Pahoa nearly gave the game away. Just as quickly, the Daggers snatched it right back.
It seemed a collapse was imminent, but the Hawaiian Airlines/HHSAA Boys Basketball State Championships Division II defending champions regained their composure just in time. Pahoa held on to defeat Island Pacific Academy 48-39 last night at Kaimuki High School to advance to the title game for the second straight year.
The second-seeded Daggers (11-6) of the Big Island Interscholastic Federation can make history today by becoming the first Division II repeat champion, but must get through top-seeded Farrington (17-1) to do so. The teams tip off at 5 p.m. today at the Stan Sheriff Center.
Pahoa opened up the fourth quarter with a 33-21 lead, but saw that advantage dwindle to four points with 4:15 to play, thanks to a 9-1 Navigators run.
That wouldn’t have been possible without a 1-for-10 Pahoa effort on free throws over that stretch. They finished the game 8-for-23.
"We spend a lot of time on our free throws. It was just one of those nights," Pahoa coach Eric Yoshimura said. "We just couldn’t hit them tonight. That’s going to be important in the championship game. Hopefully we fix that."
Still, the Big Island champs had enough big-game experience not to panic. Six-foot sophomore swingman Nicklas Fisher, who put in a team-high 14 points, scored on a strong take to end the run, and IPA got no closer than six the rest of the way.
"Some teams are happy to be in the state tournament. We’re here to work hard, get back in the state championship game and defend our title," Fisher said. "People don’t think we can do that because we lost key players from last year, but the team is better than last year’s team, more athletic."
These Daggers are much different than the ones that broke through in 2010, Yoshimura said. Poised and well-rounded.
The Interscholastic League of Honolulu D-II champion Navigators (11-4) rode 6-foot-4 forward Theo Duplechain to a strong start. But IPA coach Joe Payongayong decided to take Duplechain (game highs of 22 points and 13 rebounds) out for much of the second and third quarters because of both foul trouble and defensive lapses.
That’s when Pahoa exerted control. Fisher scored seven points during a 10-0 run during the second quarter to give the Daggers a 22-15 halftime lead.
IPA didn’t have anything to throw at the Daggers besides Duplechain and sophomore guard Jason Brenner (11 points). No other Navigator scored more than four.
"Lack of defense, missed assignments," Payongayong said of why the game turned. "Forty-one (Fisher) was a beast."
It was still a solid season for IPA, which made its debut in the state tournament. It will play for third place today against University.
ISLAND PACIFIC ACADEMY–Theo Duplechain 22, Jason Brenner 11, JJ Kirk 4, Jackson Durrett 2, Dylan Yamamoto 0, Malik Veazie 0, Kennedy Wilson 0, Tyler Billman 0, Colt Wallace 0, Christian Yagi 0, Royce Ilar 0.
PAHOA–Nicklas Fisher 14, Khalil Luis 8, Devin Gonsalves 6, Lono Balai 6, Sonny Miguel 5, Jared Peleiholani 5, Leka Tua 4.
3-point goals–Island Pacfic 2 (Brenner, Duplechain). Pahoa 2 (Miguel, Gonsalves).
Farrington 47, University 45
Junior guard J.P. Saycon capped his 21-point night with the game-winning floater at the buzzer as the top-seeded Governors (17-1) advanced to the Division II title game for the second time in four years.
"I just felt like I had to have the ball in my hands," said Saycon, who drove the lane and finished despite hitting defenders who tried to draw a charge. "I was just lucky it went in. I like to do floaters."
On the previous play, UHS (12-5) missed a chance for a game-winning shot when Saycon forced a 5-second call on the Jr. ‘Bows’ Guilherme Aires beyond the arc with 5.4 seconds left. UHS coach Walter Quitan was incredulous; he felt the defense wasn’t tight enough to elicit the call.
"We were huge underdogs, and we played great, I’m so proud of my team," Quitan said. "That’s going to be a tough call to live with for a long time."
At Kaimuki gym
UNIVERSITY–Benjamin Keller 10, Andrew Canencia 3, Cameron Conant 7, Guiherme Aires 14, Nalu O’Conner 4, Makena Suan-Rothenborg 7, Ryan Alvarado 0.
FARRINGTON–Keke Williams 4, J.P. Saycon 21, Viane Vaina 5, Michael Klemen 5, Jeffery Madarang 6, Chadey Collazo 6, Clem Rarogal 0.
3-point goals–University 4 (Aires 2, Canencia, Suan-Rothenborg). Farrington 7 (Saycon 2, Madarang 2, Collazo 2, Klemen).
McKinley 69, Seabury Hall 52
Alex Ironside scored 20 points and McKinley outscored Seabury Hall 26-5 over the first 9:30 of the second half in a consolation-game victory at Kalani.
Ironside scored seven points, and Rio Kwon and Wilhelm Rivera each added six during the spurt, which put the Tigers ahead 52-32 with 6:30 remaining.
Kwon scored 12 points, and Rivera had 10 points and eight rebounds for McKinley.
Dylan King had 24 points and 11 rebounds for Seabury Hall.
At Kalani gym
|Seabury Hall (8-2)||11||16||5||20||—||52|
SEABURY HALL–Rayson Sorayama 2, Max DeLyon 0, Dylan King 24, Jackson Van Buren 8, David Dunn 10, Michael Clarion 2, Kaleb Palmer 0, Jake Golm 6.
MCKINLEY–Jason Ramano 3, Jovanie Andres-Trumata 4, Ryan Arzadon 0, Kyrell Wright 3, Jace Bolosan 0, Micah Waters 0, AJ Ortaleza 2, Andy Sombatphibane 0, Alex Ironside 20, Lesley Machiguchi 9, Devin Williams 4, William Rollman 0, Rio Kwon 12, Wilhem Rivera 10, John Henry Ansagay 2.
3-point goals–Seabury Hall 4 (King 2, Van Buren 2). McKinley 5 (Ironside 3, Machiguchi, Ramano).
St. Joseph 49, Kapaa 44
Thomas Fairman had 19 points and 14 rebounds as St. Joseph beat Kapaa in a consolation game at Kalani.
Fairman, a 6-foot-5 junior, had 11 rebounds and all three of his blocks in the second half for the Big Island Interscholastic Federation runner-up.
At Kalani gym
|St. Joseph (8-8)||9||17||10||13||—||49|
KAPAA–Bradley Coloma 5, Kevin Esteban 0, Keane Agoot 4, Willis Batol 9, David Kanoho 2, Kainoa Colipano 14, Daniel Reis 0, Jundell Sagucio 0, Kalalea Kauhane 0, Jude Noguchi Cruz 2, Adam Clark 2, Keoni Kinzie 2, Spam Lindsey 4.
ST. JOSEPH–Aldyn Dalere 2, Christian Kaui 6, Jonathan Anderson 0, Cody Andrade 0, Sebastian Ohara-Saft 11, William Scanlan-Leite 9, Dalton Kaitoku-Lucas 2, Thomas Fairman 19.
3-point goals–Kapaa 2 (Coloma, Batol). St. Joseph 3 (Ohara-Saft 3).