The hottest team in the tourney cooled off, but the Kamehameha Warriors could not be stopped.
Not even by No. 1-seeded ‘Iolani. Micah Christenson had 21 points as Kamehameha toppled defending champion ‘Iolani 64-53 in the final of the Hawaiian Airlines/Hawaii High School Athletic Association Boys Basketball Division I State Championships last night at Stan Sheriff Center.
The win gave Kamehameha and coach Jesse Nakanishi its second state title in three years. Christenson and several of his teammates, like guard Dyrbe Enos, were there for the title run in 2009. The Warriors lost to ‘Iolani in last year’s final.
"It’s absolutely incredible," Christenson said. "We were on the losing end last year. All respect to ‘Iolani. They played a great game."
Kamehameha (24-7 overall), the runner-up from the Interscholastic League of Honolulu, upended the league champion and capped a brilliant week. The Warriors were scorching hot in wins over Baldwin, Kamehameha-Hawaii and AOP, averaging 78 points per game.
To beat ‘Iolani (23-5 overall), the Warriors withstood a tenacious defense and slower pace.
"These boys gave me everything since that loss. It shows what hard work can do," Nakanishi said of the team’s resolve since last year’s title-game loss. "We tried to establish our tempo, but we kind of played their game in the first half. Micah came through. Our guys found him more touches in the second half, and he did a great job of getting himself open."
The Raiders, who split the two games with Kamehameha during the regular season, were willing to run at times.
"We wanted to get the lead from transition baskets, so we didn’t mind if it got a little up-tempo," ‘Iolani coach Dean Shimamoto said. "As long as we were contesting shots and not giving up anything easy, we didn’t mind what the tempo was."
Kamehameha, which hit 12 3-pointers in its tourney opener and was hot from the arc since, was only 5-for-15 from long range last night. Instead, the Warriors were efficient in the paint and finished at 48 percent from the field (25-for-52) and outrebounded the Raiders 27-17.
Point guard Dyrbe Enos (eight points, four assists) directed the Warriors, who had just eight turnovers. Shane Yoshida was a big plus, hitting all four field-goal attempts to finish with 10 points. Frank Ho, perhaps the hottest perimeter shooter in the tourney, added eight points, as did Charlton Tang.
Christenson, voted the tourney’s most outstanding player by the media, was phenomenal. The 6-foot-6 senior averaged 22.5 points, 11 rebounds and nearly three steals per game in one of the most dominant individual performances in tournament history. He was also a hub, basically a point forward, in Kamehameha’s up-tempo, perimeter-oriented offense.
"We really established connections," Christenson said. "We have a bunch of shooters, very confident. I love it. They’re a great bunch of teammates. ‘Iolani’s game plan was to take me out a little bit, but I had no doubt."
Shimamoto praised the USC-bound volleyball star, Christenson.
"Oh, unbelievable. I don’t think we gave him that many openings," he said. "Most of his shots were really tough ones. We made him work. A credit to how good he is."
Reid Saito led ‘Iolani with 15 points and Trevyn Tulonghari added 13. Josiah Sukumaran had a game-high nine rebounds.
Kamehameha wanted an early lead to keep its fast pace going, but ‘Iolani refused to get into a track meet. Though the Warriors led the entire way, the game was tied at 13-all in the second quarter on a putback by Kainoa Scheer. After a couple of quick layups by Tang, the Warriors opened a small lead and carried it into halftime, 26-21.
"The did a lot of hand-checking and physical play with our guards and Micah, but our guys came through," Nakanishi said.
The Raiders chipped away and got within 36-33 after Tulonghari’s 3-pointer from the top, but the Warriors finished the third quarter with a flurry. Christenson, who scored just four points in the first half, hit a 3-pointer and hustled for a follow shot. After Shane Matayoshi hit all net on a 3-pointer and Christenson banked in a 24-footer at the buzzer, Kamehameha owned its biggest lead, 47-35, entering the fourth quarter.
Christenson added two foul shoots and Tang scored on another layup to cap Kamehameha’s 15-3 run. The Warriors led 51-36 with 6 minutes to play, but the Raiders kept pushing hard.
A 3-pointer by Adam Ching and two foul shots by Jourdan Simmonds made it 61-53 with 43 seconds left. After Saito picked off a long pass, the Raiders got another open 3-point look, but Tulonghari missed.
Christenson hit a foul shot to give Kamehameha a 62-53 lead with 22 seconds left.
