Friday, October 9, 2015         

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Late rally carries Yates over Kalaheo

By Jerry Campany


Kalaheo won't win the ‘Iolani Classic, but it certainly won its share of respect with a gritty effort in the first round.

Yates (Texas) erased a 17-point deficit in eight minutes to beat a scrappy Kalaheo squad 76-73 in the first round of the ‘Iolani Classic on Tuesday night.

"The whole thing, you could tell they were executing what the coach called," Yates coach Greg Wise said. "They were focused and playing hard. They just did everything they needed to do except win."

Kalei Zuttermeister scored 24 points, 18 of them on 3-pointers, and Josh Ko added 19 as the Mustangs took advantage of a pressing Yates defense to give itself a shot at the upset.

The Lions went on a 14-0 run in the third quarter and took their first lead in the second half when JC Washington hit a pair of free throws with 5:15 left. The Mustangs didn't fold, tying it at 73 when Ko drove the lane and layed one in among Yates' trees.

After a turnover and a basket by Darrion Martin gave the Lions the advantage, Kalaheo coach Alika Smith ordered his team to take the air out of the ball and wait for the last shot.

The showdown became 6-foot Kalaheo guard Salila Tucker vs. 6-foot-7 forward Melvin Swift of Yates at the top of the key. Tucker managed to milk 20 seconds off the clock before Swift swiped at the ball and sent it bouncing slowly across the halfcourt line. Referees called Tucker for over and back when he retrieved it, giving Yates the ball and a 2-point lead.

"We wanted 10 more seconds but that is how the ball goes," Smith said. "We were going for the win. We had a 3-point play set up."

Martin missed the second of two free throws, giving Kalaheo 25.1 seconds to get another shot off, but the Mustangs were called for another backcourt violation with 15.4 seconds left. Joseph Anderson could have put Kalaheo away with two free throws but missed them both, giving the Mustangs the ball with 13.2 seconds left.

Kalaheo broke Yates' press and Ko took an off-balance desperation 3-pointer from the wing, but it hit the back of the rim and fell to a Yates rebounder.

"I actually thought it was going to go in, Ko said. "I was off balance so I wasn't going for the net, but I thought it might bank in."

The Lions appeared to punctuate the win with a dunk by Swift off a nifty pass off the glass from Emmanuel Bradley, but it came a split second after the horn sounded to end the game.

Martin led Yates with 19 points. The Lions were 15-for-39 from the line; the Mustangs were 11-for-17.

Yates escaped to face La Lumiere (Ind.) on Thursday at 3:30 p.m. Kalaheo plays Tsinghua of China at 9:30 a.m.

After the scare Kalaheo put into it, Yates expects to be a bit more dangerous.

"The first half I think our guys thought that it was the first team we were going to play and weren't focused," Wise said. "That was the worst half our team has played the whole year in terms of intensity and I think our guys didn't think (Kalaheo) would be as good as they were.

"In the second half, we got the energy we should have had for the whole game."

"We are not going to see anything like that in Hawaii," Ko said. "I wish we could have won, but I am proud of my team the way we fought. Coach Alika told us to just play Mustang basketball and not be intimidated, and it worked."

‘Iolani 46, McKinley 27

Erik Yamada scored nine points and Marc Ma and Chris Gallacher each added seven as the host Raiders blew out the Tigers to open the tournament.

‘Iolani led 13-5 after the first quarter and 30-12 at the half and had 10 players score in the blowout. Kui Williams led the Tigers with seven points.

‘Iolani moves on to play Oak Hill, Va., at 5 p.m. on Thursday, while McKinley plays Kamehameha the same day at 11 a.m.

La Lumiere 75, Tsinghua 39

Torren Jones and Detrick Mostella each scored 17 points and the Lakers were never challenged by the Dragons.

Mostella scored 15 of his points on 3-pointers and all of Jones' scores came from either driving to the basket on seven field goals or three free throws. Adi Aruna added nine points for La Lumiere.

Tsinghua was led by Hao Wang, who scored 13 points. The Dragons outscored the Lakers 20-15 in the fourth quarter, but it was never close.

Oak Hill 78, Kamehameha 37

Oak Hill added to its highlight reel with a blowout win over Kamehameha.

The defending national champions substituted freely and got 23 points from R.J. Curington and 12 each from Chris Tang, Sindarius Thornwell and Troy Williams. Kamehameha was led by Austin Gerard with 12 points. Makoa Camanse-Stevens was held to seven points, two of them on an impressive drive and reverse layup.

Oak Hill moves on to play 'Iolani at 5 p.m. on Thursday, while Kamehameha plays McKinley on Thursday at 11 a.m.

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