It was a battle best left to seasoned hands.
In the end, ‘Iolani had just enough big-game experience, rallying from a nine-point deficit for an astounding 68-64 overtime win over Mid-Pacific last night to capture the final girls basketball state-tournament berth in the Interscholastic League of Honolulu.
The Raiders’ win closed the league’s postseason tourney. ‘Iolani (16-7 overall) will begin play in the state tourney on Tuesday. The seedings and pairings will be announced by the HHSAA tomorrow.
A near-capacity crowd at ‘Iolani’s gym saw one of the most entertaining, uptempo games of the season. It also saw senior guard Lahela Usui score the final go-ahead bucket on a steal and bank shot with 1:57 remaining in overtime. Usui then got open as her defender gambled on a steal and hit a 15-foot banker to give the Raiders a 64-61 lead with 1:20 left.
Mid-Pacific’s Kiana Robertson missed an open 3-pointer from the left wing, and Usui hit a free throw with 32 seconds left for a four-point lead. Senior guard Kylie Maeda’s foul shots made it 67-61 for ‘Iolani with 13 seconds to go, but Robertson swished a 25-footer to halve the lead to 67-64 with 8 seconds remaining.
Maeda then iced the win with a free throw in the final 6 seconds, ending a game that saw MPI put on a tremendous shooting clinic from long range.
"We got a little frozen in the beginning, but after halftime, every time they hit a 3, nobody dropped their heads," Usui said. "We just keep our composure and run."
MPI coach Wes Masuda saw no consolation in knowing his team played championship-quality basketball.
"Unfortunately, there’s not going to be a state tournament for us," he said. "Our team fought hard for our seniors, to go to states."
MPI, ranked No. 8, finished 15-8 overall. Ashley Yamachika, one of three seniors on the squad, led with 19 points and added five assists. Megan Kinoshita, a junior guard, had 16 points, and Taylor Babbitt tallied 14 points and seven boards. Mahina Docktor added seven points and nine boards, and Robertson had a team-high seven assists.
After shooting 50 percent from the 3-point arc in regulation (8-for-16), the Owls were 1-for-5 from deep in overtime. For much of the night, they outplayed the Raiders, who had 26 turnovers.
Fifth-ranked ‘Iolani was the more aggressive team after halftime, getting to the line and shooting 15-for-21 there (71 percent). MPI was 4-for-9 from the line during that same stretch.
Usui finished with 17 points and five steals after scoring just one point in a flat first half by the home team. Sophomore Alex Masaquel was the biggest spark in the fourth quarter, amassing six boards and three blocks to stymie the Owls’ fast break. She finished with 13 points, 18 boards and six blocks.
"The fourth quarter, I said, ‘This is not going to happen.’ We didn’t work this hard just to lose," Masaquel said.
Maeda finished with 13 points, as did Saphyre Rezentes, who dished out five assists against MPI’s tough man defense.
"You gotta give Mid-Pacific credit. They shot well and handled our pressure well," ‘Iolani coach Eddie Maruyama said. "But our team has a lot of character. I’m happy for the girls. They worked hard."
It was a heartbreaking loss for the Owls, who seemed to have ‘Iolani’s number after three regular-season losses to the Raiders. They took a 13-12 lead on Babbitt’s 16-footer to start the second quarter and held that lead until the final minute of regulation. Behind the hot long-range shooting of Kinoshita and Yamachika — each finished with four 3-pointers — MPI went on a 9-2 run to close the first half.
Kinoshita scored five points in a row to close the half, giving MPI a 29-20 lead and silencing the Raiders’ home crowd.
Handling ‘Iolani’s fullcourt press with success, the Owls got another 3-pointer from Kinoshita to open a 39-29 lead with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter.
The Raiders chipped away, but MPI still had a decent lead at 53-46 after Babbitt hit a bank shot from the left elbow with 4:07 remaining.
