to extend its man-to-man defense fullcourt after Kahuku opened with a 10-4 lead. Moanalua outrebounded Kahuku 32-31. Na Menehune were also 13-for-27 from the foul line, including 9-for-18 by Robinson.
“It wasn’t particularly pretty, but we were gritty and got the job done,” Moanalua coach Byron Mello said. “Kahuku played well and we were a little slow on (defensive) rotations.”
Robinson scored seven points during a 9-0 run that pushed Na Menehune ahead late in the first quarter.
While Moanalua’s intensity picked up, the Red Raiders pushed the tempo and got hot from the arc in the second quarter.
Moanalua’s fast break was key, as Ramones scored two buckets in transition. Elijah McGruder scored six of his 10 points in the third, banging the offensive glass. After Robinson (five rebounds) found reserve forward Kyle Hughley for an easy layup, Moanalua led 47-45 late in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth stanza, Isaiah Sugiura (eight points, five assists) scored on the break, and then fed McRaven for a two-handed slam to give Moanalua a 56-45 lead.
Kahuku got within 60-52 as Marcus Damuni completed a three-point play, but got no closer as Moanalua kept the floor spread and ate time off the clock.
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