The nation’s top-ranked team flexes its muscle against Moanalua at the ‘Iolani Classic
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Dec 20, 2012
No. 1 Findlay Prep (Nev.) took care of business in its first ‘Iolani Classic game.
But by no means was Moanalua a pushover.
Nigel Williams-Goss scored a game-high 17 points and the Pilots wore down Na Menehune late for a 70-37 win in the final game of the opening round of the tournament on Wednesday at ‘Iolani.
Benas Griciunas, who will play at Auburn next year, added 11 points for the Pilots, who will play Coolidge (D.C.) in the quarterfinals tonight at 8.
“It was good to get the cobwebs out,” said first-year head coach Todd Simon. “(Moanalua) was very well coached. They weren’t scared and they didn’t back down.”
Despite the incredible size difference, Moanalua held its own against the top-ranked team in the USA Today Super 25.
Kahanu Pu‘ulei-Auld drew a large ovation from a near-capacity crowd when he banked in a step-back jumper to give Na Menehune a 2-0 lead.
Ola Brown swished a 3-pointer from the corner a minute later as Moanalua led 5-0 two minutes in.
“I went into this game thinking like, No. 1 team in the nation, we have no chance, but in the first half, we competed,” said Pu‘ulei-Auld, who led the team with eight points. “It felt like any other game.”
Williams-Goss, a 6-foot-4 guard who is headed to Washington next year, scored the next four points to get the Pilots in gear.
Austin Failauga hit one of two free throws to help Moanalua drew even at 6-6 for the final time before Findlay Prep went on a 13-3 run to end the first quarter.
Williams-Goss hit two shots and 7-foot-1 center Kingsley Okoroh came off the bench to dominate the paint with the final four points of the quarter as the Pilots led 19-9.
Pu‘ulei-Auld, who led Moanalua with six points in the first half, hit a midrange jumper to cut the lead down to 8, but Moanalua got no closer.
The Pilots ended the quarter on an 18-8 run as Dion Wade and Lucas Antunez each chipped in 3-pointers to build a 40-22 halftime lead.
Despite the deficit, Moanalua held its own against the Pilots’ man-to-man defense, committing only seven turnovers while forcing five of its own.
“I thought we tried to compete and tried to do good things, but their ability to be amazing athletes … and their length just got to us,” Moanalua coach Greg Tacon said.
Findlay Prep wore out Na Menehune in the second half, outscoring them 30-15, including 13-3 in the fourth quarter.
Williams-Goss added three rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals to go along with his game-high 17 points.
“I wouldn’t trade him for any point guard in the country,” Simon said. “I think he is the best true point guard in the country.”
Findlay Prep delivered a little showtime in the fourth quarter as Okoroh took a sweet pass for a two-handed dunk and Stanford Robinson, an Indiana commit, turned a steal into a monster one-handed dunk on the fast break to elicit oohs and aahs from the crowd.
Sophomore Eliet Donley hit two 3-pointers and added seven points for Moanalua, which will play Kapolei today in a consolation game at 2.
“(The game) is for memories. It does nothing for you in the state of Hawaii to be honest with you because you’ll see nothing like that,” Tacon said. “Tomorrow we’ll get back to playing teams we can compete against.”
Montrose 60, Kahuku 28
Kawehena Johnson hit four 3-pointers and seven of his eight free-throw attempts, but his 21 points weren’t enough as the Red Raiders were routed by the Mustangs of Rockville, Md.
No other Kahuku player scored more than two points.
John Carroll 69, Hilo 26
Kimbal Mackenzie posted 15 points to lead the Patriots past the Vikings.
Rodney Elliot and Trystan Pratapas each added 11 points for John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.).
Hilo’s leading scorer was Kamuela Patnaude with seven points.
Coolidge 64, Kapolei 43
Kory Cooley had 15 points and David Kadiri added 14 as the Colts topped the Hurricanes.
Elijah Gipson scored a game-high 16, and Curtis Tavares drained three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points to lead Kapolei.
Coolidge (D.C.) led 32-22 at halftime.
Punahou Boys Invitational
Maryknoll 54, Kailua 44
Wilson 56, Mililani 41
King Kekaulike 60, Punahou II 59
G.W. Carver 66, St. Francis 39
Melbourne 71, Campbell 45
Benson Tech 80, Farrington 56
Baldwin 55, Konawaena 52, OT
Punahou I 73, Hawaii Prep 41
Walter Wong Invitational
Leilehua 44, Damien 43
Mililani 44, University 41
St. Francis 48, Castle 39
Saint Louis 62, Pearl City 48