‘Iolani rallied to within 57-56 after a layup by Masaquel, but with little more than a minute left in regulation, Yamachika launched a 3-pointer and missed. That gave ‘Iolani the ball, and Rezentes scored on a drive for a 58-57 lead with 44 seconds left. MPI got a 3-pointer from Yamachika with 24 seconds left for a 60-58 lead, but Maeda scored on a whirling spin move through the paint to tie it at 60-all with 14 ticks left.
Yamachika’s open 3-point try at the buzzer was long, and the game went into overtime.
Masuda sees a bright college career for Yamachika.
"She gave us her leadership. She’s a quiet leader who puts up numbers, yet she always practices hard," he said. "She never lets on that she might have a sore knee or anything."
"She played her heart out and left everything on the court," Maeda said of her counterpart.
MID-PACIFIC–Megan Kinoshita 16, Ashley Yamachika 19, Sariah Kanekoa 3, Taylor Babbitt 14, Mahina Docktor 7, Kiana Robertson 5, Jordan Joy 0.
IOLANI–Kylie Maeda 13, Saphyre Rezentes 13, Katie Tom 0, Erin Napier 2, Kaitlyn Shikada 0, Abrianna Johnson-Edwards 4, Lahela Usui 17, Alyssa Li’ili’i 0, Alex Masaquel 13, Taimane Passi 6.
3-point goals–Mid-Pacific 9 (Kinoshita 4, Yamachika 4, Robertson). ‘Iolani 1 (Rezentes).
ILH Division I Boys
No. 1 ‘Iolani 56, Damien 37
Josiah Sukumaran scored 12 points and Trevyn Tulonghari added 11 as the Raiders coasted past the visiting Monarchs in league play.
Lonn Iwashita had a game-high 14 points for Damien.
At ‘Iolani gym
DAMIEN –AJ Lee 8, Alverne Ribao 0, Aaron Miyahira 0, Dylan Yonamine-Baysa 10, Rusty Kauahikaua 0, Oliver Shaw 0, Ashton Obrero 0, Benjamin Gochenouer 0, Nate Ariola 0, Mikaele Nakamura 0, Jed Lim 5, Lonn Iwashita 14, Taylor Abordo 0.
‘IOLANI –Jourdan Simmonds 12, Drew Uchiyama 7, Reid Saito 2, Kainoa Scheer 7, Josiah Sukumaran 9, Austin O’Leary 2, Trevyn Tulonghari 11, Gabriel Vega 3, Andrew Okimura 0, Adam Ching 2, Keahi Hogan 0, Duke Pauli 1.
3-point goals–Damien 2 (Yonamine-Baysa 2). ‘Iolani 5 (Simmonds 2, Uchiyama 2, Tulonghari).
No. 3 Punahou 40, St. Louis 17
Buffanblu post player DeForest Buckner led all scorers with 17 points as Punahou dispatched the visiting Crusaders.
At Punahou gym
|St. louis (2-8)||6||6||5||0||—||17|
ST. LOUIS–Keenan Ayau-Paulos 0, Eli Teo 0, Quinn Arakawa 0, Acen Cabral 5, Nate Mantanona 3, Iolana Akau 0, Max Botticelli 1, Jaron Hall-Moniz 2, JV Caires 2, Kamalei Correa 4, Reeves Koehler 0.
PUNAHOU–Patrick O’Neill 0, Sean Gruebner 0, Steven Lakalaka 2, Jaren McCartney 0, Lowell Tong 6, Caden McAfee-Torco 0, Taylor Henderson 0, Nicholas Velasquez 3, Malik Johnson 9, Christopher McLaren 2, Kupono Fey 1, DeForest Buckner 17, Luke Kaumatule 0.
3-point goals–St. Louis none. Punahou 1 (Velasquez).
OIA Red Boys Playoffs
Mililani 62, No. 6 Roosevelt, 57
Hassan Richardson scored a team-high 18 points as the Trojans held off a furious rally by the host Rough Riders and advanced in the winners bracket.
Kaipo Pale had a double-double (20 points, 15 rebounds) for Roosevelt, who couldn’t overcome an 8-for-25 performance from the free-throw line.
