DeForest Buckner amassed 19 points and 23 rebounds as No. 6 Punahou handed No. 3 AOP its first loss in league play, 53-40, last night at Hemmeter Fieldhouse.
A crowd of about 400 saw Punahou improve to 5-1 in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu (18-4 overall) with an all-out defensive effort. Malik Johnson led the way, using his 6-foot-6 frame to battle AOP’s top scorer, Micah Dunhour, in the low post.
Dunhour finished with 17 points on 7-for-14 shooting, but he never got into a rhythm against the Buffanblu and their double-teaming, man-to-man defense. Johnson’s relentless effort set the tone; he was still diving for loose balls with a minute left and Punahou ahead by 14.
The Dolphins dropped to 3-1 in ILH play (13-4 overall), despite leading for most of the first half in Punahou’s gym.
"Like I told the boys, this is our house and nobody can come into our house and disrespect us, come in thinking they can beat us," said Buckner, who ended the first half with a rim-rocking slam dunk on a fast-break feed from Patrick O’Neill. That gave Punahou a 24-21 lead at intermission and got the Buffanblu crowd into the game.
Buckner, now listed at 6-8, dominated the third quarter as the visitors went cold from the field and the line. AOP was 0-for-5 at the charity stripe and Buckner grabbed 10 boards in the stanza.
Reserve guard Nicholas Velasquez added fuel to the fire by hitting back-to-back 3-pointers as Punahou went on a 16-6 run to start the second half. Buckner’s free throws, plus a putback, opened the lead to 45-29 with 3:47 remaining. AOP got no closer than 12 the rest of the way.
In all, 14 of Buckner’s caroms were on the offensive glass. Punahou won the battle on the boards 37-20 and limited the Dolphins to 40 percent shooting (17-for-43) from the field.
AOP finished just 5-for-17 from the foul line, a cold streak that Punahou knew well last week. The Buffanblu were 7-for-22 from the line in a loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii. That inspired players to have a meeting and a shooting workout at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday before class.
"We wanted to practice our free throws," Buckner said. "(Kamehameha-Hawaii) outhustled us and put everything on the line. Tonight, we wanted to make a statement that we can hustle."
Punahou shot better last night — 14-for-27 — and gained some confidence by beating an AOP squad that knocked off Kamehameha recently in a nonconference matchup. It all went back to that semifinal loss to Kamehameha-Hawaii in the St. Francis/Merv Lopes Classic.
"We learned a big lesson from that game. You have to stay in that mode and have consistent effort no matter what the score is," Buffanblu coach Darren Matsuda said.
Punahou tested AOP with a 1-2-2 zone early, but shelved it quickly.
"They made us pay, so we went to the man-to-man. We really had to fight," Matsuda said.
Officials called it tight early on, but gradually allowed more contact between the two tall teams in the second and third quarters. That seemed to benefit the more physical, scrappy squad — Punahou.
"Officials are something we can’t control," Matsuda said. "We just try to adjust."
If playing with a sense of urgency matters, Punahou appears to be ready now.
"It’s really close this year, so you’ve got to really bring it every time," he said.
Velasquez, a sophomore, added 10 points. Johnson finished with five points, seven boards and four blocks.
Dunhour added six rebounds and three blocks to lead the Dolphins.
AOP–Michael Urcia 0, Moritz Krume 6, Micah Dunhour 17, Wilson Macleod 6, Drew Vienna 4, David Daniel 4, Kona Makaula 3, Marshall Gourley 0.
PUNAHOU–Patrick O’Neill 6, Bryan Matsukawa 3, Sean Gruebner 0, Steven Lakalaka 0, Lowell Tong 3, Nicholas Velasquez 10, Malik Johnson 5, Christopher McLaren 5, Kupono Fey 2, DeForest Buckner 19.
Saint Louis 56, Damien 50
Acen Cabral scored eight of his 18 points in the fourth period as the Crusaders rallied past the Monarchs.
Quinn Arakawa added six points and Correa had five in the fourth for Saint Louis, which trailed 38-33 after three.
Damien’s Benjamin Gochenouer scored 11 points.
At Damien gym
|Saint Louis (2-2)||11||12||10||23||—||56|
SAINT LOUIS— Keenan Ayau-Paulos 0, Eli Teo 0, Quinn Arakawa 10, Acen Cabral 18, Nate Mantanona 9, JV Caires 2, Max Botticelli 2, Jared Tomaszek 4, Kamalei Correa 9, Kurt Vegas 0, Reeves Koehler 0, Joseph Kanoa 2.
DAMIEN–AJ Lee 0, Alvern Ribao 0, Dylan Yonamine-Baysa 7, Rusty Kauahikaua 7, Oliver Shaw 3, Ashton Obrero 4, Benjamin Gochenouer 11, Nate Ariola 3, Mikaele Nakamura 0, Jed Lim 6, Lonn Iwashita 9, Taylor Abordo 0.
3-point goals–Saint Louis 2 (Cabral, Mantanona). Damien 1 (Gochenouer).
ILH Division II Boys
‘Iolani II 60, Hanalani 45
Maika Kealoha and Trey Muraoka scored 10 points each as the Raiders defeated the Royals.
Aaron Schoniwitz led Hanalani with 14 points.
At ‘Iolani gym
|‘Iolani II (3-2)||8||21||11||20||—||60|
HANALANI–Pomi Milton 3, Lucas Leaman 3, Kainoa Souza Chaves 2, Michael Milton 0, Brandon Kubo 0, Aaron Schoniwitz 14, Zach Relles 11, Nathaniel Lim 0, T.J. Olson 0, Duane Teem 2, Kainoa Peterson 10.
‘IOLANI II–Maika Kealoha 10, Trey Muraoka 10, Shovan Datta 5, Shane Killeen 2, Tracy Young 6, Schuyler Shigemura 0, Taylor Lau 0, Brandon Kaiura 8, Shayd Shinsato 7, Austin Gima 9, Jonathan Like-Uehara 3.
3-point goals–Hanalani 3 (Schoniwitz 2, Milton). ‘Iolani II 2 (Shinsato, Gima).
St. Francis 47, Punahou II 45
The Saints pulled off a slim victory over the Buffanblu to stay undefeated in their conference.
Asutin Ursua and Blayne Won scored 14 points apiece to lead St. Francis.
At Punahou II gym
|St. Francis (3-0)||10||9||11||17||—||47|
|Punahou II (2-1)||8||10||9||18||—||45|
ST. FRANCIS–Austin Ursua 14, Sosiua Havea 0, Drew Wilson 5, Matthew Nuumania 7, Kaohukea Sandborn 0, Shabir Lynton 1, Jia Hao Wu 0, Keoni Tom Millare 3, Kai Sun 1, Kalei Davis 2, Blayne Won 14.
PUNAHOU II–Alvin Kwok 12, Benjamin Ota 0, Chase Tamashiro 2, Matthew Taniguchi 4, Jeremy Lee 0, Daley King 12, Jonathan Kam 2, Dean Matsuo 8, Travis Matsuzaki 5, Creighton Woo 0, Alexander Chang 0, Timothy Moody 0, Liloa Travis 0.
3-point goals–St. Francis none. Punahou II 1 (King).