The race slowed to a crawl, but No. 6 Kamehameha-Hawaii proved championship-worthy anyway.
The Warriors, coming off a stunning win over Punahou on Wednesday, got 15 points from Lanaki Apele and 11 from Kaeo Alapai for a 53-41 win over Kailua in the final of the St. Francis/Merv Lopes Classic last night at Manoa Valley Recreation Center.
KS-Hawaii (13-1 overall) showed the ability to run like classic Big Island championship teams, but also was able to win at a slow tempo against Coach Tim Harrison’s physical, fast Surfriders.
The game was tight until the final quarter, when the Warriors’ 2-3 zone thwarted the Surfriders. Kailua (6-8 overall) shot 3-for-18 in the fourth quarter. Misfires from the foul line didn’t help, either. The Surfriders were 8-for-17 from the charity stripe.
"I expected a battle. We had to grind it out," Warriors coach Dominic Pacheco said.
"Oahu teams are physical. Kailua showed heart in the first half and we had to dig deep and keep our composure," said forward Jayce Carvalho, an HPU baseball signee who was named to the all-tournament team.
Apele, who had 15 points, was named tourney MVP.
"Now that we’ve been here, we see what we’ve got to do to get better and prepare for the state tournament," Apele said. "But first we’ve got to take care of business in the BIIF."
The game was up-tempo and highly entertaining in the first half as KS-Hawaii raced to an 18-8 lead, forcing 10 turnovers by Kailua before the second quarter.
However, the Warriors began to tire in their fourth game in four days, and Kailua began scoring on the press at a furious rate. Chevy Mikaele hit a 3-pointer and a layup to bring the Surfriders all the way to a 27-all tie.
Kailua tied the game twice more in the second half, but never took the lead. It was 35-all after Keanu Vela’s fast-break layup off a feed from Kila Zuttermeister midway through the third quarter.
The Warriors scored the next four points, however, and gradually stretched the lead to nine on a layup by Apele and a baseline jumper from Carvalho.
Jacob Kackley hustled for a team-high 11 caroms.
Ethan Mahaulu led Kailua with 11 points and a game-high 12 boards. Mikaele added nine points.
Kailua shot 29 percent from the field, but matched KS-Hawaii’s intensity from start to finish. The battle on the boards was nearly even; KS-Hawaii had a 45-44 edge.
The Warriors had just six turnovers; Kailua finished with 17.
MERV LOPES/ST. FRANCIS SCHOOL HOOPS CLASSIC
Kahuku 86, Kapolei 46
Kalaheo 46, St. Francis 41
Pearl City 42, Houston AK 39
Farrington 53, Saint Louis 35
Leilehua 49, Damien 34
Punahou 56, Kamehameha II 31
Leading scorers–Kah: Kawehena Johnson 18. Kapo: Knight 10. Kalh: Derrick Morgan 19. StF: Keoni-Ray Tom Millare 15. PC: Josiah Demelo 14. HOU: Scott Kramer 12. Farr: J.P. Saycon 10. StL: Nate Mantanona 15. Lei: Dillon Pau’u 11. Dam: Lonn Iwashita 8. Pun: DeForest Buckner 13. KS: Noah Borden 6.
NA MENEHUNE CLASSIC
El Toro (Calif.) 62, Mililani 44
Academy of the Pacific 47, Moanalua 38
St. Joseph 44, Waianae 41
Kaimuki 50, Maryknoll 44
Waipahu 48, McKinley 46
University 59, Waiakea 43
Mid-Pacific 46, Punahou II 40
Roosevelt 59, Kaiser 56
Leading scorers–ET: Fil Perkins 13, Ryan Hardy 11. AOP: Kona Makaula 20. Moan: Dexter Williams 27. Wain: Devon Seabrooks 14. StJ: Sebastian Ohara-Saft 12, William Scanlan-Leite 12. Kaim: Tevin Nishiyama 11, John Kakitani 13, Mason Kualii-Moe 12. Waip: Daeniel Cullen Diomanpo 17, Wesley Nagaseu 14. UHS: Peter Fee 14, Joseph Choy 12, Andrew Canencia 12. MPI: Patrick Matthews 23. Pun: Alvin Kwok 12, Jeremy Lee 10. Roos: Micah Ikari 10, Brendan Nakatani 11. Doug Gehring 12, Mark Guirguis 10.
McKinley 46, Maryknoll 38
‘Iolani II 56, Waiakea 50
Waianae 61, Kaiser 54
Kaimuki 36, Waipahu 35
Leading scorers–Mryk: Austin Gaskins 17. McK: Rio Kwan 15. Iol: Taylor Lau 12, Tracy Young 10. Waik: Isaak Jando 27, Cameron Ita 10. Wain: Devon Seabrooks 13, Anthony Niderschmidt 12, Matthew Ramalia 17. Kais: Preston Wuich 10, Doug Gehring 10, Mark Guirguis 10. Waip: Daeniel Cullen Diomanpo 16, Duketoa Tili 10. Kaim: Mason Kualii-Moe 15.
Fil Perkins, El Toro
Ryan Hardy, El Toro
Kona Makaula, AOP
Michael Urcia, AOP
Patrick Matthews, Mid-Pacific
Hassan Richardson, Mililani
Kaipo Pale, Roosevelt
Sebastian Ohara-Saft, St. Joseph
Keven Amaral, Moanalua
Dexter Williams, Moanalua
Boys junior varsity
‘Iolani 63, Damien 48
Kamehameha Blue 76, Hawaii Baptist 36
Saint Louis 41, Mid-Pacific 31
Punahou Gold 51, Punahou Blue 43