At Roosevelt gym
MILILANI–Ryan Jacobs 3, Brady Spiridigliozzi 8, Kaimihoku Wilson 5, Josh Lenchanko 9, Robbie Griffin 2, Alex Bumgarner 6, Riley Borges 9, Hassan Richardson 18, Ervan Jean Pierre 2.
ROOSEVELT–Shai Brown 8, Micah Ikari 2, Ese Tago 6, Brendan Nakatani 6, Kaipo Pale 20, Asten Koki 3, Troy Nakasuji 2, J.J. Mariano 10.
3-point goals–Mililani (Jacobs 1, Lenchanko 2, Richardson 2). Roosevelt (Brown 1, Mariano 1).
No. 7 Radford 62, Kalani 43
Nashon George scored 19 of his game-high 26 points in the second as the Rams advanced with a convincing victory over the Falcons in an elimination game of the OIA Red playoffs. George also added 20 rebounds. Point guard T.J Reid added eight rebounds and seven assists for Radford.
Kalani was led by Imani Washington’s 13 points.
At Radford gym
KALANI–Imani Washington 13, Remy Omori 0, Kory Kashiwabara 10, Dru Reaves 0, Tatsuya Ono 7, Takezo Iguchi 4, Benson Leung 0, Jordan Yogi 3, Nick Huth 6, Nick Gamboa 0.
RADFORD–T.J. Reid 7, Glenn Castil 0, Wayne Keys Jr. 6, D.J. Huggins 0, Steven Watkins 4, Nashon George 26, Zach Pelzl 6, Dorsay Norris 8, Roscoe Kalilikane 3, Tevita Baravilala 2.
3-point goals–Kalani none. Radford 1 (Kalilikane).
No. 9 Kahuku 55, Moanalua 52
Kawe Johnson and Galeai Malufau each scored 13 points at the Red Raiders remained unbeated in the Red division playoffs. Kahuku now plays Mililani at McKinley a week from today for a berth in the championship game.
Dexter Williams scored a game-high 16 points for Na Menehune, who travel to Kaimuki 6 p.m. Monday in an elimination game.
At Kahuku gym
MOANALUA–Bronson Kepa 0, Aaron Davis 3, Keven Amaral 3, Dexter Williams 16, Wesley Armbrust 15, Brandon Guerreo 9, Dominique Jones 0, Carl Ko 2, Dillon Turk 4, Richard Villasenor 0.
KAHUKU–Evan Ramirez 8, Kawahena Johnson 13, Mua Malufau 13, Kai Saniatan 0, KJ Uluave 8, Danny Aki 0, Bronson Beatty 4, Mekeli Fiso 0, Shairone Thompson 9.
3-point goals–Moanalua 5 (Armburst 2, Amaral, Davis, Guerreo). Kahuku 2 (Johnson 2).
Kaimuki 50, Campbell, 34
Down by one point at the half, the Bulldogs outscored the Sabers 31-14 in the second half to keep their season alive.
Tevin Nishiyama had a game-high 15 points for Kaimuki, which went 11-for-15 from the free-throw line in the final 8 minutes.
Fouina Haskins scored 10 points for Campbell, which saw its season end.
At Kaimuki gym
CAMPBELL–Ryan Ramil 0, B.J. Halmos 2, Manuel Sy 0, C.J. Ramos 3, Micah Cadiente 0, Christopher Crawford 9, Fouina Haskins 10, Jarrin Bannister 2, Allan Hanes 8.
KAIMUKI–Nicholas Motellang 5, Mason Kualii-Moe 11, Chester Sua 1, Tevin Nishiyama 15, Siaosi Halaapiapi 6, Maui Travis 0, Dio Talung 0, Jonn Kakitani 8, Ken Hashimoto 0, Jordan Gestrich 0, Tole Noa 0, A.J. DeJesus 0, Lio Kelekelio 4.
3-point goals–Campbell (Crawford 1, Hanes 1). KaImuki (Nishiyama 1).