Kahuku 69, Academy of the Pacific 53
Senior forward Shairone Thompson had 21 points and nine rebounds to power the Red Raiders past the Dolphins in the third-place game.
Thompson, the only Kahuku player in double figures, had 15 points at halftime as the Red Raiders built a 35-27 lead. Kahuku expanded the lead to 17 points by outscoring AOP 16-7 in the third quarter.
Junior Drew Vienna scored a team-high 13 for the Dolphins. Senior Micah Dunhour added 12 and 6-foot-8 junior Moritz Krume had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Kahuku hit 25 of its 54 field goals (46.3 percent) and 15 of 21 free throws (71 percent). AOP was 18-for-57 from the field (31.6 percent) and 15-for-23 from the line (65.2 percent).
The Red Raiders won the rebound battle 41-36.
Kahuku finished its season 15-6, including a 3-1 state tournament record. AOP was 13-7 and 2-2.
ACADEMY OF THE PACIFIC–Michael Urcia 2, Carter Kauwenaole 0, Moritz Krume 10, Micah Dunhour 12, Wilson MacLeod 6, Drew Vienna 13, David Daniel 3, Kona Makaula 5, Sam Orcutt 2, Kyan Furtado 0, Marshall Gourley 0.
KAHUKU–Evan Ramirez 5, Kawehena Johnson 0, Samala Afalava 6, Tyrone Brown 8, Reed Salanoa 2, Mua Malufau 7, Kai-Kamalii Saniatan 2, KJ Uluave 4, Danny Aki 4, Bronson Beatty 4, Mekeli Fiso 6, Shairone Thompson 21, Sam Ching 0.
3-point goals–Academy of the Pacific 2 (Vienna, MacLeon). Kahuku 4 (Afalava 2, Malufau, Ramirez).
Radford 41, Moanalua 40
Tony Reid clinched the win for the Rams with 19 points, including two free throws in the final seconds of the game, to defeat Na Menehune. Nahshon George added 15 points for Radford, which clinched fifth place in the Division I state tournament.
Moanalua had its opportunities to claim the victory, but missed three layups in the final minute along with a last ditch 3-point attempt. Dexter Williams led Na Menehune with 10 points and six rebounds.
MOANALUA–Bronson Kepa 0, Aaron Davis 7, Keven Amaral 2, Dexter Williams 10, Wesley Armbrust 3, Brandon Guerrero 6, Kreig Kepa 2, Alex Hutson 0, Daib Starks 0, Ikiaka Ramos-Kahawaiola’a 0, Carl Ko 1, Dillon Turk 6, Clint Winham 0, Richard Hudcovic 2, Richard Villasenor 1.
RADFORD–Tony Reid 19, Glenn Castil 0, Wayne Keys Jr. 2, Dominique Huggins 2, Steven Watkins 1, Nahshon George 15, Zachary Pelzl 2, Dorsey Norris 0, Jeromy Castro 0, Roscoe Kalilikane 0, Tevita Baravilala 0, Maika Ulufale 0.
3-point goals–Moanalua 2 (Williams, Davis). Radford 1 (Reid).
(as selected by the media)
Micah Dunhour, Academy of the Pacific
Trevyn Tulonghari, Iolani
Shairone Thompson, Kahuku
Reid Saito, Iolani
Dyrbe Enos, Kamehameha
Most outstanding player: Micah Christenson, Kamehameha
KAMEHAMEHA 64, ‘IOLANI 53
Key — fg-a: field goals made-attempted; ft-a: free throws made-attempted; rb: rebounds; pf: personal fouls; pts: total points; a: assists; to: turnovers; min: minutes played.
Halftime — Kamehameha 26, ‘Iolani 21
3-point goals — Kamehameha 5-15 (Ho 2-3, Christenson 2-5, Matayoshi 1-2, Camanse-Stevens 0-1, Orpillia 0-1, Enos 0-3). ‘Iolani 4-16 (Ching 2-3, Simmonds 1-3, Tulonghari 1-9, Saito 0-1).
Steals — Kamehameha 7 (Achong 4, Christenson 2, Enos). ‘Iolani 4 (Saito 2, Tulonghari, Ching). Blocked shots — Kamehameha 3 (Christenson 2, Camanse-Stevens). ‘Iolani 3 (Sukumaran 2, Saito). Officials — Mike Ishikawa, Terry Arista, Tony Collazo.