DeForest Buckner’s putback as time expired in overtime gave No. 5 Punahou a stunning 53-52 win in overtime over No. 3 Farrington last night in the opening round of the St. Francis/Merv Lopes Classic at Manoa Recreation Center.
Buckner finished with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Seven of those caroms were on the offensive glass, including the grab that led to the game-winning bucket.
"I told myself, ‘I gotta get that rebound,’ " Buckner said of his quick follow shot. "I’m thinking about the clock. I did panic."
It was a payback win of sorts. Farrington routed Punahou a month ago, 60-43, at Hemmeter Fieldhouse. Buckner was unavailable at the time due to a knee injury. His return made a big difference; Punahou outrebounded the physical Govs 27-19, corralling 15 offensive rebounds.
"We executed pretty well down the stretch," Punahou coach Darren Matsuda said. "Farrington beat us good the first time. Farrington’s an awesome team. They’re well-coached and they play with a lot of heart."
Meanwhile, somewhere in American Samoa, Lancelot "K.K." Williams will likely be frustrated by news of the final score. Farrington’s key low-post scorer, a college prospect as a linebacker, is playing in the Samoa Bowl this week.
"K.K. would’ve scored three or four points for us," Govs coach Allan Silva modestly said of his leading scorer and rebounder.
Jeffrey Madarang led the Govs with 19 points, including three treys. J.P. Saycon and 6-foot-6 Viane Vaina added 12 points each.
"It’s a great experience for us tonight. We’re going back to the house and just continue to get better," Silva said. "A lot of things we could’ve done first, second, third, fourth quarter. Punahou’s a much improved team than when they played us before."
For Punahou, staying alive in the winners’ bracket is nice.
"I’m relieved. It’s a good experience for our kids. We’re exactly halfway through the season, so this was a litmus test for us," Matsuda said. "You can’t hope for anything more being an inexperienced team."
Williams and the Govs won’t get another shot at the Buffanblu because Farrington is mandated by the Oahu Interscholastic Association to play in Division II. This was the last chance to face a D-I program ranked as high as Punahou.
Punahou used a mix of 2-3 and 1-2-2 matchup zones to slow the pace, but halfcourt traps proved most effective. Farrington committed 25 turnovers, nullifying a good shooting performance (50 percent, 20-for-40) from the field.
The game was tight from the opening tip, which is why Saycon’s spinning halfcourt shot from the sideline — all net — was a factor as the third quarter closed with Farrington down 36-33.
In the late going, Farrington had a 46-44 lead after free throws by Madarang with 32 seconds remaining in regulation.
Malik Johnson (six points) swished a 15-foot baseline jumper to tie it, and Nick Velasquez came up with a steal on the inbounds pass. The sophomore hit two foul shots for a 48-46 Punahou lead with 13.2 seconds to go in regulation.
Saycon drew a foul on a drive through the middle and sank two free throws to tie it at 48 with 2.2 seconds left. Velasquez missed a 3-pointer from the right wing at the buzzer.
From there, Punahou showed more heads-up play than the Govs. A technical foul on Ryan Reyes allowed Velasquez to give Punahou a 50-48 lead with two foul shots.
Matsuda pulled another card from his sleeve, lining up his defense in a 1-3-1 zone to start overtime. A free throw by Reyes tied it at 50-all with less than 30 seconds left, but Paul Solomon inexplicably fouled Punahou’s Patrick O’Neill on the ensuing inbounds pass.
O’Neill hit one of two free throws with 26.5 seconds to play, and Punahou retained possession on a hustle play by Johnson. However, he missed a 1-and-1 opportunity after Saycon committed his fifth personal foul.
Farrington took a 52-51 lead on Vaina’s follow shot with 9 seconds left. From there, the Buffanblu drew up a baseline jumper for Johnson, who missed from the arc. Buckner was ready, however, battling Vaina under the glass for the winning outback.
After falling behind early, the Buffanblu got a boost from its second unit, sparked by Steven Lakalaka and Velasquez.
"On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, we’re at about a 6," Buckner said.
Na Menehune Holiday Classic
|Roosevelt 47||University 45|
|AOP 67||Waipahu 29|
|Kaiser 60||Waiakea 47|
|Moanalua 63||McKinley 45|
|El Toro (Calif.) 76||Mid-Pacific 50|
|Waianae 59||Kaimuki 42|
|St. Joseph 56||Maryknoll 41|
|Mililani 51||Punahou II|
High scorers–Roos: Kaipo Pale 20; UHS: Guilherme Arias 13; AOP: Kona Makaula 23; Waip: Duketoa Tili 5; Marc Moises 5; Kais: Preston Wuich 16; Waik: Isaak Jando 21; Moan: Keven Amaral 16, Dexter Williams 15; McK: Alex Ironside 10, Wilhelm Rivera 10; ET: Ryan Hardy 15; MPI: Patrick Matthews, 16; Wain: Paaga Misipati 13; Kaim: Mason Kualii-Moe 14; StJ: Sebastian Ohara-Saft 28; Mryk: Wyatt Pedro 9. Mil: Hassan Richardson 20; Pun: Alvin Kwock 11.
St. Francis/ Merv Lopes Classic
At Manoa Rec gyms
|Kamehameha 50||Kahuku 41|
|Kailua 52||Saint Louis 41|
|Leilehua 41||Kalaheo 37|
|Houston (Alaska) 43||Saint Francis 41|
|Damien 49||Kapolei 41|
|Pearl City 51||Castle 44|
|Kamehameha II 73||Christian Academy 33|
High scorers–Kam: Shaun Kagawa 13; Kah: Mekeli Fiso 12; Shairone Thompson 12; Kail: Rhys Nakakura 13; StL: Nate Mantanona 12; Lei: N/A. Kalh: Joshua Ko 12; Houston: Scott Kramer 20; StF: Keoni Tom-Millare 14; Kapo: Jared Milare 14; Dam: Dylan Yonamine-Baysa 7; PC: Kailon Sabate 10; Cast: Jordan Aleki 21; KS II: Noah Borden 14; CA: Jasen Ocol 10.
Waipahu JV Tournament
|Leilehua 40||Campbell 27|
|Pearl City 26||Kailua 23|
|Moanalua 43||Kapolei 25|
|Radford 46||Waipahu 18|
No. 8 Kapolei 47, Aiea 25
The Hurricanes jumped on Na Alii from the start to stay perfect in league play. Kawehi Hagi scored 13 points to lead Kapolei.
At Kapolei gym
AIEA–Celeste Fong 12, Kana Ogawa 0, Michlae Higa 5, Lauren Nagai 0, Taryn Hannemann 1, Francine Martinez 2, Czarina Kadokawa 0, Taylor Fetui 2, Brooke Taiese 3, Macylynn Lautalo 0.
KAPOLEI–Krystal Jacobs 7, Toe Motu 9, Kaity Wills 6, Noelle Garland 0, Paige Kaea 0, Carly Gaea 0, Kawehi Hagi 13, Aija Johnson 5, Tamar Rodrigues 2, Kayla Fuatago 5.
3-point goals–Aiea 2 (Fong 2). Kapolei 2 (Jacobs, Hagi).
Junior varsity–Kapolei 48, Aiea 14